Rebekah in the Bible is one of the Bible’s most outstanding characters. Her story is one filled with romance, drama, treachery, deceit and loss.
In the beginning, Rebekah makes her audience smile and cheer but towards the end of her story, her behavior draws anger and anguish. Let’s get into it.
Story of Rebekah in the Bible summary
Rebekah lived in the land of her Ur with her family. Her brother Laban seemed to be in charge of her. We meet her when Abraham sends his servant Eliezer to his home town to seek a wife for Isaac.
Eliezer loaded up some camels with enough to pay a dowry and he, along with some other servants, prayerfully set off to find Isaac a wife.
When he arrives in the town, Eliezer utters another prayer. No sooner than the words fell from his lips Rebekah arrived at the well. He observed that she was a most beautiful young lady.
He asked her for a drink of water which she happily obliges. Rebekah also waters his ten camels.
Later in the conversation, Eliezer learned that she is in fact Abraham’s niece. He asked to board with her family for the night. Rebekah joyfully takes home Eliezer and his party. Her brother Laban is too happy to receive them when he realizes the wealth they came with.
Eliezer lost no time in telling them what he came about. He asked for Rebekah’s hand in marriage on Isaac’s behalf. In less than 24 hours, Rebekah made up her mind to go with Eliezer.
Back home, Isaac waited prayerfully for his bride to return. They got married soon after Rebekah’s arrival. Like many other female Bible characters, Rebekah was barren for a long time.
Isaac prayed and Rebekah became pregnant with twin boys. When the boys were adults, Rebekah created a plan for Jacob, the younger twin, to steal Esau’s blessing.
The whole saga made Esau so angry that he was in danger of killing his brother. Rebekah quickly sent Jacob away to her brother Laban and she never saw him again.
Rebekah in the Bible verses
Rebekah’s story is told in the Old Testament. But she is mentioned at least once in the New Testament. Here are the Scriptures where you will find her mentioned.
- Genesis 22:23
- Genesis 24
- Genesis 25:20-28
- Genesis 26:6-35
- Genesis 27
- Genesis 28:5
- Genesis 29:12
- Genesis 35:8
- Genesis 49:31
- Romans 9:6-16
Who was Rebekah in the Bible?
Rebekah is one of the outstanding women of faith and mothers of Scriptures. In this section, you will learn some fun facts about her.
Facts about Rebekah in the Bible
Meaning of Rebekah in the Bible
The name Rebekah means ensnared. It carries the idea of a rope used to tie animals.
Rebekah’s death in the Bible
There is no information in the Bible about how or when Rebekah died. But we do know two things.
- She died before Jacob returned home after his 20 year fugitive life.
- She was buried in the same cave where Abraham and Sarah were buried.
What was Rebekah known for in the Bible
Rebekah is known for three main things in Scripture
- She made a decision to marry a man she had never met before or knew nothing about.
- She had a pair of twin boys who were vastly different from each other.
- She planned with her son Jacob to manipulate her husband Isaac into robbing Esau of his blessing.
Rebekah’s family connections
Rebekah was Abraham’s niece, making her Isaac’s cousin.
Rebekah was from the land of Ur where Abraham was born and raised. Rebekah was also the sister of Laban, the father of Rachel and Leah.
Who was Rebekah’s husband?
Isaac who was also the son of Abraham.
How many children did Rebekah have?
She had twin boys who were named Jacob and Esau.
Characteristics of Rebekah in the Bible
What kind of woman was Rebekah in the Bible? Like any other believing Christian, she had a balance of great and not-so-great qualities.
Positive Characteristics of Rebekah in the Bible
Rebekah was physically beautiful
The Bible says, Rebekah was a very pretty woman. Like really, really pretty.
Unfortunately, the Bible does not always do justice to expressing such things.
Rebekah had the beauty of the likes of Sarah, Abraham’s wife and Rachel, the love of Jacob’s life and Esther, the Jewish queen who changed history.
