Genesis 29:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 29:3, NIV: "When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well's mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well."

Genesis 29:3, ESV: "and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well."

Genesis 29:3, KJV: "And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place."

Genesis 29:3, NASB: "When all the flocks were gathered there, they would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well."

Genesis 29:3, NLT: "It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well."

Genesis 29:3, CSB: "The shepherds would roll the stone from the opening of the well and water the sheep when all the flocks were gathered there. Then they would return the stone to its place over the well's opening."

What does Genesis 29:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob has traveled from the home of his father to find the household of his mother's brother Laban. At the command of Isaac, Jacob has come with a mission to marry one of Laban's daughters (Genesis 28:1–2). Of course, Jacob is also escaping the rage of his older twin brother, Esau, whom he'd cheated out of a blessing (Genesis 27:41). He has also recently been assured by God, in a dream, that he will have numerous offspring (Genesis 28:10–12).

Jacob arrives at a well in a field, near which are gathered three flocks of sheep. The shepherds are waiting for the remaining sheep to arrive before rolling the large stone away from the mouth of the well to provide water for the sheep. This stone would have served to keep dirt and dust from collecting in the well. It would also have prevented wild animals from using it as a water source. In order to be of any use, the stone covering the mouth of the well would have been both large and difficult to move.