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Genesis 30 (JPS):

34 And Laban said: 'Behold, would it might be according to thy word.' 35 And he removed that day the he-goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the she-goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the dark ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36 And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob. And Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks. 37 And Jacob took him rods of fresh poplar, and of the almond and of the plane-tree; and peeled white streaks in them, making the white appear which was in the rods. 38 And he set the rods which he had peeled over against the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink; and they conceived when they came to drink. 39 And the flocks conceived at the sight of the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.

  1. Jacob got all the black goats.
  2. Laban hide all the black and spotted goats (verse 36)
  3. So Jacob started off with pure white goats (or sheep?)
  4. Jacob's magic turn the newborn goats spotted
  5. Is the term for goats similar to sheep?

Let me try to understand

Do I get this right? Am I missing something?

Also what actually happened in the end anyway? All the goats become spotted (and hence belong to Jacob's) or Jacob's got stronger goats?

Looks like pure white goats is recessive and hence, normally 2 out of 4 goats born from carrier of black genes will be spotted.

My guess is it's not really miracle. What the goats see affect their sexual selection preference. That sexual selection affect which male knock up the ewe and that affects the color of the child. That is why Jacob shows the branch only in front of strong males. I am just trying to get the detail right. It's amazing how Jacob could figure this out thousands of years ago before Richard Dawkins.

So the question is about the detail of the story:

  1. In the deal, what kind of goats Jacob should get (spotted? pure?)
  2. Did jacob put the sheep porn (the branches) in front of the male or female goats?
  3. Did Jacob put the branch only in front of the strong goats or all goats?
  4. What's the starting of condition?
  5. Could an animal behaviorist verify the plausibility of the whole things.
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My guess is it's not really miracle. What the goats see affect their sexual selection preference. That sexual selection affect which male knock up the ewe and that affects the color of the child. That is why Jacob shows the branch only in front of strong males. I am just trying to get the detail right. It's amazing how Jacob could figure this out thousands of years ago before Richard Dawkins. –  Jim Thio Jul 9 '13 at 8:20
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

"Flock" in Hebrew means both sheep and goats; there are both sheep and goats here.

The deal was that Jacob was handed a bunch of white sheep and goats, and told that he'd get to keep any colored/patterned offspring. (Most likely this was some sort of recessive trait, so this was the equivalent of tossing coins.) By whatever working physical or metaphysical, a large number of the offspring (and this was repeated for several generations) were colored or patterned, so Jacob got to keep them. It also seems that Jacob employed some breeding technique to favor his getting the stronger or better-breeding animals.

So Jacob has a bunch of white sheep that are producing spotted offspring. He has a dream in which an angel says "look, here are spotted sheep mating." Most likely what he's seeing is a representation of the recessive (spotty) genes within the white sheep getting picked.

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"'Flock' in Hebrew means both sheep and goats; there are both sheep and goats here." Also worth noting is the fact that the Hebrew word for "sheep" is often used to refer to goats as well; it is almost as if they are seen as an interchangeable species. –  Seth J Jul 4 '13 at 15:50
    
Thanks. That's what I a looking for. Could use even more detail though. –  Jim Thio Jul 9 '13 at 8:28
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What i remember when I studied this: since the goats were looking to a spotted piece of wood during the reproduction act, their childrens became spotted... so what you are thinking or feeling during the sex can influeciate in your childrens...dont know/remember exactly who said this...but I think is rashi

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Rashi to 30:38 citing B'reishit Rabbah 73:10. –  Monica Cellio May 5 '13 at 17:24
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The thought that one's thoughts during or before sex will influence the appearance of the couple's children is alluded to, also, by Rabbi Yochanan quoted in the Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 84a. –  Bruce James May 28 '13 at 15:11
    
Your thought affect your preferences. Your preferences affect who you mate with. And that affect your child. –  Jim Thio Jul 9 '13 at 8:22
    
If your son watch enough japanese porn, 20 years latter you will really have japanese looking grand children. The same if your son watch too many blond porn. If your son read torah all days, chance is 20 years latter you'll have jewish grandchildren. That sort of thing. With goats the process is simpler because they have shorter life cycle than our species and much more simple minded. –  Jim Thio Jul 9 '13 at 8:26
    
If your son like blonds probably in the future he will marry a blond woman and bigger chances that you will have blond children. Hmmm...you cant know if your thoughts influence your child appearance or not. –  juanora Jul 10 '13 at 10:30
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as proven with humans ie: Moses hands and the brazen serpent ,we know that auto suggestion can win a war or can cure even a snake bite, Regarding the strength of the goats /sheep and regarding the pigmentation , Jakob took both these into account , he used 3 types of wood the wood type had a specific purpose or reason , both males and females drank at the troughs at different times and so the relevant messages were relayed to both genders , and even if that were not the case from the males alone information can be written into the seed

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One important difference is that with Moshe's hands and the brass serpent, God said to do those things -- so it's reasonable to expect them to be effective. Yaakov's animal-husbandry practices seem to be his own innovation. –  Monica Cellio Dec 14 '13 at 22:53
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