Jacob was a sheep whisperer. As soon as he went near a couple of sheep they grew fat and had babies. Goats too. His father-in-law Lavan, admitted it. He said “I have become wealthy. God has blessed me on account of you.”
Now Jacob, you may recall, is the guy who tricked his older brother Esau out of his inheritance. You know. Isaac, his father, was old and blind and Jacob made believe he was Esau to get Esau’s blessing. Boy, did that make Esau angry!
So all these years later, given Jacob’s nature as a trickster, we can expect him to pull a trick on Lavan, his father-in-law, too. And he does. He gets Lavan to agree that he, Jacob, could have all the spotted goats and sheep in the flock and Lavan get the white ones. Then he put some peeled sticks in front of the sheep and goats and, somehow, that made them have spotted babies. Sounds like magic to me, but it worked.
Well, Lavan was furious. Jacob ran away and Lavan chased after him. But that’s a story for next week.