The betrothal of Rebekah

God faithfully led Eliezer, through foreign lands to the ancestral home of Abraham, to find Rebekah.

Although Eliezer never set beauty above character or looks above grace, Rebekah was a beautiful woman. Her name means “captivating” (alternatively “binding”), implying “breath-taking” but also “enchanting” in the way that made men beholden to her.

Her father was Bethuel, which has the same Aramaic meaning as Bethel, the place which Jacob later anointed as Bethel, “The house of God”, in response to his great dream. Jacob’s mother came from “The house of God” and though he would return to his mother’s house as a fugitive from Esau, he only really found a place in the “House of God” – that was the place where he and his mother found common ground and it is also where we find common ground with God, the basis by which we are called the fathers, mothers, brothers or sisters of Jesus. If you read between the lines here, you must perceive that by the same means we are kindred of those great souls of history – we all find common ground in Christ and the house of God, and are thus all one family.

Rebekah, one of the four matriarchs of Judaism, was destined to become a great woman, as God’s hand was on her. She had somehow kept herself, in spite of her beauty. She was a virgin, untainted, pure in every respect – a worthy bride for the heir to Abraham’s great, divine blessing.

When it all came together, Eliezer worshipped God for fulfilling His faithfulness to Abraham – the text suggests that the man was filled with marvel, awed by God’s hand in everything and the way that God’s providence had led him directly, through alien country, to Abraham’s ancestral home.

The wonder did not stop there either, for Laban, Rebekah’s brother, was as startled by these developments. He immediately discerned that Eliezer was an emissary of God. There is a strange contradiction here, for Laban acknowledges the Lord, suggesting he was a man of faith, yet we also know from the narratives concerning Jacob, that he kept his own gods.

It is evident from this early encounter that Laban was a shrewd man who loved to work things to his advantage, but Eliezer would have none of that and so insisted on leaving as soon as possible with Isaac’s future bride. The more I study Eliezer, the more I am amazed by his unstinting loyalty to Abraham – he provides us with a superb example of faithful stewardship.

So rings were proffered and Rebekah was betrothed by proxy to her, as yet unseen, husband, much as we are drawn from the world and betrothed to Christ whom we have not yet seen. We will go to Him who first came to earth for us so that together we may continue the great legacy handed down to us by many faithful lives.

(c) Peter Eleazar at
Image: Rebecca by Johannes Takanen, 1877.

No comments:

All posts