The meaning of her name suggests that she was so pretty that men could easily fall for her.
And for this reason when Isaac went traveling, he lied by declaring to the King that she was his sister. For fear that the King would kill him and take her, Isaac did what his father Abraham did with his mother Sarah.
Rebekah was hospitable
When Eleazar, Abraham’s servant, arrived in Rebekah’s town, he was thirsty. He saw Rebekah and requested water to drink. Without hesitation, Rebekah was quick to fulfill his request.
She not only gave water to Eliezer but she watered his 10 camels as well. Later when she takes him home to her brother, she prepares a meal for him and his party.
Rebekah was physically strong
Watering camels was no easy task. A single camel could drink up to 20 gallons of water. Do the math. How long would it take to draw water for 10 camels?
Yet, Rebekah watered all of them by going back and forth from the well to the watering trough.
Rebekah was courageous and decisive.
Rebekah decided within less than 24 hours that she would go with this stranger and marry a man she had never met.
This is extraordinary courage.
Yes, she was going to a family but we all know that sometimes family can be challenging to live with.
Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, had a sense of urgency. Rebekah might have sensed this and realized that she didn’t have much time to make up her mind.
Moreover, Eliezer had brought enough evidence of Isaac’s wealth to assure her that she would be well taken care of.
Rebekah was barren but God showed up
For a good long time after her marriage to Issac, Rebekah did not get pregnant. In fact, she didn’t get pregnant for 20 years.
Scripture says only after Isaac prayed she got pregnant. Isaac was 40 when they got married and their twins were born when Isaac was 60!
Rebekah was a woman of faith and prayer
As she felt her twins struggling in her womb, Rebekah was probably in pain. She took her concerns to God.
Rebekah had such a connection with God that she was able to hear from God herself about the destiny of her babies.
God gave her an answer that was filled with prophecies about what life would be like for her boys and the role they would play in fulfilling the promise that God had made to Abraham.
Rebekah heard and believed God’s voice
When Rebekah prayed, God answered. And she heard him clearly.
Rebekah believed what God said. She was going to have twins.
Keep in mind that in those days there were no ultrasound machines. There was hardly a way to know anything about your baby before it’s born.
Rebekah had to take God’s word for it. And sure enough, her faith became sight when she gave birth to twins.
Negative Characteristics of Rebekah in the Bible
Rebekah was deceptive
So the time had come for Isaac to perform the rite of blessing his older son Esau.
The problem was that he was so old that his eyesight had gotten quite poor. In fact, he was pretty much blind.
This was Rebekah’s opportunity to scheme with her son Jacob so that he could get the blessing.
She told Jacob exactly what to do to look and feel like his brother for when his father touched him. And she cooked the meal that Isaac had asked Esau to prepare.
She planned and executed the plot for Jacob to pretend to be Esau.
And it worked beautifully.
Jacob received Esau’s blessing.
Rebekah was manipulative
And when she realized that Esau was too angry for him to live in peace with Jacob, Rebekah came up with a good excuse to get Isaac to send Jacob away.
Prior to this saga, Esau had married heathen women. Both Isaac and Rebekah were vexed by this.
Now that she wanted Jacob to leave she pretended to be concerned that Jacob could also end up marrying women they didn’t approve.
And this is how she got him to agree to letting Jacob go.
Lessons from Rebekah in the Bible
What can we learn from the story of Rebekah? Her life has many lessons about family, parenting, and the life-long impact of decisions.
Rebekah was the perfect combination of a pretty face and beautiful heart
Rebekah was a pretty woman. But that mattered little when Eleazar needed water to drink.
She watered both him and his 10 camels. That was the heart of a servant
Many women think it is just enough to be beautiful.
Listen, I’m a woman. I absolutely believe in taking beauty seriously. I have a twice a day routine for my face.
But, as a married I know my husband needs more from me than a pretty face.
God requires more from me than a gorgeous appearance.
At the end of the day what matters is my heart. Do I have the heart of a godly wife and a dedicated servant of man and God?
