Only two chapters in today’s reading. But they’re both pretty involved.
Genesis 24: Isaac and Rebekah
Abraham sent his servant out to find a wife for Isaac. Abraham didn’t want Isaac’s wife to come from the local area, Canaan; he wanted the wife brought back from Abraham’s homeland. He specifically requested a relative, and he specifically required that the wife move to Canaan instead of Isaac moving back to the homeland.
Abraham and his servant sealed the oath by the servant putting his hand under Abraham’s thigh. Apparently this was akin to shaking hands back in the day.
When the servant took off to find a wife for Isaac, he prayed that God would show him the right woman. When the servant asked a woman for water, and she responded with water for him and for his camels, that would be the woman to bring back to Canaan.
The first woman he asked for water was Rebekah, who is Isaac’s cousin, or possibly niece.
“She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.”
The “son of Milcah” part is throwing me off. I think Bethuel is the son of Milcah. Milcah was Nahor’s wife and therefore Abraham’s sister in law. Therefore, Milcah’s son’s daughter would be Isaac’s niece? It’s all so confusing.
But, rest assured, Rebekah is a virgin, which seemed important to mention, I guess.
Rebekah offered the servant water for himself and his camels, so the servant asked to go to her home. He also gave her a nose ring and other jewelry.
The nose ring reference was another thing that reminded me of the setting: thousands of years ago. A nose ring would be a very odd proposal gift today, but it was highly coveted back then.
Rebekah takes the servant home to her family. The servant recaps literally the whole story for Rebekah’s family. This chapter is the same story told twice.
After hearing the story, Rebekah’s brothers decided to give her away to the servant. Rebekah had no say in the decision. She did have a say in the timing, though, of whether to go immediately or in 10 days. She picked immediately, so I’m going to pretend she went willingly.
She went back with the servant and married Isaac in Sarah’s tent. (Sarah was Isaac’s mother, and she passed away in a recent chapter.) This ceremony helped comfort Isaac after his mother’s death.
I took a gander at some of the footnotes for this story. While the servant’s name is never mentioned in the text, the footnotes indicate that his name was Eliezer. I’m not sure how we know his name since it’s not in the actual text of (my version of) the Bible.
I did some quick research on this and confirmed that Eliezer was not named in the text. But he’s believed to be the unnamed servant because he was named as the potential heir of Abraham’s estate (before Isaac came along) in a previous chapter.
Genesis 25: Abraham Dies
There are so many spoilers in the titles of these chapters!
Before he dies, though, Abraham remarries and has six more children (unknown if they’re sons or daughters, but my gut says sons).
He lived to be 125 years old, which is extremely old to our modern brains, but nothing compared to how long people lived just a few chapters ago.
Abraham was buried near his first wife Sarah. And Isaac inherited everything Abraham owned. (I’m sure Abraham’s other children were super happy about that.)
The next section breezes over Ishmael’s outcome. Ishmael is the son Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham before God brought Isaac into Abraham’s life via Sarah. The gist: he lived, he died, he had 12 sons (it’s not mentioned if there were daughters). The sons spread out across the land and hated each other.
After that very random interjection, we bounce back to Isaac and Rebekah. Rebekah is barren, so Isaac prays to God for sons. He answers the prayer by making her pregnant with twins.
“The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’”
I’m sure anyone who has carried multiples is nodding in agreement right now.
Rebekah asks God what’s going on and he said there were two nations within her, one stronger than the other, and the older would serve the younger.
When she gave birth, both twins were boys. One, however, was red and “his whole body was like a hairy garment.” They named that one Esau. The other boy came out grabbing Esau’s heel and was named Jacob.
Isaac liked Esau better, and Rebehak liked Jacob better. I thought parents weren’t supposed to play favorites.
Esau and Jacob had a weird relationship. In the first interaction we witness between them, Jacob is making stew and Esau wants some. Jacob responds to Esau’s stew request with:
“First sell me your birthright.”
“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
Esau swears to sell his birthright to Jacob in exchange for the stew.
I had to look it up, but that means Jacob would now be considered the firstborn instead of Esau.
I couldn’t quickly find why Esau said he’s about to die, but I’m hoping that’s covered in a future chapter.
Today’s post is brought to you by the weirdest thing Amazon recommended to me today. The Inflat-A-Bull. This is a real thing.
Not sure why they thought I would want it. I haven’t been swimming in years. At least it’s hilarious!