Rebekah is one of my favorite characters in the Bible (I have a lot of favorites!) She was the wife of the patriarch, Isaac, son of Abraham.
We find her story in the book of Genesis, chapters 24-27. You remember the great love story of chapter 24? How Abraham, thinking it was time for his 40-year-old grieving son, over the loss of his mother, to take a wife. But not any local girl would do. She had to be from Abraham’s family, from the area up north of Canaan in Padan-Aram. So he commissioned his unnamed servant to find a wife for his son (Genesis 24:3-4). How would you like that job?
As he neared the well outside the town of Nahor, he prayed, “Oh Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master, Abraham. See I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, “Please let down your jar that I may have a drink, and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’–let her be the one you have chosen for your servant, Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
And God began to answer that prayer before he was even done praying! (vs. 15) Did you notice how specific the prayer was? You know the story, how Rebekah fulfilled every detail of that prayer, she even offered to water the ten camels! (v. 10 tells us there were ten camels and v. 20 tells us she RAN as she did it!) That’s a lot of work! We need to give our all like Rebekah. (Notice I didn’t say we had to run while doing it!) She was not only beautiful and unmarried (vs. 16), she proved herself strong and energetic, industrious and hospitable, all things she would need to be Isaac’s wife. It appears that she had also responded to the Holy Spirit’s inner promptings when she offered to satisfy the thirst of ten camels in answer to the servant’s prayer.
The story goes on to say that the servant then asked the all-important question, Whose daughter are you? To which she replied, I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milcah bore to Nahor. Nahor was Abraham’s brother! She was even from the right family! God had answered his prayer!
The servant spent the night at Bethuel’s home, requesting that Rebekah return with him the very next morning to become the wife of Isaac. Bethuel and Rebekah’s brother, Laban, said 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 become the wife of your master’s son as the Lord directed. And she was eager to go (v. 58) even when her mother and brother hoped she could stay a few more days.
What a beautiful love story. Notice how Isaac didn’t waste any time taking Rebekah to be his wife! Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother, Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (v. 67).
And Isaac and Rebekah’s marriage was a beautiful thing, literally a marriage made in heaven, from what we know for the first 20 years. What happened at the 20- year mark? God answered Isaac’s prayer for a child and Rebekah was soon expecting, but the pregnancy was not easy. Remember how Rebekah asked God, Why is this happening to me? And the Lord said, “Two nations are in your womb and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger” (Gen. 25:22-23).