Abraham’s unnamed servant has gone to find a bride for his son, Isaac, as reported in Genesis 24:1-27 (see previous article entitled Love Story). Let’s pick up the story in verse 28.
After answering the servant’s question about housing for the night, Rebekah was running again. This time to town to tell her father’s household everything that had happened and to show them her ring and bracelets. Rebekah’s brother, Laban, listened only long enough hear about the rich visitor. Having seen the ring and the bracelets, he hurried out to the town well, perhaps anticipating more good fortune.
“Come in, you who are blessed by the Lord. Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels” (v. 31). The camels were taken care of, water was provided for the servants to wash their feet and a lavish meal was prepared as quickly as possible. But the servant refused to eat until he told his story in detail. Laban’s greedy eyes perhaps squinted in interest as he listened to the account of Abraham’s wealth, the long journey and the providential meeting at the well.
Rebekah may have fidgeted on her stool, her eyes alive with excitement. How romantic! But the proposal was a little disconcerting too – traveling hundreds of miles to marry a man she had never even met and knowing there was little chance to return.
But Rebekah was up to it, even eager to go.
Undistracted, the servant pursued his responsibility: “Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may know which way to turn. Laban and Bethuel answered together, ‘This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed’” (vv. 49-51). Would you like your future so determined?
Again, the servant bowed down to the ground in thankfulness for God’s blessing and direction, as well as the family’s response. Then he gave more gifts of gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing to Rebekah. To Laban and Milcah, he also gave costly gifts. Satisfied that the business had been agreed upon, they sat down to enjoy the meal and they spent the night there.
The next morning, the servant wanted to go. Laban and Milcah were not so eager and asked the servant to stay for ten days or so (v. 55). Perhaps they were hoping to send Rebekah away with wedding gifts for her new home! After some hesitancy, Rebekah was consulted and settled the manner by announcing, “I will go.” Ready to leave all she knew and begin an exciting future with a man she didn’t know, the caravan set off.
Rebekah, her nurse, Deborah, and her other maids left that day never to return (as far as we know). We can only imagine all that went through Rebekah’s mind as she anticipated meeting Isaac for the first time. She knew that he was wealthy and that he would someday be the patriarch of a large household. But that’s about all she knew. Would he love her? Would she love him?
As they neared Beer Lahai Roi, in the desert-like Negev of southern Canaan, Rebekah noticed a man walking toward them. She asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?” (v. 65). She probably knew guessed at the answer even as she asked the question. “He is my master,” replied the servant.
Rebekah modestly took her veil and covered herself. After the servant told Isaac all that had happened, Isaac he needed to hear no more. He would take it from here. Satisfied that this woman was God’s choice for him, Isaac didn’t waste time. He took Rebekah into the tent of his mother and he married her. Scripture wonderfully adds, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” This beautiful love story was possible only because Isaac, his servant and Rebekah were sensitive and obedient to God’s will.
This account is also a picture of salvation: God the Father sent His chosen emissary (the Holy Spirit) into a far country (the earth) to seek a bride (the church) for His Son, Jesus Christ. Who’s the bride? We are, the church universal, made up of all believers during the church age. Like Rebekah, we are challenged to leave everything from our old world behind as we claim Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Like Rebekah, too, we need to be sensitive and obedient to God’s will so we won’t have to settle for less than God’s best.
In Genesis 24, Rebekah serves as an excellent example of taking initiative, faith in God, submission to God’s direction and willingness to take risk.