-Mother of Jacob/Israel- 2026 B.C.
Rebekah was chosen to marry a much-desired bachelor, the only son of a wealthy man who was the heir to a large fortune. God had made everlasting covenants for the numerous descendants the married pair would have; therefore the choice of mother was a serious matter, needing divine direction. Isaac, son of Abraham was not to marry into the Canaanite race that were under the curse of God for they did not worship nor acknowledge their Creator.
Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham's brother, and was the daughter of Betuel. Her grandparents were Nahor and Milcah. Sister to Laban, and grandniece of Abraham, she became the wife of Abraham's heir, Isaac. In Isaac were also the covenant promises to Israel and the World concerning Christ. She married for 20 years before becoming the mother of Esau and Jacob, twin boys.
Rebekah lived near the trading town of Haran in the far north east of Mesopotamia, with her father Betuel. Her grandfather Nahor, Abraham's brother had settled in a nearby village after the death of their father Terah, who was Rebekah's great-grandfather. Abraham had obeyed God's direction and followed His guidance to the land of Canaan. God had promised to make him the Father of Nations.
Haran was a flourishing city of busy markets and and city houses. Rebekah lived in the region where the land on the plains begins to rise to meet the mountains. Her family and relatives were both farmers and traders. Outside Haran was the village of Nahor situated on the plain. A village was simply an unwalled farming settlement.
In peace time, she and most of the people spent the day working in the fields, staying at settled villages overnight or returning to town life in the evening when the gates to the town were closed, but in times of war, all abandoned the land for the fortified safety of the town wall.
Rebekah's name means 'captivating' as well as 'tie rope for animals' and is connected with a calf or lamb's stall.
Abraham gave his most trusted servant, known to be Eliezier, specific instructions to return to Haran in search of a suitable wife for his only son Isaac from amongst his own people.
Ten camels were loaded with samples of the best of everything his master owned. Camels were named 'ships of the desert'. A camel can travel long distances without the need to constantly be refreshed with water and are able to withstand high temperatures while being sure-footed in undulating territory.
On arriving at the village of Nahor, Eliezier, an obedient and prayerful servant knew the significance of his task, sought God's guidance for direction and prayed for a sign of recognition. The camels had knelt by the local well, it was evening, the time when all the women went to draw water, it was the coolest time of the day. Eliezier prayed for guidance. The servant's prayer was to help him discern God's will by kindness shown to him and his caravan of camels.
Rebekah was an innocent twenty year old beautiful virgin oriental woman with a childlike character who had come to draw water at her grandfather's well. Rebekah always visited the well, which was located on the main road a mile outside of the town, twice daily to draw water for her family. It was the chief source of water for the people. Eliezier's prayer request was answered in the choice of a woman of character.
Rebekah offered to give the thirsty camels water, the gesture prompted Eliezier to ask more questions of her to which he praised God for his successful journey. She willingly drew water for Eliezier and his camels. Pots used for water were large and heavy and it took a lot of water to satisfy 10 thirsty camels after a week of travel. She completed the hard work efficiently.
Rebekah was courteous, helpful, hospitable and industrious and her initiative caught the attention of Eliezer for her exceptional help shown towards him being a stranger and foreigner to her homeland. She showed to Eliezier that she was willing to go beyond what was expected. It was customary to be hospitable to a traveller, but not to their animals, that is why he asked God to show him a woman with an attitude of service. He knew the importance of the attitude of heart.
Rebekah's best qualities are seen in her service to Eliezar. Meek, kind, energetic, frank and with openness all added to her physical charm. Rebekah was not afraid of hard work as the carrying and drawing water for Eliezier's camels revealed. She received a nose ring and 2 bracelets for watering the camels.
Eliezier then asked of her relatives whom he learned were Abraham's family. Rebekah was Abraham's grandniece so he told her immediately who he was, who sent him, of Abraham's instructions that had sent him to Nahor and the purpose of his visit. Rebekah invited him to spend the night with her family.
God had led him straight to his master's relatives. Eliezier explained his task to Rebekah's family. He bestowed gifts from his master upon her and more jewels set in solid gold and silver were given to Rebekah, including beautiful clothing and valuable gifts to her mother and brother which helped secure the favour of Rebekah's family. The riches indicated the wealth of the household into which Rebekah was asked to marry.
