For three years Sarah ’s tent remained vacant. [4] Some critical biblical scholars solve this problem by suggesting that בן, “son of” in 29:5 really means “descendent of.” For example, the British scholar S. R. Driver (1846-1914), Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, notes other cases where son, בן, means grandson: “Son.” i.e. 1). Rebekah Her life, personality, and legacy is intricately and irretrievably woven within the fabric around the Bible’s most extraordinary men: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Some medieval Jewish commentators already proposed this solution. He became Betuel’s son only secondarily. Israel, as we know it… All of these texts agree that Betuel is the father of Rebekah and Laban. Where else in the Bible do we hear such a cumbersome lineage? [5] More specifically, the text which refers to Rebekah as the daughter of Betuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram is the Priestly text (P). Even when Rebekah was barren, Isaac stayed with her and prayed for her. According to biblical tradition, Rebecca's father was Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram, also called Aram-Naharaim. He was Isaac’s cousin, and later he became Isaac’s brother-in-law after Rebecca’s marriage. Rebekah was Isaac's wife and Jacob and Esau's mother. In the MT, the word is plural “brothers” (אֲחֵי) and is likely meant to convey the vaguer concept “kinsmen,” since Rebekah is clearly not the daughter of Abraham’s “brothers” (in plural). [7] The genealogy here continues with four more sons born to Nahor from his concubine: [8] Tzemah Yoreh identifies this text as coming from what he calls the Bridger; a late redactional layer that smooths over rough spots in the text. Brother Schuyler Colfax, U.S. Vice President from 1869 to 1873, was the force behind the movement. This was way before the United States government allowed women to vote or run for public office. Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. For almost twenty years she struggled with bareness and finally at… This same lineage was also mentioned earlier when the text introduces the reader to Rebekah (v. 15), and is repeated by the servant when he retells this story (v. 47). “Birth of Jacob and Esau” by Benjamin West (1738-1820) Genesis 25: 2o-26 Mother of Esau and Jacob Rebekah’s birth story is unique because she is the first women we know of who sought out God and asked him for direct revelation concerning her pregnancy. Esau was born first, and he was Isaac’s favorite son (Genesis 25:28). Rebecca bore two sons, Esau and Jacob. Don’t miss the latest essays from TheTorah.com. In addition to academic training, Zev holds ordination (yoreh yoreh) and advanced ordination (yadin yadin) from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) Rabbinical School. Genesis 24:15,24,47 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder…. On September 20, 1851, I.O.O.F. He can be found on the Bible Timeline around 1829 BC. It is written, "For this was how the promise was stated: 'At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.' The other place where the redactor made adjustments is in the story of the finding of Rebekah, which is from J and would originally have featured Nahor and not Betuel as her father. This (and the second answer of Nachmanides) explains why Jacob was so affected by her passing. Isaac himself was completely immersed in the study and in the service of G‑d.It was obvious to Abraham that he could not … An Analysis of Lavan and Rebekah’s Genealogy,” TheTorah.com (2014). Eliezer ’s Mission. As he was praying, Rebekah came, gave the servant … Yet it is Rebekah herself who is chosen as God’s instrument, ensuring that His protection and blessings are bestowed upon Jacob and the nation of Israel. Thus, it is understandable that the lineage would include her father and her grandfather, since the latter is Abraham’s brother. Imagine Eliezer telling his story as Rebekah’s father, Bethuel, as well as her brother Laban, listened with rapt attention. Some readers have accused both Isaac and Rebekah of equal fault in favoring their sons (Esau and Jacob respectively; Gen 27:1-10). Rebekah is brought from her family to Isaac, who finds comfort in her after… Something went wrong while submitting the form. This is clear from the fact that it references Aram—the eponymous ancestor of the Arameans—as the son of Kemuel and thus Nahor’s grandson and Betuel’s nepew. He is the author of Images of Joshua in the Bible and their Reception (De Gruyter 2016) and editor (with Jacob L. Wright) of Archaeology and History of Eighth Century Judah (SBL 2018). Bethuel (Hebrew: בְּתוּאֵל ‎ – Bəṯūʾēl, “house of God”), in the Hebrew Bible, was an Aramean man, the youngest son of Nahor and Milcah, the nephew of Abraham, and the father of Laban and Rebecca.. Bethuel was also a town in the territory of the tribe of Simeon, west of the Dead Sea. Rebecca and Isaac were one of the four couples that some believe are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs, the other three being Adam and Eve, Abraha… He told Esau that he wished to bestow his blessing upon him before he died. v. 1 (see Zech. Summary Abraham sends his servant to his relatives in Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son Isaac. Have you only one blessing, my father? // Javascript URL redirection Please consider supporting TheTorah.com. But why include her grandmother? Hebrew-English Text I. script type="text/javascript"> See discussion in Zev Farber and Daniel M. Zucker, “Rebekah Ran to her “Mother’s Household”: Where Was her Father?” TheTorah.com (2017). It seems so cruel what Jacob did. In addition to these eight sons from Milcah, English Standard Version. We are first introduced to Rebekah in a passage that comes immediately after the story of the Akedah: This genealogy makes Nahor the father of Betuel and the grandfather of Rebekah, thus connecting the father in P (Betuel) with the father in J (Nahor) and putting Rebekah squarely into Abraham’s family. In fact, this awkward syntax is glossed over in many English translation (e.g., NJPS, NRSV), by putting the genealogy immediately after her name is mentioned. Why this unusual and cumbersome introduction? 