35 And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown 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.

Here we have two small verses that show a subtle, but significant shift in Jacob. He has agreed to continue tending to his father-in-law’s flocks, but first he removes all the cattle that belong to him and moves three day’s journey away. Thus Jacob is still here under Laban’s umbrella, but also he is not. He is physically and financially creating a space to be his own person.

And also notice to whom he is entrusting the goats and sheep that now belong to him: his sons. If Jacob is going to make it as the head of a household, he is going to need the help of the whole household. This is a family affair, and Jacob’s sons are going to have to step into Jacob’s position so that he may ascend to something higher.

And this gives an interesting background to a coming story of Jacob’s sons shirking their sheep-herding responsibilities and young Joseph being sent to monitor their activities.

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