Friday, August 26, 2011

Precious Women of God--This Includes YOU! (Rebekah)

Hi Friends~

As promised, Michele has written a wonderful post about Rebekah!  As I was reading it, it reminded me of how powerless most women really were in those days.  So, as Michele points out so beautifully, women had to find ways to actually make the decisions they want happen.  We have come a long way, Ladies!

Michele found some of her information at this site:  as well as adding her own thoughts and questions. This is a longer post than usual...but there was so much to share!  I encourage you to read on!  Thank you Michele for taking the time to put this together!


For this month’s study I have been reading about Rebekah. When I read her story there were things that struck me as interesting.  The Bible states how she was a virgin, she was picked for Isaac and she agreed to go and move and marry this man she had never met.  This is something that is so interesting about the culture because I would have such a hard time leaving my family to marry someone I had never met.  What faith in God!  I also feel for her because of the relationship between her sons Esau and Jacob.  All a mother wants is for her children to love each other and love the family.  This had to be difficult and this is something that so many of us can struggle with and it has happened nearly since the beginning of time. 
Rebekah was the young woman who became the wife of Isaac, Sarah's son. Her family background is given in Genesis 22:20-23.
“Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, coming out with her water jar on her shoulder. The girl was very fair to look upon, a young girl, whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up.”
It was Rebekah’s initiative that first caught the attention of Eliezer, the servant Abraham sent to find a wife for Isaac.  It was common courtesy to give a drink to a stranger, but it took added character to also fetch water for ten thirsty camels!
Read Genesis 24:1-27.  
Rebekah impressed Abraham's men who had stopped to rest at the well. They offered her valuable gifts, including a gold nose-ring and two gold bracelets, which she accepted.  Rebekah led the men to her home, to introduce them to her family. Her brother Laban spoke as head of the house, inviting them to stay in his household.  A proposal of marriage, on behalf of Isaac, was made. It was accepted by Rebekah and by her family.
 'And they called Rebekah and said to her "Will you go with this man?" She said "I will". So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham's servant and his man, and they blessed Rebekah.'
Rebekah had more say in whom she married than did Isaac,her future husband. Genesis 24:8 suggests that the marriage would not have gone ahead without her consent, but Isaac is expected to marry the woman brought home to him by his father's agents.

As she faced the journey to her new home, she seemed sure of her own judgment, and ready for this daunting new experience.             
When Rebekah and Isaac met, it seems to have been love at first sight. He took her to the tent that had once belonged to his mother Sarah - this tent was to be Rebekah's now.  Rebekah comforted Isaac after his mother's death; the deep bond that Isaac had with Sarah was replaced by his love for Rebekah. 
“Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah.  So she became his wife, and he loved her, and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”  Genesis 24:67
Despite her beauty, and despite Isaac's love for her, Rebekah did not have an easy time of it. She did not conceive for quite some years, and this was considered both a personal misfortune and a sign that she was not favored by God. Eventually however she became pregnant, but even then it was not easy.  She had a difficult pregnancy, since the two babies inside her were constantly moving, so that she had no peace. Like many women before and since, she wondered what she had got herself into.  
So she 'went to enquire of the Lord'. Rebekah was the first woman we hear of who sought God out and asked Him for some explanation of her condition.  God told her that:
'Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.'
Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob.  The struggle in her womb had been a sign that there was to be:
·         a lifelong struggle between Esau and Jacob, and
·         a continuing struggle between their descendants, the Edomites and the Israelites.
'When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle, so they named him Esau. Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau's heel, so he was named Jacob.'  
From the start, Esau was, good at hunting and outdoors activities, confident, careless, unconcerned. He had a good relationship with his father. He married two Hittite (non-Hebrew) women who did not get on well with Rebekah and Isaac (see Genesis 26:34-35). Jacob was quiet, more thoughtful, more interested in learning. He did not particularly enjoy outdoors activities. He depended on his intelligence and his wits rather than on brute strength. 
One day, Esau carelessly gave up his birthright, half of his inheritance, to his younger twin Jacob.  On the death of the father, property was divided in equal shares between the sons, but the eldest son got a double portion. This was called the 'birthright' of the eldest. Thus in a family of two sons, the elder would get two-thirds, the younger  would get one-third. Daughters had already received their inheritance in the form of a dowry.
When Isaac was very old, he realized that it was nearly time for him to die. This meant that he should give his formal Blessing to the son he wanted to succeed him. In ancient Hebrew tribes, the Blessing meant the handing over of legal power to a successor - a more valuable gift than any amount of property. The person who received the Blessing had authority over the whole clan, even over people who were older than himself. If Jacob had the Blessing, he would govern the tribe after Isaac's death.

