Jacob’s magic sticks? Admittedly, what Jacob begins to do in this passage is strange. You might be thinking, “What’s up with the sticks?” That’s a great question. This is before research on genetics and heredity. Those who bred animals at the time did not know exactly why animals were born with certain traits. They knew a goat was a goat and that it woul more than likely have a lot of the traits as the parents but why were some weak when the parents were strong, or how could you have two white sheep produce a speckled sheep they did not know. I read that there was a belief at the time that if a female animal was shown a certain image when it conceived it would impact the child. Perhaps this is why Jacob decides to take all of these sticks and tries to manipulate the breeding of the animals as he does. Whatever Jacob is thinking here we know that these are not magic sticks. Jacob is not the reason why his flocks begin to grow and Laban’s become weak and fewer in number. Jacob increases greatly. Look at the last verse. “Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks.” Okay, this makes sense. Jacob is out there with the animals. He’s selectively breeding them. This statement follows the rest of the story. But then we read that he had female and male servants and camels and donkeys. Wait a minute. Who said anything about servants, camels, and donkeys? Not only was he accumulating sheep and goats, but as the good businessman that Jacob was, he was trading them for servants and other animals. The fact that he had camels is very telling. At this time, camels were not yet domesticated so if you had multiple camels that was like having a bunch of luxury vehicles in your garage. We do not want to miss the fact that we have already been told that this would happen. God entered into a covenant with Abraham and God blessed him and he had, “he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.” Isaac comes along and God blesses him and “he had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants.” God told Jacob that he would bless him. Jacob’s stick peeling scheme was of little importance when it came to his prospering because the promise of God had already been given. We will see this more clearly in chapter 31.