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Rebekah’s Marriage | Genesis 28–33 | #ComeFollowMe | Old Testament

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Rebekah’s Marriage (Week 9, Part 3/7) Genesis 24–27 | Feb 21 – Feb 27 – powered by Happy Scribe

Hello, I’m Lynn Hilton Wilson, and I’m part of the Book of Mormon central team to talk about the Old Testament. And today we get to jump into Rebecca’s marriage. And I’m looking forward to opening up Genesis 24 with you to find some sweet insights. And in addition into the storyline, I want to just give you a little bit of historical background. As far as historical background, just remember that Abraham is a very wealthy, powerful man.

And in fact, I would like you to think of him as more of a chieftain or a leader of a town of about 2000 people. We were told back in Genesis 14 that he had an army, or at least some of the people in his community that were willing to fight for him. That number, 318 soldiers. So he’s got this large group that he is leading. And all of this wealth goes then to his son Isaac.

When we’re told that Isaac is 40 years old, remember the number 40 from Noah’s Ark and other times is often used for a purification period. So I don’t know if he’s exactly 40 years old when he’s getting married, but there has been a period of purification and his mother has passed away three years before. And we see in this story of their marriage such great faith with Abraham and Isaac, as well as Rebecca and Eliezer, or whoever the servant is. We just know one of Abraham’s servants name was Eliezer. I don’t know if this again, is Eliezer.

And if you want to look at this little chart here for the genealogy, you can see that Abraham’s son, Isaac is going to marry his first cousin once removed, Rebecca, who is the daughter of Bethel, the granddaughter of Nahor, the great granddaughter of Tara, Abraham’s dad. But he is sent up through the inspiration of Abraham to stay within the Covenant, to marry within the Covenant, to keep the Covenant tack back up to Mesopotamia. And in the scriptures, the word that is used is translated as between the two Rivers. So it’s up in the Northwestern part of Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates. And that’s where the family’s been.

And the Lord miraculously brings these chess pieces together and puts their families together once again in an absolute beautiful way. I always agree with you, Nibbley, that the miracle is in the timing and the location that God puts exactly the right people in the right place at the right time. It’s absolutely wonderful. Earlier, we’ve been learning that Rebecca is very bright and quick witted. She’s very eager to serve.

She has great hospitality, welcomes a stranger to her home, is willing to take in ten camels. She’s not only chased and beautiful, but she is very strong. And just as a reminder, I can’t emphasize this enough. The usual water pots carried about five gallons. And the usual drama, Mary camels in this area could drink between 25 and 30 gallons each.

So this woman is possibly lifting 250 to 300 gallons of water. This is 50 times with this pot. It’s the size of a small hot tub. It’s absolutely amazing to me, but that is not the message of the story. The message of the story is that prayer has been offered.

I don’t want to say that the servant of Abraham, Eliezer, or whoever it is, is bargaining with the Lord. But he is certainly familiar enough that he has studied it out in his mind, just like we are taught in section nine of the doctrine Covenants. He has come up with a plan, and he’s going to ask the Lord if this will work. It reminds me also of many others, like the brother of Jared, who comes up with a plan and asks the Lord if he will bless this plan. That’s exactly what happens here.

And this wonderful servant is a man of God who receives Revelation to organize and arrange this marriage. Just by way of background a little bit, the marriages in this area of Mesopotamia were very different. They’re usually either arranged or else a dowry or purchase is done. A wife is often purchased. And in fact, in Babylon, which is done in middle Mesopotamia, not up in the north, in Babylon, every year they had these bride markets.

And we have written records of how wonderful these men thought these bride markets were. And they started with the most beautiful and went down to the least. But if we look at those people who are interested in the monotheism, hundreds of years later, we have a Rabbi Hillel who wrote, what’s God been doing since the creation. He sits and makes matches assigning this man to that woman and this woman to that man. So we have everything from a bride market to God as our matchmaker.