But Esau was Isaac's favorite son. He had many of the qualities that Isaac lacked: he was hearty, carefree, a good hunter, and physically strong. The question was: would he be the best person to govern the tribe after Jacob's death? Rebekah did not think so. She believed that the quiet, intelligent Jacob would do a better job.  
She therefore colluded with her younger son, and under her direction, Jacob tricked his dying father into giving the Blessing to him.   
'Then Rebekah took the best garments of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob; and she put the skins of  kids (baby goats) on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck'  
In the modern world, we admire honesty and integrity. The actions of Rebekah and Jacob seem underhanded to us. In ancient times, however, this duo of schemers would have been admired. Trickery and cunning were valued, because the world was dangerous and unpredictable, and people needed every advantage they could get, to survive. Rebekah may have hated what she had to do - but it was necessary, given Esau's impetuous foolishness and the long term effect it would have on the tribe.
Rebekah had developed from a beautiful, confident young girl into a far-sighted and shrewd woman. She chose the son she believed was more capable of governing the clan. But some questions must be asked:
·         Did Jacob really trick Isaac into thinking he was Esau? Is it possible that Isaac was aware all along of what was happening?
·         Did Isaac go along with Rebekah's deception because he knew in his heart of hearts that Jacob was better suited for the task of leadership?
'Now Esau hated Jacob because of the Blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself "The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob". But the words of her elder son Esau were told to Rebekah.'

Esau was angry and he had been betrayed by his mother and his brother and lost the inheritance that was due to him, his birthright and the Blessing. He planned to kill Jacob as soon as his father died.
Once again, Rebekah stepped in, helping Jacob to escape. She also maneuvered Isaac into arranging a marriage between Jacob and one of the daughters of Laban, the brother she had left so many years ago in Mesopotamia.  
The story of Rebekah makes it clear that women can feel ambition, love greatly, deceive, and be self-sacrificing. The nature of the person shapes what they are, not their gender. Rebekah was a leader of people and an organizer of the future. It did not matter that she was a woman. She used the abilities she had, in the best way that she could.
The more of these stories that I read-- it really has me thinking, who am I more like?   Do I have some of each of these biblical women in me?  Meaning their traits and how would I have handled some of the situations.  I can honestly say, I understand why Rebekah did what she did and we all make the best choices we can in life.  With each of these realizations, I have become so thankful for the power of Jesus and what gifts He bestowed on the church. Thankful that we don’t live under the same law as in the Old Testament.  Life was so very different as far as the Law – with Jesus I feel the grace and forgiveness and so thankful for His sacrifice for me.  Jesus would have come to earth and endured what He did for just one lost person.  He is there in Heaven on the Right hand of God interceding on our behalf, it makes me so thankful for the friend I have in Jesus.  He is my savior, my Redeemer and my Strength.
God bless you.
Michele G.
I apologize for the different size fonts and awkward spaces. No matter what I tried I couldn't get them to be in alignment. 

 So, after reading this would you have done what Rebekah did?  Would you have been deceitful to get the better result, in an age when women had no power?  Do you feel that the ends justified the means?  Tell us in our comment section. 

 Leave any comment before Tuesday 8pm, and you may receive the card on the side bar, and postage...if you live in the US.  I'm sorry, I can not send cards out of the country.  We are glad you are all here!  Michele will have another post on a Biblical Woman on the 3rd Friday of September.  You get decide if you are like the woman or not!

Praying that everyone is safe from the hurricane.  Please join us in prayer for each other and people everywhere that need Him.
He IS Able!
Traci S.


  1. Michele- Another thought provoking post. In today's culture I am sure I could have been part of the trickery. I have three sons. Each one has their strengths and weakness. However, the world was very different as you point out. So I just don't know!

  2. I really enjoyed the study on Rebekah. Thank you!

    ~~ Deb Saaranen


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