Rebekah Character Bible Study Background and Lessons
Character Study Key Verse
Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 1 Cor 10:6
Character’s Name: Rebekah
Meaning of Name: To tie, to secure, to bind
Her Ancestry and Family Life: She was Abraham’s great niece; granddaughter of his brother Nahor. Her father was Bethual. Sister of Laban.
When and Where She Lived: She was Aramean from Padan Aram around 1700 BC
Her Occupation: Shepherdess first, then wife and mother
Place in History: She was the wife of one of the patriarchs of Israel.
Took money for service (24:30)
Practiced favoritism between her children (25:28)
Poor mothering skills (26:34). Her children were irresponsible, liars, and married unbelievers, among other things
Rash in speech (27:13)
Unsubmissive and disrespectful to husband to get her way (27:6-12)
Wise in her own eyes. She thought she knew what was best to the point that she caused her son to sin to get it.
Servant’s heart 24:19
Wholehearted 24:19 (Draw water until the camels are finished drinking)
Important Acts and Events:
Gave water to Abraham’s servant and his camels, thus sealing her place as Isaac’s bride
Gave birth to twins
Manipulated to have Jacob receive blessing
Lessons from Her Life:
Chapter 24 – Rebekah was not looking for a husband, as far as we know. She was just doing her daily tasks when suddenly, God arranged a marriage for her. God is able to provide life partners in unexpected and quick ways, when His timing is fulfilled.
Gen. 24:15-20 – Servanthood is not just doing what we are asked to do- but going above and beyond to serve in ways that are difficult and take us time and effort.
Gen. 24:55 – When we know God is calling us to do something, we should do it without delay if we can. This is the same sort of excuse given for not following Jesus – “let us stay to bury our dead”.
Gen. 25:21 – Children are gifts from God, given at His discretion and in His timing.
Gen. 25:28 and following – When parents prefer one child to another, nothing good will come of it. It promotes jealousy and a competitive spirit between the kids.
Gen. 27 – God had already promised to make Jacob more important than Esau. Rebekah manipulated to make it happen and though she got her wish, she created strife between her sons to the point where one wanted to kill the other. She never got to see her favored son again. This is another instance of using sinful means to try to “help God” keep His promises. The results are never pretty. When God says He will do a thing, wait for Him to do it His way in His time.
Gen. 28 – Notice again how easily Rebekah influenced her husband to send Jacob away. We really do influence our husbands so must be careful! She also influenced her sons to do evil- Jacob by encouraging him to defy his father out of greed and Esau by criticizing his wives in order to manipulate her husband to send Jacob away- which made Esau sinfully marry another wife.
Women- we should be VERY careful to set an example for our children of how to respectfully submit to their fathers. When we are unsubmissive we are giving our children permission to be disobedient.
Things went well for Isaac and Rebekah when they were looking to the Lord, but when they turned to sinfulness, manipulation, preferential treatment of children their lives fell apart.
Good characteristics and bad characteristics can be closely related. Rebekah showed initiative in offering to water the camels. That was good! But then she also showed initiative in talking Jacob into deceiving his father. We need to be sure not to use strengths God has given us to sin.
It is not good to do a bad thing to accomplish a good thing. God does not desire us to sin, ever. If He wants to make a good thing happen, He can do it without us.