A wife for Isaac
by Mary C Legg
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
I-5 Chaya Sora Gn 23-25:18
After Sarah's death, Abraham made a contract with the sons of Heth for the field of Ephron in Machpelah for a burial place. He bought the field of Ephron in Machpelah before Mamre with the trees and the cave where he interred Sarah. But as he was old, he was concerned about the future generations, worrying about a suitable wife for Isaac. He called his servant and required him to make an oath, sending him with ten camels back to the city of Nahor in Mesopotamia. During the journey, the servant probably considered different options if he failed his master's expectations. He prayed for personal illumination regarding the matter and upon coming to the well at Nahor made a personal resolution. He would ask for a drink of water from a young woman coming to the well. He waited, parked beside the well with his ten camels.
Consider the situation. How many times do parents tell their children not to socialize or talk with strangers. Do you think that it was any different in those days? Consider travelling all day on the back of a long-legged, rocking-horse in the hot sun, suffering from vertigo and motion-sickness. Would you wait for the first lady to come along to offer you water before you got your thirst quenched? Seasoned travellers always carry their sandwiches and full canteens when they embark on a long journey. Nobody starts on an all day hike without first putting some apples and bottled water into the backpack or chewables into the pocket. Is this the way to find a wife? Just walk into the local pub and the first woman in who offers a mug of coffee or cider wins? Was he looking for the face to splash over the front page of the Mesopotamian Mail Dispatch in the local beauty contest? How could he know that she was the right one? Didn't all those women look so much alike in their long robes? Not to mention he was a stranger in those parts and wouldn't know the local gossip.
While he was contemplating the difficulties of the problem, Rebekah came up. He asked for a daught from her pitcher and she replied by offering to water the camels also. Deja-vu. Abraham's servant became somewhat speechless. What he had contemplated, transpired. He had time to recover his wits, as a camel can easily drink 20 gallons of water in an hourómultiply that by ten. Rebekah had her work cut out for her. She must have had a magical pitcher or very strong will to fulfill her commitment-- nor was there any need for her to do it. Obviously such labor is not considered woman's work. Tending animals 6ft tall and weighing 1100 pounds requires stamina and many hands to complete the labor within a reasonable time. When she finished her self-appointed chores, the servant rewarded her with a ring and two bracelets for her labor. Excited she ran off to tell the family about the strange caravan at the well.
Before anything else happened, the animals were cared for. They were fed and sheltered before dinner was spread. Before the introductions and explanations, the animals were given provision and this influenced the servant's decision. The acceptance of responsibility and compassion for animals revealed Rebecca's inner nature as being compassionate and responsibleóa person to assume duties without being asked. She humbled herself to do dirty work and graciously offered hospitality. Laban had servants to water camels. She didn't need to offer; but she did anyway.
She didn't need to go, either. No one coerced her and she wasn't a bought bride, regardless of the wealth of presents that Abraham had provided for her dowry. While they were eating, Laban and Bethuel agreed to send her, but they tried to persuade Abraham's servant to remain ten days for prolonged rest in order to prepare for the arduous journey ahead. Her brother and mother, hearing the servant's desire to depart immediately, called Rebekah to make the final decision. There's always time to step out before the contract's signed. Rebekah, however, agrees over the protests of her mother.
They blessed her, sending her nurse with her as a companion with some maidservants to become the mother of nations.
Upon reaching the well at Lahairoi, Rebekah spied Isaac working in the fields at eventide. Although forthright, she veils herself to meet him. Some men say they never know their wives until after marriage; but others claim they knew a different person than the one they married.
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