And while he yet spake with them
While Jacob was thus discoursing with the shepherds:
Rachel came with her father's sheep;
to water them at the well. She was within sight when Jacob first addressed the shepherds, but now she was come to the well, or near it, with the sheep before her:
for she kept them:
or "she was the shepherdess" F4; the chief one; she might have servants under her to do some parts of the office of a shepherd, not so fit for her to do; it may be Laban's sons, for some he had, ( Genesis 31:1 ) ; were not as yet grown up, and Leah, the eldest daughter, having tender eyes, could not bear the open air, and light of the sun, nor so well look after the straying sheep; and therefore the flock was committed to the care of Rachel the younger daughter, whose name signifies a sheep. The Jews say F5, that the hand of God was upon Laban's flock, and there were but few left, so that he put away his shepherds, and what remained be put before his daughter Rachel, see ( Genesis 30:30 ) ; and some ascribe it to his covetousness that he did this; but there is no need to suggest anything of that kind; for keeping sheep in those times and countries was a very honourable employment, and not below the sons and daughters of great personages, and still is so accounted. Dr. Shaw F6 says it is customary, even to this day, for the children of the greatest Emir to attend their flocks; the same is related of the seven children of the king of Thebes, of Antiphus the son of Priam, and of Anchises, Aeneas's father F7.
F4 (awh her yk) "quia pastor illa", Montanus, "pastrix", Schmidt.
F5 Targ. Jon. in loc. Pirke Eliezer, c. 36.
F6 Travels, p. 240. No. 2. Ed. 2.
F7 Hom. II. 1. ver. 313. II. 6. ver. 424. II. 11. ver. 106.