But whoever the matchmaker is, most of these marriages are arranged, and we see the same thing in the Book of Mormon with the daughters and sons of Ishmael marrying the daughters and sons of Lehi. We are told that this servant of Abraham back in Genesis 24 gives some very expensive jewelry to Rebecca at the well. First of all, I’m fascinated that we’ve got a woman at the well in the New Testament as well. And I hope that you always keep these types of Christ in your mind as you look for Christ in the Old Testament. I hope you see some of these things like the woman at the will.

But these jewels are worth more than one buying an entire slave. The two bracelets, if you take the ten shekels, it’s 4oz of gold, and then the nose ring, which is the Hebrew. There is even more. In some places you could buy five slaves with that amount of money. Other places, just one.

But as the story is retold to Rebecca’s father and possibly just brother Laban, he says, this is from the Lord. We can say nothing to you one way or the other. And sure enough, it appears that it is God driven, God directed, and everyone acknowledges that through the spirit of the Lord. I think one of the most important things that we can do in our lives is learn how to acknowledge the spirit and then act upon that. And that’s exactly what happens in this story.

The most surprising part to me, though, is the next morning the family says, okay, welcome. Can you stay for a while? Minimum, ten days. And of course, he says, I got to get out of here. I don’t know if it was the weather or what, but he wants to get home.

And it’s probably Isaac’s eagerness. And they say, well, let’s ask the girl, let’s ask Rebecca. And this is so wonderful to me that they are including her opinion on this. So I looked into the marriage customs in this area. And unlike most of the ancient world in Mesopotamia at this time, women were allowed to own property, women were allowed to have rights over their children, and women were allowed to give a voice.

Now, it doesn’t mean that they run equal with the men in their lives. But I was thrilled to see that. And we see Rebecca as a decision maker. She comes right out as a woman of faith and says, I will go. She is ready to leave this land and follow the Lord.

It reminds me of Nephi. I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded. And it wasn’t just Rebecca who is ready at this for the moment. It was also her nurse Deborah and her damsels or the women that she loved that we were going with her or else the women that helped her. The ancient world is very different.

I don’t want you to think of American slavery. I’d rather think of perhaps the Middle Ages with a serfdom or something like that. But they all board these ten camels and make that 850 miles back. 850 miles is almost the same amount. From winter quarters to Salt Lake.

It’s almost Kirtland to Jackson County, Missouri. So this is a long voyage. And as they approach the Southern area, near the border of Egypt, they come to the area where Isaac is living. And this modest, beautiful Rebecca hops off her camel, drapes herself, and is filled with love. It’s interesting, in our world we fall in love to be married, but in the ancient world, your marriage is usually arranged or purchased, and you learn to love the person you have married.

And it says that Isaac’s heart was filled and he was comforted since the death of his mother, which had been about three years earlier. But we see this beautiful pattern of families being the most important part in the ancient world, which was very difficult for Rebecca because she is not able to conceive, just like Isaac’s mother. Well, Isaac Lee, Isaac’s mother was barren for at least 70 years, if not 75 or 80, depending on how old she was when she got married. Probably closer to 75 because she had him when she was 90 years old. Rebecca is barren for 20 years and she pleads the Lord.

She complains to her husband, her husband pleads the Lord and we’re told that she is able to conceive. But it’s a very difficult pregnancy. And again she prays to the Lord and the Lord answers her and she receives a fabulous prophecy. 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.

So she learns right off the bat who the Lord has intended and what the plan will be. And although we learn that she is a woman of faith and that she is one who seeks revelation, she can hear it. She can act on it. We also learn in a few years down the road that she does something that doesn’t quite fit the pattern. It looks sort of strange.

She starts deceiving her husband. And when we get to Chapter 27, I just want you to remember that Esau and Jacob’s life had been foretold to her. She knew where the Covenant was to stand. And so instead of looking at her as somebody who did a trick, I hope you take the time to listen to my podcast where I talk about another interpretation of that story. Thank you.

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