God Chosen or gold digger
Whenever I read the story of Rebekah, I always thought of her as being a gold digger. I couldn’t help myself. Someone shows up at your house with beautiful jewellery and fancy cars and tells you that you must marry his master to get all this. His master being a young, gorgeous man will be a bonus. Who wouldn’t go? Her name also meant ‘to tie’ or ‘bind,’ which didn’t help either.
But I learned long ago that you couldn’t just read the Bible at face value; we need to dig deeper to understand this woman called Rebekah.
Rebekah is the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother (Genesis 22:20-23). Abraham sent the head of his servants to Mesopotamia, where he was from, to seek a wife for his son, Isaac. The servant prayed to God, asking to favour him, and show him the right woman for his master’s son. The specification was that the girl had to give him and his camels water. Rebekah came to gather water for her family and offered water to the servant and his ten camels (Genesis 24). According to Quora, camels can drink up to 200 litres of water in 3 minutes. This was a huge undertaking for a young woman who only had a pitcher for the water. I always thought she just accepted the gifts, which sold her to go with the servant. But knowing teenagers, I can now say that she wasn’t lazy. She went above and beyond what was expected of her. She was hospitable too, inviting the man to her father’s house.
Her family farewelled her with the words, ‘…thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them’ (Genesis 24:60, KJV).
She is also brave. Leaving her home and everything she knew, to go to a strange place with another man, who she didn’t know, to marry a man who she nor her family really knew. However, this was a true love story in the making. The first time Rebekah saw Isaac, she jumped off the camel. Her beauty ensnared even Isaac, for he took her as his wife and the Word claimed that he ‘was comforted after his mother’s death’ (Genesis 24:67, KJV).
We know that Rebekah was a real beauty, described as ‘very fair to look upon’ in both Genesis 24:16 and Genesis 26:7. Isaac asked her to say she was his sister when they entered Egypt, and the people enquired after her. Abimelech, the Philistine King, discovered the lie.
Rebekah struggled to fall pregnant. Isaac prayed to the Lord, and Rebekah conceived. But the pregnancy was a difficult one. Rebekah prayed to God, asking Him why the babies were struggling within her. And God answered, ‘…two nations are in thy womb, and two manners of people shall be separated from thy bowels; And the one people shall be stronger than the other people; And the elder shall serve the younger’ (Genesis 25:23, KJV). This prophecy will also explain why Rebekah helped Jacob receive the blessing meant for the firstborn, Esau (Genesis 27). The two nations are today known as Israel and Edom (Southwestern Jordan).
Rebekah was also a mother-in-law to Esau’s wives, Judith and Bashemath (Hittites), who aggrieved both Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34-35). And later, Esau married one of Ishmael’s daughters, Mahalath (Genesis 28:9). It must’ve been terrible to live under the same roof as the son you betrayed, the wives you do not approve of, and most likely despise you because you believed in God. We aren’t told much of how and when she passed away, only that she was laid to rest in the same cave as Abraham, Sarah, and her husband Isaac, in the field of Machpelah in the land of Canaan (Genesis 49:30-31).
Rebecca truly tied Isaac’s heart to hers. She was living out a prosperous life from leaving the security of home, with only the blessing of her family spoken over her and knowing that through her nations will be blessed. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone into the unknown to fulfil God’s purpose for us. And Rebecca has done so in full faith and trust in God.