The family tree of Rebekah is confusing. She is the daughter-in-law of Abraham and Sarah, as well as their great niece (she is the daughter of their nephew, Bethuel; Abraham and Sarah share the same father.) That means Rebekah’s great aunt and uncle are also her in-laws.
Abraham doesn’t want his son Isaac marrying a local girl, so he sends his servant to his home country to find a bride for Isaac. With God’s provision, the servant finds Rebekah—when she offers to water his camels—and she agrees to go with him to marry a man (and a relative) she has never met. This is a tribute to her character—or perhaps a reflection of her desire to leave home and marry. Isaac is forty, but we don’t know Rebekah’s age.
Just like her mother-in-law, Rebekah is beautiful. And just like his father, Isaac passes her off as his sister, a bad lesson he learned from his parents.
It takes twenty years for Rebekah to have children, but when she does, she has twins. While Isaac favors the older, Esau, Rebekah favors the younger, Jacob. When parents play favorites, it’s never good. The boys don’t get along and conflict ensues. When Esau threatens to kill Jacob, Rebekah feigns that she doesn’t want Jacob to marry a local girl, hoping Isaac will send him back to their homeland. Isaac does.
So Rebekah is a beautiful woman of character, who (along with her husband) isn’t such a good parent. May we not repeat their errors.
What character traits have we picked up from our parents that might cause us problems? If we have children, what are we modeling for them?
[Discover more about Rebekah in Genesis 24–28.]
Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.