Rebekah Bible Study, 10 Points for Bible Study 4/11/2015

For our lesson of Rebekah, Genesis 24; 25:19-34; 26:1-28 on pages 28-31, in our main text Women of the Bible by Jean E Syswerda.

1.  Her name probably means “Loop” or “Tie”. (2, pg.28.)

2.  Her character: Hard-working and generous, her faith was so great that she left her home forever to marry a man she had never met.  Yet she played favorites with her sons and failed to trust God fully for the promise he had made. ( 3, pg. 28)

3. Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel, Abraham’s nephew, sister of Laban, wife of Isaac,and mother of Esau and Jacob. (1, pg. 14)

4. Genesis 24:1-9Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. 2. He said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. 3. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 4. but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.(Ft. nt.Gen. 24:2-chief servant in his household. Probably Eliezer of Damascus, see note on 15:2).  Put your hand under my thigh, Near the organ of procreation, probably because this oath was related to Abraham’s last will and testament and called for faithful implementation on the part of his son, Isaac must accept Abraham’s and God’s choice (see also Genesis 47:29 and note). 5. The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land?  Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?” 6. “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. 7. “The Lord, the God of heaven,  who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me an oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’– he will send his angel before you so that you can get  a wife for my son from there. 8. If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” 9. So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter. (2, pg. 56)

5. Genesis 24:10-12 – Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and left, taking with him all kinds of good things from his master.  He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water. Then he prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.(1, pg 56.)

6. Genesis 24:15-18Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.  She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.  The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her.  She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again. The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.” “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. (1, pg. 57)

7. Genesis 24:50-51Laban and Bethuel answered, 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. (1, pg 58)

8. Genesis 24:66-67Then the servant told Isaac all he had done.  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. (1, pg. 59)

9. Genesis 25:21-23Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren.  The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.  The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?”  So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two people from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”(1, pg.60-61)

10. Genesis 25:24-26When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in the womb.  The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment, so they named him Esau.  After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.  Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. (1, pg. 61)

1. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volume Four R-Z, In Four Volumes, Abingdon Press, New York 1962.

2. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan 2008 Edition (All scriptures)

3. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999, pg. 221.

Hagar – 10 Key Points for Bible Study

From our lesson of Hagar (Genesis 16; 21:8-21; Galatians 4:22-31, here are some important points.  There is no Saturday Bible Study for the discussion on Hagar.

1. God promised Abram (Abraham) that he would be the Father of a great nation (Genesis 12:2), but Sarai (Sarah) had no children for 10 years. She convinced Abram to sleep with her Egyptian maidservant Hagar to build a family through her (Genesis 16:1-3). Abram’s name was not changed to Abraham until Genesis 17:5 and Sarai’s name was not changed to Sarah until Genesis 17:15.

2. Hagar conceived a child through Abram and upon becoming pregnant began to look down on her mistress (Genesis 16:4).

3. Sarai blamed Abram for the attacks on her by Hagar. She had in good faith, in line with the customs of assuring a son to the father, allowed Hagar to substitute for her as birth mother of a child, due to her being barren. The result of Sarai’s good faith was her being scorned by Hagar, The mother-to-be (Genesis 16:5).

4. Abram (Abraham) allowed Sarai to punish Hagar as she saw fit. The punishment was severe enough that Hagar decided to flee from her mistress Sarai (Genesis 16:6).

5. Hagar was “found” by The angel of the Lord near a spring, beside the road to Shur east of Egypt.  He asked her where she had come from and where she was going and she admitted she was running away from her mistress Sarai, perhaps headed for her homeland of Egypt (Genesis 16:7-8).

6. The angel of the Lord told Hagar to return to Sarai, to submit to her and in return she would have numerous descendants, starting with the child she was carrying, whom shall be named Ishmael. This child will live in hostility toward all his brothers (Genesis 16:9-12).

7. In the story there are questions as to specifically who was The angel of the Lord. For this lesson, we point out, that the NIV Study notes indicate that the personal uses of “I” in the  verse of Genesis 16:10, “The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” and Hagar’s proclamation of Genesis 16:13, She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who  sees me,” for she said, I have now seen the One who sees me.”  is different from the expected language of one who is called “an angel” or “messenger” in Hebrew(1).

8. Hagar returned to Abram and Sarai and bore Abram son and named him Ishmael (Genesis 16:15), but fourteen years later Sarah bore Isaac for Abraham (Genesis 21:2).

9. Hagar and Ishmael were eventually sent away because Sarah found Ishmael scorning Isaac (Genesis 21:9). God allowed the dismissal as Isaac was the child of promise (Genesis 21:10). Ishmael grew up in the desert and became an archer (Genesis 21:20).

10. In the Book of Galatians in the New Testament, Paul contrast Hagar and Ishmael to Sarah and Isaac to explain birth with ordinary future opposed to one born with promise and assurance.  Paul says the acceptance of Jesus makes one free from the law and gives one the ability to live by the promises and assurance of faith (Galatians 4:21-31). 

 1. The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume I, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, New York.

2. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.

3. Jean E Syswerda, Women of the Bible, Zondervan, 1999.