When the parade of life is gone, the answer to that question will of the greatest importance.
A praying husband is a blessing
Rebekah was barren. This was a shameful thing. Like her mother in law Sarah, she had to deal with the challenge of infertility.
But her husband Isaac pleaded with God on her behalf.
This here should be considered romantic.
It’s an absolute comfort for a wife to know that her husband shares her burdens in such a way that they become an agenda item when he goes to talk to God.
You can talk to God about every and anything
When Rebekah was confused about what was going on with her pregnancy, she talked to God about it.
Sure, a medical professional was perhaps the best person to consult. And maybe she die so with her version of a doctor or midwife.
But nothing beats talking to God.
His knowledge is way more complete than any medical professional.
And He is concerned about every single aspect of our lives. And He desperately wants to weigh in and speak to us as well.
But God is gentle. He will not force the issue.
We can talk to God about anything. Be it massive or mundane, He’s there for it.
Favoritism in parenting can be very destructive
Rebekah demonstrated favoritism. She preferred Jacob to Esau and this did not seem to be a secret. Jacob was more of a homebody and spent a lot of time with his mother.
Isaac also preferred Esau to Jacob. Esau was an excellent hunter and this endeared him to Isaac.
Because of this favoritism, one can only imagine the problems they had in parenting. The boys were already set at odds with each other.
In fact, when you study the story, there is a hint of massive mistrust among them. This temporarily destroyed the relationship between Jacob and Esau.
When Jacob ran away, he stayed away for 20 years. And she never saw her son again.
The influence of a mother can have terrible consequences for themselves and their children.
Some family traits flow through generations
Rebekah’s manipulative and deceptive tendencies seemed to be a family trait.
She passed it on to her son Jacob. And soon enough Jacob learned that his uncle Laban was just like him and his mother.
We see Laban’s treachery when he switches his daughter’s Leah and Rachel and deceives Jacob.
Seven years earlier, Rebekah had done the very same thing to her own husband.
We do not know whether Isaac and Rebecca had a good marriage but this deception could not have gone well for their union.
How was Isaac going to trust someone who deceived him, especially when he could not see a thing!
Do you know the generational traits which have been running rampant in your life?
If not, it’s time for some deep soul searching and reflection.
Deception yields terrible fruit
Because of the deception that Rebekah allowed Jacob to execute, Esau nearly killed Jacob out of anger.
She ended up sending Jacob away to live with her brother for what she thought would have been a few days.
Well, those few days turned to 20 years. She lost 20 years with her favorite son. She had 20 years of not knowing if he was alive or dead.
Rebekah never saw her beloved son again. By the time Jacob returned home, she had already died.
Why is Rebekah important in the Bible?
Some scholarships say Rebekah represents the bride of Christ, which is the church and Isaac represents Christ himself.
Their coming together is said to symbolize the relationship God wishes to have with his church.
The spiritual meaning of Rebekah
As believers, Rebekah represents us in other ways.
For example, Rebekah was chosen and destined to be the wife of Isaac before she even knew it.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV)
Another is that Rebekah was required to leave everything she knew, everything she was, every false God she worshipped to start a brand new life.
Many people were traveling with Jesus. He said to them, “If you come to me but will not leave your family, you cannot be my follower. You must love me more than your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—even more than your own life! Luke 14:25-26 ERV
Rebekah walked into more wealth and comfort than she left behind. Just like Rebekah, we too have a reward to receive when we choose to leave everything to follow Christ.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29 NIV
The spirit of Rebekah rests in those who choose this path.
Final words on Rebekah in the Bible
As you can see, Rebekah was a human being. Just like you and me. She made her fair share of mistakes. But God showed up in her story and in the lives of her sons as well.
There is no better way to get these lessons into your heart other than doing a Rebekah Bible study.
I recommend that you start by reading all the verses where she is mentioned. Then you can journal your thoughts as you read.
And never forget, God is always interested in you, no matter the condition of your heart.
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