Jacob's Rod

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 12/11/07 10:13 AM

Just now study Robert-Houdin. XVII chapter:

"To complete this introduction the magician tells the story of the magic wand called Jacob's Rod and he begins his passes."

Who knows, what the story? Why black rod with two white ends called Jacob's Rod?
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Postby Guest » 12/11/07 10:39 AM

Divining rods were popular back then. Perhaps this source suggests the link:

Nicolas, Jean. La verge de Jacob, ou l'art de trouver les trsors les sources, les limites, les mtaux, les mines, les minraux et autres caches, par l'usage du baton fourch. Lyons, France, 1693. Translated as Jacob's Rod. London: Thomas Welton, 1875.
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Postby Guest » 12/11/07 11:23 AM

The term "Jacob's Rod," "Jacob's Staff" or "Jacob's Wand" appears in Ozanam. It is a Biblical reference. Google "Jacob's Rod" or "Jacob's Staff" and you will find references to the Bible story.
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Postby Guest » 12/11/07 01:52 PM

The Biblical story implies special power in branches stripped of their bark to form white stripes (Genesis 30:37). While Jacob was playing "artificial selection" with Laban's sheep, he apparently considered these stripped/striped branches to contribute toward his goal.
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Postby Guest » 12/12/07 12:46 AM

Please, help me. I am Russian and Bible not so much popular between my friends. I know some of things all of your know from childhood but for me it will be absolutely new. So, please, apologize me if I write something not good for religion. This is absolutely not my fight. This is just search of information.

I find Genesis on Internet and this is special English-Russian version, so for me possible talk with all of yours absolutelly on same things. Especially thanks to mr. Doug Peters for name "Genesis 30:37". Looks here:
http://www.bibliaonline.com.br/asv+synodal/gn/30

Am I understand well 30 - this is number of this page, but 37 - number of little part of this text, what we can see on the left? So mr. Doug Peters mean this Internet document.

Please, I do not know who is this mr. Jacob, may be he became popular and famos after this thing, and my evaluating of him will be not correct, but on text I understand that he was cheater. Mr Laban agree give him all sheep of two colours and Jacob made selection that most sheep became two colors. And he do it by showing for sheep roods what he made two colors by "peeled white streaks". It was first trick on modern undrstanding inside Bible. So, modern Magic Wand with two colours calls Jacob's Rod because that two colored rods? So, this is short story of Jacob's Rod? Am I correct?

P.S. I read Genesis 30:1-30:25. Am I understand well children, who study Bible, read this at school?
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Postby Guest » 12/12/07 01:40 AM

Here are some references that might help:

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-102140946.html
See especially the part on "The Hebrew Bible", and also the first two paragraphs. (The language is not particularly easy.)

http://www.biblical-art.com/artwork.asp ... wmode=Full
Click on IMAGE to see a large version of the picture.

Genesis 30:37 means Chapter 30, Verse 37 of the Book of Genesis. I'm not sure that many children read this at school now, but if they do read it they read simplified versions in modern English which are much easier to understand.
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Postby Guest » 12/12/07 02:51 AM

Thanks. It was useful. But I suppose just direct Bible text was enough. I asked all because little problem. I can understand how peeled rod suggest call magic wand like Jacob's Rod, but "divining rods" where "baton fourch" should have another source. And I just ask - am I correct with Genesis 30:37?

P.S. About children my question was not about rod, but about sexual performances inside Genesis 30:1-30:25. This is not about magic. Just amazing.
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Postby Guest » 12/12/07 07:06 AM

Originally posted by Stepanov Oleg:
Please, I do not know who is this mr. Jacob, may be he became popular and famos after this thing, and my evaluating of him will be not correct, but on text I understand that he was cheater. Mr Laban agree give him all sheep of two colours and Jacob made selection that most sheep became two colors. And he do it by showing for sheep roods what he made two colors by "peeled white streaks". It was first trick on modern undrstanding inside Bible. So, modern Magic Wand with two colours calls Jacob's Rod because that two colored rods? So, this is short story of Jacob's Rod? Am I correct?
You are correct in the essential points:
- Jacob was a cheater (to be fair, he had been cheated by Laban previously)
- The rods could be considered to effect a (self?) deception by modern understanding
- The modern magic wand is likely the two-color item we know and love due, in some part, to this story
- Divining rods must have an interesting "grafted history" all their own
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Postby Guest » 12/12/07 07:35 AM

I suppose if one were to use such a wand to induce props to multiply the audience would get the joke.

Has there been any research into the effects of the named wood/tree sap chemistry upon livestock as regards reproductive function?
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Postby Guest » 12/12/07 08:47 AM

Laban had cheated Jacob several times. Originally Jacob had agreed to work 7 years for Laban, and his wages would be to marry his youngest daughter, Rachel. After 7 years, Laban deceived Jacob by bringing to him his eldest daughter Leah to take in as his wife during the night. In the morning he saw that it was not Rachel, and Laban told Jacob that he would have to work another 7 years for the hand of Rachel. (Thus cheating Jacob of his first 7 years wages).

