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Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel,[1] Abraham's first cousin. She would become the wife of Isaac and mother to Esau and Jacob. Both sons would have twelve sons of their own, fulfilling God's promise to Isaac. Esau would be father to the Edomites, and Jacob to the Israelites.[2]

Biography

Arranged Marriage to Isaac

Shortly before he died, Abraham swore an oath unto God, to his head servant to find a wife for his son Isaac.[3] Since he did not want a Canaanite woman to marry his son, Abraham sent his servant to find a wife among his relatives at Padan-aram.[4] The servant asked God to show him the woman he was looking for. When Rebekah was found she was taken back to Isaac.[5]

Children

When Rebekah was barren, Isaac prayed to God for her and she conceived, with twins fighting in her womb. God told her that two nations would be born of her, and that one would be stronger than the other, and that the older shall serve the younger. When the children were born, the first child was red and like a hairy garment, and so was called Esau ("hairy"). The second child was grasping the heel of his brother and was called Jacob ("he grasps the heel"). Of the two children, Rebekah loved Jacob.[6]

Sojourn at Gerar

In a time of famine in the land of Canaan, Isaac headed towards the dependable Nile in Egypt. Before he got there God told him not to go down into Egypt, but to stay among the Philistines. In doing this, the promise to Abraham would be passed on through his son.[7]

Though the mother of grown sons, Rebekah was still very attractive.[8] Because of this, Isaac followed his father Abraham's example and lied about his relationship with his own wife. Being afraid that the men in the land would kill him to have Rebekah for their own, he told everybody that she was his sister.

After a while, though, Isaac's ruse was exposed when the king, Abimelech, noticed him showing public affection to his "sister." Having called him in to his presence, the king learned the truth. After warning his people to stay away from Rebekah and her husband, the time spent in Gerar proved profitable to Isaac and his servants.[9]

The Favored Son

When the time came for Isaac to give the firstborn son his blessing, Isaac had Esau go out into the fields to hunt game in order to make savory food that he loved before he could bless him. Rebekah overheard and had Jacob go get two choice kids of the goats for her to make savory food that he could bring to his father in order to get the blessing. When Jacob said his father might find out he was being deceived and thus have a curse upon himself instead of a blessing, Rebekah told Jacob to let the curse fall upon her. Jacob obeyed and got the two kids that his mother made into savory food, then Rebekah dressed him in Esau's best clothes and put goat skins on his hands and the back of his neck so that his father, who at this time was blind, could not tell the difference between his two sons by way of touch. Rebekah's plan succeeded, and Jacob got the firstborn son's blessing.[10]

Family Feud

When Esau came in soon after Jacob had left Isaac's tent, he found out that his brother had stolen the blessing due to the first born. Incensed, he resolved to kill his brother. As a precaution, Rebekah told Jacob to flee to her brother Laban in Haran until his brother's anger turns from him and she sends word for him to return.[11]

Before Jacob left, Rebekah voiced her concern to her husband about the Hittite women that Esau had married (which were a grief of spirit to both her and Isaac). She said her life would be worth nothing if Jacob also married a Hittite. Isaac then told Jacob to go to Padan Aram and take a daughter from his uncle Laban as a wife, and so Jacob left to go there.[12]

Death and Burial

Rebekah died sometime during her son Jacob's time with his uncle Laban. She was buried in the cave at Machpelah, the family burial place bought by Abraham years earlier.[13]

Verses

  1. Genesis 22:23; 24:24,47 (Link)
  2. Genesis 24:60 (Link)
  3. Genesis 24:2 (Link)
  4. Genesis 24:4 (Link)
  5. Genesis 24:59 (Link)
  6. Genesis 25:21-28 (Link)
  7. Genesis 26:1-5 (Link)
  8. Genesis 26:7 (Link)
  9. Genesis 26:8-16 (Link)
  10. Genesis 27:1-29 (Link)
  11. Genesis 27:30-45 (Link)
  12. Genesis 27:46 - 28:2 (Link)
  13. Genesis 49:31 (Link)

es:Rebeca

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