Rebekah was the wife of Isaac and the mother of two great nations through Esau of the Edomites and Jacob of the Israelites. There are many lessons to be learned from Rebekah; she was a loving mother and an obedient wife, she was faithful, rebellious as well as being passionate. She was a Godly woman but she did have her human weaknesses.
Genesis 24:1-67, Genesis 25:21-28, Genesis 26:6-14, Genesis 27:1-46
Rebekah was the daughter of Abraham’s relative. She was the daughter of Bethuel and the sister of Laban. It was the responsibility of the parents to find a suitable wife for their son. It was the responsibility of the bride’s parents to negotiate a suitable husband for their daughter. Abraham sent one of his servants to Haran to negotiate a bride for his son Isaac. Abraham did not want his son to marry among the Canaanites, we know them as Palestine. The servant prayed for guidance from the LORD to choose the best bride for Isaac. The negotiation on Abrahams’s behalf and the response of Laban, who was the head of the household since her father was dead, is recorded in Genesis 24:1-54.
Eliezer, the obedient servant ask for a sign from the LORD not for the purpose of testing the LORD but to make sure his choice of a woman for the wife of Isaac would be worthy. When Eliezer came to Nahor’s well he saw Rebekah who had come to draw water. We can see the kindness in the heart of Rebekah when she hurried to bring the pitcher to Eliezer and then replenish it for a stranger. This was the answer to his prayer and his mission. Eliezer told Rebekah who he was and the purpose of his mission.
Eliezer met the family and offered jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and raiment and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to Rebekah’s mother and brother. The family gave its consent to the proposed marriage. This was different than the traditional marriage arrangement. Rebekah was asked if she was willing to go with the servant and she answered that she would go. (Genesis 24:58). This is an indication that she also accepted the mission of the LORD.
Rebekah was brave to go with an unknown servant to an unknown groom. This shows extraordinary faith and courage because she knew she would not see her family again. During this month long journey back to Canaan Eliezer would have told Rebekah all about her soon to become husband. Isaac came from to great them and was meditating in the field at evening; he lifted up his eyes, and saw the camels coming. Once Rebekah saw Isaac coming she covered herself with a veil as was the custom. (Genesis 24:65).
Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. This is every woman’s dream to have a husband who loves her. Isaac was forty when he married Rebekah and she was just a teenager. Rebekah remained childless as the years passed. It is traditional in the ancient world that the most fulfilling role for women in their lives was to bear children. Rebekah was worried because she was barren. (Genesis 24:67).
Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD heard and Rebekah conceived. The LORD told Rebekah that there was two nations in her womb and two types of people shall be separated; and one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. The first to come out was Esau because he was all red and hairy. After Esau came Jacob on the heel of Esau. The boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Genesis 25:21-28).
Isaac and Rebekah did show favoritism with the two boys. Rebekah was happy when she became pregnant but was disappointed when the two babies fought in the womb and then as they were born and as they grew up they still fought. When Esau was forty years old he took two wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah. (Genesis 26:34-35). Again this shows the strength of Rebekah to defend her belief and the favorite child, Jacob.
When Isaac was near death and considering which son would receive the birthright and blessing Rebekah knew Isaac would choose Esau. It is in this part of the story of Rebekah shows her determination and manipulation and controlling nature that her favorite son would inherit the birthright and the blessing from Isaac. Rebekah knew Esau to be impulsive, hotheaded and unthinking and would not be capable of governing the clan.
The birthright was the right of succession and was usually given to the oldest. Since Esau did come out first he would be considered the eldest. When Esau sold his birthright he sold half of his inheritance to his younger twin brother Jacob for a bowl of portage or soup. When the father died his property would be divided in equal shares between the sons, but the eldest son would get a double portion which is called the “birthright” of the eldest. Since there was only two sons the elder would get two thirds and the younger son would get one third.
The blessing was something to be given during the lifetime of the father. He could choose who to give the blessing to. This would be the son he wanted to succeed him. So in this case it would have been Esau. The blessing was the handing over of legal power and was more powerful than any amount of property one could obtain. It also gave authority over the whole clan. This would mean Jacob would have the blessing, and he would govern the tribe after the death of Isaac.
Isaac was losing his eye sight and Rebekah dressed Jacob in his brother’s cloths, and tied goatskins on his arms and hand to give him that hairy feeling then urged Jacob to lie about his identity saying he was Esau. She cooked the venison Esau had been sent out to kill and gave it to Jacob to give to his father. Once Isaac verified that it was Esau by feeling his hands and smelling his clothes and after eating the venison Isaac gave this blessing; “God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.” (Genesis 27:28-29).
Jacob deceived Isaac. Once the plot was discovered by Esau he was angry with his brother and threatened to kill him. Esau had been betrayed by his mother and his brother and lost the inheritance that was due to him, his birthright and the Blessing. This meant that Rebekah would lose contact with her beloved son Jacob. Rebekah convinced Isaac to send Jacob to Haran to find a bride among her relations. Rebekah never saw her beloved favorite son Jacob again.
Rebekah used deceitfulness and trickery to control the blessing for her favorite so. This act bestowed distention upon the family. The brothers hated each other; Jacob had been sent to Haran and never saw him again. Whenever the truth and righteousness of an act is compromised then the act turns into devastation and wickedness. Rebekah made the mistake that many parents today make; they chose a favorite child. This almost always causes conflicts in the home and Rebekah found out the hard way she was left without her favorite son, her husband died and she was left with Esau and his two wives who did not like her.
We can see that Rebekah was a loving mother and an obedient wife she was faithful, rebellious as well as passionate. She was a Godly woman but she did have her human weaknesses. Patience is always necessary in receiving from God. Patience is human endurance coupled with God’s grace which combines to give us the ability to seek God’s face in prayer, without giving up, until the answer is received (James 5: 7-8). Rebekah was a woman of patience. She was also a woman who knew when to lean on her husband and when to stand on her own two feet. This was part of her strength.
Rebekah can be seen as the wife and mother who strived to do the right thing the wrong way. When she had ask God why the two babies were fighting within her the LORD told her that there was two nations in her womb and two types of people shall be separated; and one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. This does not make the deception right and she paid a high price for the deception. That happens in life Rebekah believed what she did was the best for the clan and the family and she stuck to what she believed was the right thing to do. None of us know the future and the outcomes of events it show true character to do what you think is right and stick to it.
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MLA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne “Rebekah The Wife of Isaac:.” Becker Bible Studies Library Feb 2015.< https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2288,>.
APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015, February) “Rebekah The Wife of Isaac:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2288,.
Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015) “Rebekah The Wife of Isaac:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (February), https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2288, (accessed).