Genesis 29:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 29:8, NIV: "We can't,' they replied, 'until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep.'"

Genesis 29:8, ESV: "But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”"

Genesis 29:8, KJV: "And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep."

Genesis 29:8, NASB: "But they said, 'We cannot, until all the flocks are gathered, and they roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.'"

Genesis 29:8, NLT: "'We can't water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,' they replied. 'Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.'"

Genesis 29:8, CSB: "But they replied, "We can't until all the flocks have been gathered and the stone is rolled from the well's opening. Then we will water the sheep.""

What does Genesis 29:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob has just learned several things at once. His journey has brought him near his destination of Haran and the household of his uncle Laban (Genesis 28:1–2). According to the shepherds standing around a well, Laban is in good health, and his daughter is approaching with a flock of sheep (Genesis 29:5–6).

In the previous verse, Jacob seems to have taken some borrowed ownership of the situation around the well. He ordered the shepherds gathered with their flocks to water the sheep and get back to the pasture. This seems like a brash statement from a stranger, so perhaps the other men were being rude to Jacob. Or, he's simply trying to assert himself in an effort to win over Rachel.

Here, the shepherds respond that Jacob's plan is not how they do things. They wait until all of the sheep have arrived, all of the flocks, then they roll away the heavy stone covering of the well and water all of the flocks at once. It's not clear exactly why they do it this way. Some commentators suggest, however, that the first flocks to arrive would usually be the first to be watered. Laban won't follow that practice in the following verses.