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Could someone please give scientific reasoning as to why peeled off poplar and almond rods in water drank by flock that mate would give birth to speckled & spotted sheep & goats?

Genesis 30:31-43 (NASB) So he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32 let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted sheep and every black [u]one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages. 33 So my [v]honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my [w]wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.” 34 Laban said, “[x]Good, let it be according to your word.” 35 So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the [y]care of his sons. 36 And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.

37 Then Jacob [z]took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was [aa]in the rods. 38 He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they [ab]mated when they came to drink. 39 So the flocks [ac]mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob separated the lambs, and [ad]made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41 Moreover, whenever the [ae]stronger of the flock [af]were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the gutters, so that they might [ag]mate by the rods; 42 but when the flock was feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban’s and the [ah]stronger Jacob’s. 43 So the man [ai]became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels and donkeys.

Could someone please give scientific reasoning as to why peeled off poplar and almond rods in water drank by flock that mate would give birth to speckled & spotted sheep & goats?

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    There is no magic to it. Jacob indicated what he wanted. And Providence supplied what he needed. – Nigel J Nov 18 '18 at 5:44
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There is no science that explains the simple reading of this passage.

It looks to us like what we would call sympathetic magic. But if you step back from trying to interpret the mechanics of what happened and look at the context, the message is that Jacob proposed a method of dividing the flock in good faith that would forestall the accusation of theft that he expected, then Laban deviously separated out Jacob's share, and finally Jacob took countermeasures that proved successful, if somewhat devious.

This paints a complex picture of Jacob, as someone who is both honest and straight (Genesis 25:27) and as someone who can and will defend himself using any means available when justified.

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Almond

  • Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
    -- Almond: Prunus dulcis (www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net)

    It should be noted that "This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed..", which means Jacob's rods would have leached only small amounts into the drinking water of the animals.

  • In the body, cyanide in small amounts can also combine with another chemical to form vitamin B12, which helps maintain healthy nerve and red blood cells.
    -- The Facts About Cyanides (New York State Department of Health)

Poplar

  • There are many varieties of poplar which have a long history of medicinal use, with all parts of the plant being used for their health benefits - Varieties of Poplar: (www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net).

  • Poplar tea can also be made, it is effective in treating various conditions related to the urinary system and prostate.
    -- Poplar (www.plantsmedicinal.com)

    The function of the prostate is to secrete a slightly alkaline fluid, milky or white in appearance, that in humans usually constitutes roughly 30% of the volume of semen along with spermatozoa and seminal vesicle fluid.
    -- Prostate (Wikipedia)

    The prostate health of Jacob's male animals would have benefited much by what the poplar trees leached into the water.

Conclusion

It seems pretty clear from the narrative that Jacob was moved by a vision in regard to the husbandry of his animals. The vision involved peeling strips of bark from the rods (branches) of trees (no leaves) and he was to "set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink;" The resins from the rods would have leached into the water adding to it whatever medicinal properties they contained to improve the health of the animals.

Though it might have seemed like the "striped" poles produced mottled animals, it really wouldn't have mattered if he had chosen differently, Jacob's animals would still have prospered because of his inspired actions.

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