Understanding the Old Testament

Isaac and Rebekah

(All quotations are from the New American Standard Bible translation)

One thing I love about the Bibleóand particularly the Old Testamentóis how real and human the characters are. In Genesis 24 we are introduced to two people who will play critical future roles: Rebekah and Laban.

First we meet the beautiful, kind, and plucky Rebekah. She was the granddaughter of Abrahamís brother, Nahor. Sometime after Sarahís death (Genesis 23:1-2), Abraham sent his servant back to Haran, in southern Turkey, where Abrahamís father had settled. (See Genesis 27:43.) The servantís mission was to find a wife for Isaac, who by then was about 37 years old. (Compare Genesis 23:1-2 and Genesis 17:15-17. See also Genesis 25:20, which says Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah.)

As the servant neared his destination, he asked God for a sign: that the woman who was to be Isaacís wife would not only give the servant a drink of water, but would also offer to draw water for his camels. Rebekah did so. And the servant immediately responded by giving her expensive giftsóa gold nose ring and two gold bracelets. 

When Rebekah later learned that God has arranged a marriage for her to the son of her very wealthy great uncle, Abraham, she was ready to set out on the long journey immediately. Like Abraham, Rebekah displayed great faith and obedience to the will of God by leaving everything and everyone she knew at Godís command.

The other person we meet is Rebekahís brother, Laban. He at least honored and respected God, for he and his father, Bethuel, obediently consented to Godís plan for Rebekah. But Genesis 24:30 hints at Labanís mercenary nature when it says that he ran to meet Abrahamís servant ď[w]hen he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sisterís wrists.Ē Labanís greed would be on full display in his future dealings with Rebekahís son, Jacob.

So it was that Rebekah journeyed to Canaan with Abrahamís servant and became Isaacís wife. Genesis 24:67 tells us that he loved Rebekahóa cousin he had never metóand that their marriage provided comfort for him after Sarahís death.

Question to ponder or discuss: The Greatest Commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:36-38). So why does God seem to emphasize faith and obedience, rather than love, in Genesis?

Copyright 2017 by Don Davidson

My book, Beyond Blind Faith: Reasons for the Hope We Have (1 Peter 3:15), is available on Amazon.com as either a print book or a Kindle e-book. Here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074MVHVHP Read Chapter 1 (pdf format)

 

 

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