Genesis 29:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 29:4, NIV: "Jacob asked the shepherds, 'My brothers, where are you from?' 'We're from Harran,' they replied."

Genesis 29:4, ESV: "Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.”"

Genesis 29:4, KJV: "And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we."

Genesis 29:4, NASB: "Jacob said to them, 'My brothers, where are you from?' And they said, 'We are from Haran.'"

Genesis 29:4, NLT: "Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, 'Where are you from, my friends?' 'We are from Haran,' they answered."

Genesis 29:4, CSB: "Jacob asked the men at the well, "My brothers! Where are you from?" "We're from Haran," they answered."

What does Genesis 29:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob has traveled from his home in Canaan, escaping his brother (Genesis 27:41) and searching for a wife (Genesis 28:1–2). He has come to this region looking for the town of Haran, where his uncle Laban lives. Coming across a well in a field, he strikes up a conversation with some shepherds gathered nearby with their sheep. He asks where they're from; they tell him Haran. Jacob must have been glad to learn he was so near to his destination.

The fact that this meeting takes place by a well is no accident. In that era, water was important enough to fight over (Genesis 21:25–27), and wells would have been natural meeting places. Because they represent life and nourishment, wells are often used in Scripture to symbolize God's blessing.

The shepherds here are waiting for all of the sheep to arrive before drawing water (Genesis 29:3). This well is capped with a large stone, probably to keep other animals and debris out of it (Genesis 29:3).