Jul 9 – 5 Pentecost
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
Background: In the latter part of Genesis we read the stories of the foundation of the patriarchs of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and later Jacob. The later chapters establish a history for the people of Israel while solidifying a number of motifs of the Old Testament – woman meets man at a well and the relationship forged there.
Theme: The assigned passage describes the call of Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife through the eyes of Abraham’s servant. This passage and the command from Abraham to his servant to search for Isaac’s wife immediately follow the death of Sarah – implicitly tying the beginning of one generation to the end of the previous.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67. In addition, please read Genesis 23, 24:1-33 and the omitted portions of the text for context.
* If this text was composed or at least redacted in post exile, what implication might that have for the interpretation of the text?
* What has transpired prior to this section, especially in the lives of Abraham and Sarah? What is the motivating factor for the exchange between the principals in this passage?
* In verse 34, who is “he” (Abraham’s servant)? What is his mission for this trip to Abraham’s homeland?
* How did Abraham’s servant know how to select Isaac’s bride?
* What is interesting about this passage when compared with the stories of Isaac and Ishmael? Especially with respect to God.
* Who are Bethuel, Nahor, Milcah, Laban, and Rebekah and what is their relationship to Abraham?
* Why might the betrothal of Rebekah be considered an act of loyalty? How does this interchange preimage the interaction between Jacob and his father-in-law?
* What might the significance be of the gifts given to Rebekah by Abraham’s servant? What was the function of those gifts? How might those gifts give us an insight into the true nature of Laban?
* In verse 58, do you think Rebekah had an option regarding going with Abraham’s servant and becoming Isaac’s wife?
* Where are Beer-lahi-roi and the Negeb (alternatively Negev)?
* What might the function be of Rebekah’s demurring and veiling herself when she alights and comes before Isaac for the first time?
* Why might Isaac need to be comforted at the death of his mother?
* What is interesting about the inclusion of (1) Isaac’s explicit love for Rebekah (verse 67) and (2) that Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (verse 67)? Why might those facts be out of place in the text, especially when considering the patriarchal society when the text was composed?
* What is the message of hope found in this text for our society?
* What is the mission presented to Christians from this text?