In many societies, marriage between cousins is preferred. Here, Abraham’s faithful servant meets Rebekah, the daughter of Isaac’s cousin, Bethuel, and arranges for her to marry Isaac. Like several other stories in Scripture, much of the action takes place at a village well.
- READ: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 (Year A Proper 9)
Abraham’s trusted servant addressed Rebekah’s family, saying, “I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father’s house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.’
“I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, “Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,” and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also” —let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’
“Before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her water jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels. Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I know which way to turn.”
They called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.” So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “May you, our sister, become the mother of millions; may your offspring gain possession of the gates of their foes.” Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.
Now Isaac was living in the southern part of Canaan, near a waterhole called ‘The Eye of God’. One evening, he went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So Rebekah took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. (Genesis 24:38-38, 42-49, 58-67)
- REFLECT: What image, word or phrase jumps out? What surprises you? What makes you smile?
- RELATE: Adults, when did you leave home? How did you meet your partner? How has your relationship been a gift? Or, if your relationship has broken down, can you talk with your kids about it? Kids, what do you hope for when you leave home? What might you look for in a relationship? Perhaps you can pray as a household, about past, present, and future relationships.
- RESPOND: Is God calling you to any practical response now? Pray about it, then act.
- REPORT: If you or your household do take action, text or email a photo of that action to Sanctuary with a brief explanation. We can use it during the service or, with your permission, add it to the Facebook page.
- RELAX: How about Out (PG)? It’s a short on Disney Plus, and provides a gentle introduction to coming out. It might pave the way to an interesting conversation. Or, if that makes you choke on your cornflakes, I’m sure you can find a heterosexual movie among the millions available. For adults and older children, make a curry, put on your brightest clothing and watch Bride & Prejudice. It’s a Bollywood interpretation of Pride & Prejudice, with arranged marriages, unsuccessful attempts at arranged marriage, unsuccessful love matches, and successful love marriages: lots to talk about!
Cartalk / Tabletalk © Sanctuary, 2020. Year A Proper 9. Image credit: Marcus Lewis on Unsplash.
Cartalk / Tabletalk
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