Rebekah was more concerned about Isaac's character than his abundance of wealth.
It was customary to marry in the same ethnic group. Rebekah was faced with instant departure from her family and close relatives she knew so well if she chose to travel south and live in the country of Canaan and marry Isaac. Haran was 500 miles away.
Though eastern marriages were arranged by the family, they still needed the willing consent of the bride.
Rebekah obeyed unconditionally to the will of God for she knew that Isaac's birth to her Grandfather's brother Abraham and to his wife Sarah, was proof of the fulfillment of the promises of God even though she knew it meant lifetime separation from her parents and family.
The agreement between the two families and financial arrangement sealed their betrothal to each other. Veiling of the woman throughout the betrothal period was customary, but unveiled once married.
Rebekah's father, in return for the security money paid to him for her marriage, gave her and Isaac a wedding dowry in the form of servant girls and Rebekah's childhood nurse, Deborah.
Rebekah proved to be adventurous and saw many different villages, fortified towns and walled cities as she journeyed throughout Canaan and stopped at many well-known oasis' along the international trade route.
People travelling in camel caravans usually met and travelled with military groups at wartime or merchant went together in numbers for the safety against marauding bandits. Courage helped her venture to the unknown foreign land. God rewarded her with a faithful monogamous marriage.
To marry within family tribes was an acceptable custom to avoid intermarrying with heathen neighbours. Family ties were close.
Isaac, aged forty was meditating in the fields at evening time as he saw the camel caravan approach. Realising this man was to be her bridegroom, according to custom she veiled her face until she was married. Their marriage was divinely ordained and a week of bridal celebrations accompanied the union.
Even though Isaac was twenty years older, they both instantly loved each other. Rebekah believed him to be handsome as well as thoughtful and Isaac believed her to be the most beautiful woman he had ever beheld and remained in love with her the rest of his life and their lives were closely woven together. Rebekah comforted Isaac after the death of his mother, Sarah.
Rebekah's husband was a man of the desert, a tent-dwelling nomad who moved from place to place throughout the land of Canaan occasionally settling, growing crops and providing water for his flocks. They travelled staying days, weeks or a season in one area before moving on in search of new pasturelands and water. Canaan was the land promised to the descendants of Abraham. During Rebekah's lifetime the Canaanites were known to invent the alphabet, a great legacy left to the world, forming a letter for each sound. All previous writings were a form of shorthand or drawings.
Rebekah and her servants were responsible for the preparation of food and clothing, for guests as well as family. Goats were valuable for meat, milk and cheese; its hair was used to make cloth and tents. Goat's skin made drinking bottles.
Sandals, which were thongs made out of animal pelt, were not worn inside the tent; the ground under the tent was covered with woven matting.
Linen was used as clothing material, as well as wool, silk, cotton and leather. Rebekah's clothing was similar to that of her husband's, but was ankle length, so that she could lift up the hem of her long dress and use it as a large bag for carrying items. Dresses were usually made of brightly coloured material as were her husband's and her son's. Her jewelry consisted of bracelets, necklaces, pendants, anklets and rings for her nose as well as fingers and toes. They were made from gold, silver and set with precious stones. Rebekah's hair combs and brooches were made of ivory. Her perfume was an item of luxury because of its imported costs.
Families were self-sufficient throughout the ancient culture. In such a wealthy household as Rebekah had become a member, plenty of meat was enjoyed whereas bread and milk were usually the basic elements of a meal among tent-dwelling nomads.
The whole household was to be taught of God as told to Abraham in addition to history, which was learned through stories that were memorised.
Because of the death of Isaac's mother, when Rebekah married Abraham's son, she became the matriarch through whom God fulfilled His covenants. Isaac was a gentle prayerful man and Rebekah became a woman of belief in God. Her husband had received God's promises that his descendants would be a great nation, physically and spiritually.
Rebekah benefited by the inspiration of her husband and father-in-law's godliness.
Rebekah was intelligent, energetic, strong-willed as well as with the qualities of meekness and humbleness. Initiative is an admirable quality when controlled by the wisdom of God.
Rebekah had physical beauty, but Eleizier, Abraham's loyal servant had allowed God to help him seek a woman that revealed an inner beauty. Her servant attitude, obedience, kindness and joy helped her become truly beautiful.
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