“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself.” (Genesis 24:63-65)
Can’t you just picture this scene as Isaac and Rebekah set eyes on each other for the first time! Do you think Isaac was aware of all that had transpired the weeks before this fateful day? We’re told that “the servant told Isaac of all the things he had done.” (Genesis 24: 66) It makes me wonder if Isaac knew about the bride who awaited him. Rebekah, on the other hand, had chosen to make this trip. Imagine what that trip was like! The anticipation must have been great with emotions of excitement and wonder about the man who would be her husband. Truly the story of Isaac and Rebekah is a romantic one. If ever there was a marriage made in heaven, this would be one. Chosen for Isaac from amongst the women in Abraham’s homeland, Rebekah was beautiful, kind, courageous and filled with faith as she left everything behind. What happened when they saw one another? Rebekah took her veil and covered herself. I’ve read that this was a sign of humility and reverence. And when Isaac discovered that she was to be his, he “brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” Theirs was an intimate relationship from the onset.
Twenty years pass when we get our next glimpse into the life of Isaac and Rebekah. Years filled with love and happiness most likely but years also filled with disappointment and sadness as Rebekah yearned for children. We learn that “Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” ( Genesis 25:21). The prayers of a loving, supportive and understanding husband must have blessed Rebekah’s heart. We learn more about this relationship during the famine years in Gerar. Just like his father before him, Isaac claimed that his wife was his sister because he feared for his life. He is found out when Abimelech witnesses the two of them. The Scriptures tell us that “Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife.” Their interaction was obviously not the laughter between a brother and sister and it was evident to the king that Isaac had lied. Their closeness was so evident to those who watched and serves as a testimony to the intimacy they experienced.
Then something happened. The next time we see the couple, Rebekah is listening as Isaac speaks to Esau. (Genesis 27:5). It’s said that she was eavesdropping outside the tent. Isaac obviously didn’t share with his wife what his intentions were concerning Esau and Rebekah obviously felt that she needed to know what was going on between father and son. There was no communication it seems between this husband and wife. Perhaps no trust as well. It appears the intimacy that once was is no longer. We all know the rest of the story. Rebekah made the decision to deceive her husband into giving the blessing to Jacob rather than Esau – a blessing that she knew would be Jacob’s as the Lord had revealed this to her. Like her mother-in-law before her, she took matters into her own hands. The results were equally devastating. The decision affected her marriage, the relationship between her sons and her later years. Oh how folly with her own hands tore down her house. How different the outcome would have been if Rebekah had been as the wisest of women building up her home.
What brought about such an ending to a love story with such a beautiful beginning? We read that “Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:28) Did it begin as each one favored one son over the other causing their partiality to bring about deception between a husband and wife?
Isaac and Rebekah began their lives with an intimate relationship with each other and with the Lord. Remember how Isaac was out in the fields meditating when he first saw Rebekah and how he prayed to the Lord for his wife to conceive. Rebekah’s life as well showed an intimacy with the Lord. Then something changed. Did Isaac know that the blessing was intended for Jacob? Had Rebekah told him what the Lord had shared with her? I imagine so. Why then would he give the blessing to Esau? Why did Rebekah make such a choice when she knew what the end would be? Is there a connection between their relationship with the Lord and their relationship with each other?
It’s a good time for us to stop and reflect on our own lives as we conclude our study of Rebekah’s life. Is there anything in your life that is building a wall in your relationship with your husband? What do you need to do to tear it down and start building up your home? Most importantly, is there anything in your life separating you from deeper intimacy with our Lord?
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24