Jacob worked the additional 7 years and took Rachel as his wife. He continued to work for Laban as Leah and Rachel bore children. Finally, Jacob wanted to leave and go to his own country, and Laban begged Jacob to stay, because Laban had prospered because of Jacob.

Laban asked Jacob to name is wages. Keep in mind, according to Genesis 31:7, Laban had deceitfully changed Jacobs wages 10 times, yet Jacob stayed and worked faithfully for Laban. There had been habitual deception and cheating toward Jacob while Laban prospered at the expense of Jacob.

Jacob stated that when he came to Laban, Labans flock was very few, but it prospered under the care of Jacob and grew to a good size. Jacob continues to state in Genesis 30:32 Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the brown ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and these shall be my wages.

According to the New Commentary on the Whole Bible it provides the following insight regarding Jacobs request:

Eastern sheep were generally white, and the goats black; spotted or speckled animals were comparatively few and rare. Jacob proposed to remove all existing spotted and speckled ones from the flock, and he would receive all such animals that might be born at the next lambing time. The proposal seemed so much in favor of Laban that he at once agreed to it, thinking he was getting the better end of the deal.

Regarding the use of rods that Jacob employed, the commentary states:

It was apparently thought by shepherds of the second millenium that if ewes saw before them a certain pattern during the mating season, their offspring would be born with such a pattern in their fleece. However, there is no biological evidence that such a practice in any way effects the coloration of offspring. The results were positive for Jacob, and despite his manipulation of the situation, he attributes his success to the Lord.

In Genesis 31:7-9 Jacob states to his wives, Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me. If he said thus: The speckled shall be your wages, then all the flocks bore speckled. And if he said thus: The streaked shall be your wages, then all the flocks bore streaked. So God has taken away the livestock of your father and given them to me.

While using the rods represented Jacobs efforts to see that the flock bore the pattern he desired, Jacobs ultimate point of view is that ultimately it did not matter, God would have made the sheep the correct color or pattern to give them to Jacob. That God had restored to Jacob his wages that had been stolen over the many years by the deceitfulness of Laban.

Just like today, people may trust in God for an outcome in their lives, and we do all that we can do to produce this same outcome. For example you could trust God for a new job. Sending out resumes and going on job interviews would the be the physical efforts you go through in order to obtain the job. Jacob ultimately trusted God in the deal he made with Laban, and the rods (even though they dont have any power themselves) represent Jacobs own physical efforts toward what he was trusting in God for.
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Postby Guest » 12/12/07 09:34 AM

"what he said" :-)

Come to think of it, bark-stripping branches in order to influence sheep breeding is no more unreasonable than many modern "techniques" to influence the stock market, political outcomes, etc.
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Postby Guest » 12/13/07 01:24 AM

Dear Mr. Dan Watkins. Thanks for completing information. Unfortunately, place what I have to explain situation to my readers so limited than I can not write all history why Jacob revenge to Laban. Also I can not write why mr. Laban became so bad. And of course, even have no time study why peoples who made Laban so bad do not get mother's love when they was 5 years old.

When I wrote that mr. Jacob was cheater I did not mean he was bad man. Just word "cheating" - primitive euphemism to word "trick" (or reverse), and this is explain why modern magicians recall that story from Bible and little sticks what use for modern tricks.

For me this is wery much important. Before I hear about Bible source for "magic wand" and supposed this is connected to "big stick what old peoples keep on hand for easy walking" and what was used by Mooses when he fight with Egiptian enchanters. Because on first translation of Hoffmann (1877) was used "magic crozier" ("zhezl") like "bishop's crozier".

I have just only one question - why "divining rods" get same name. What reason? And, is it true, that first divining rods" called like Jacob's Rod and after magicians use them for show?
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Postby Guest » 12/18/07 01:41 AM

Actually, Oleg, you might need to read Joe Lantiere's book about the magic wand as it developed over the centuries.

The walking stick and the crozier are rather large compared to the wand that we use these days, and, for that matter, to the wand that was used by Robert-Houdin and his contemporaries.

The connection between the rods used by Jacob and the "Jacob's Rod/Jacob's Staff" of Robert-Houdin is somewhat tenuous.

Like much of the patter that magicians use with their tricks, these associations are often quite inaccurate. They are very much like the claims that magicians in ancient Egypt entertained the people who built the Great Pyramid by performing the cups and balls while the workers moved the large stones into place. There is no evidence that it happened at all.

Magicians borrow stories from old works and adapt them to their own ends.

The relatively small wand that we use might be more closely related to a scepter or a flail than to a crozier or a walking staff.

Regarding "divining rods" -- if you are wondering why they are called divining rods, it's because they are used to "divine" or determine the location of various objects or substances, such as water, gold, energy fields or other things a "diviner" might seek.
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Postby Guest » 12/18/07 04:02 AM

You mean "The Magician's Wand: A History of Mystical Rods of Power" (2004)? Yes, looks like it will be interesting. I will search.

When I wrote "crozier" I mean russian word "Zhezl". It can be translated like: rod, wand, staff, baton, crozier. Depend on situation. This is why I have problems.

About "divining rods" - there are no problem with this name. Problem - why it was called Jacob's Rod.
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