Genesis 29:4-8 (NIV)
4 Jacob asked the shepherds, “My brothers, where are you from?”
“We’re from Harran,” they replied.
5 He said to them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson?”
“Yes, we know him,” they answered.
6 Then Jacob asked them, “Is he well?”
“Yes, he is,” they said, “and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”
7 “Look,” he said, “the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture.”
8 “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.”
I think that it is hard to read this dialogue, and not be struck by the contrast between the this and the dialogues that we usually see. Is the author intending to communicate a sort of curtness or rudeness?
(An interesting thing is nine says that Jacob and the shepherds are still speaking when Rebecca arrives.)