5), and grandson of Nahor (xxii. When Rebekah is first introduced, the verse says (24:15): As noted above, the introduction is long and cumbersome. It is only in the combined and redacted Pentateuch text that we find both traditions combined into one extensive and cumbersome genealogy in which Rebekah is both the daughter of Betuel, the granddaughter of Nahor and Milkah, and a cousin of Isaac. (Both commentaries were published the same year.) Issac loved Rebekah. from Hebrew University in Jewish History (biblical period focus). E – Eleazar, Rebekah’s Father April 6, 2015 by diannegsagan 4 Comments In a continuation of the discussion about my book, Rebekah Redeemed, I’d like you to meet Rebekah’s father Eleazar. Oops! Rebekah first watered the camels of Abraham's servant who was sent to find a bride for his son Issac. The story of Isacc and Rebekah is very different from Abraham and Sarah. At no time does Abraham say that his servant should specifically look for a member of his family,[3]but fortuitously Rebekah, the woman Abraham’s servant chooses, is from this clan: This is a very strange answer. Later in Genesis, however, Nahor is presented as Laban’s father. [1] This piece is an expanded version of an older archived piece, “Was Betuel Lavan’s Father? “Rebekah Ran to her “Mother’s Household”: Where Was her Father?”. See Tzemah Yoreh, Genesis: Israel’s Origins (Kernel to Canon; Modern Scriptures, 2014), 188-189. (Bethuel fathered Rebekah.) Isaac's bride should be properly attired. Academic Study of the Torah Is Essential, Not Just for Academics, Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship, By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use, https://thetorah.com/article/who-was-rebekahs-father, “I am the daughter of Betuel the son of Milkah, whom she bore to Nahor” (Gen 24:24) – Why the unusual and cumbersome genealogical description?[1]. While the Church traditionally recognizes the … The parents of the foster father of Jesus raised a "just man," who would guard the Savior of the world. Isaac favors the elder son (25:25; 27:4), but the whole patriarchal line suggests that God A Wife for Isaac: From Abraham’s Hometown or Family? When the servant found Rebekah, he made the purpose of his visit known, and she ran and told her father’s household the news. Although other suggestions have been floated with regard to J’s conception of Rebekah’s parentage, Gunkel and Skinner’s suggestion remains the most persuasive. Laban was also the father-in-law and uncle to Jacob through marriage to Leah and Rachel. More telling, is the servant’s reaction when he finds out who Rebekah is, and refers to her as the daughter of his master’s brother: In the LXX and SP, the word “brother” is in singular (אֲחִי); this fits a story where Rebekah is Nahor’s daughter, since Nahor is Abraham’s brother. Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. Rebecca appears in the Hebrew Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. (Genesis 27:34)” You can almost hear his despair, can’t you? Esau became the father of the Edomites, who warred against Israel for ages and were finally wiped out (Obadiah 1:1–21). Rebecca was the daughter of Bethuel, the great-niece of Abraham, and the sister of Laban. [9] The placement of Aram as Kemuel’s son also contradicts the genealogy of Gen 10:22-23 in which Aram is the son of Shem, which would make him many generations earlier than Nahor or Kemuel. No doubt Rebekah was now dead, and this old nurse, who had come with her into Canaan, (Genesis 24:59,) and had tarried with her while she lived, was, after her death, taken into Jacob’s family, … New Living Translation. But even with the best medical care and over an hour of doctors trying everything possible, my father died. 22). See, Hermann Gunkel, Genesis (trans. When Isaac tells Jacob to go to Paddan Aram, he tells him to go to the house of “Laban son of Betuel.” If Isaac did not know that Laban preferred to be called “son of Nahor,” how could Jacob have known? The younger Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite. Betuel is mentioned again in a similar way when Isaac sends Jacob off to marry one of Laban’s daughters: Again, we hear that Betuel is Rebekah’s father, but nothing about his being the son of Nahor or Milkah or related in any way to Isaac and Abraham. [8], The list was probably not created out of whole cloth by the editor, but borrowed from somewhere else and adapted to its current context. However, over time, she had the courage and strength from heaven to believe that "God in His great mercy decides what is best for each one." Genesis 25:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. (Gen 25:21) She then conceived twins. i. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. Despite the awkward syntax, I am unconvinced that the entire genealogy was added here as it is important to the story. (NIV) Genesis 27:14-17 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. Isaac and Rebekah maintained a monogamous relationship. She was also the sister of Laban and the aunt of Jacob's future wives: Rachel and Leah. Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died — It appears, on computation, that this event took place not less than a hundred and twenty-five years after Rebekah’s marriage with Isaac. He holds a Ph.D. from Emory University in Jewish Religious Cultures (Hebrew Bible focus) and an M.A. [2] Similarly, the promise that Abraham’s seed will receive the land comes almost immediately after, once Abraham enters the land and begins to traverse it: [3] For discussion of this point, see Martin Lockshin, “A Wife for Isaac: From Abraham’s Hometown or Family?” TheTorah.com (2015). This was Rebecca’s teacher. Her brother Laban came out to welcome the servant and invited him to stay with them. See, John Skinner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis, 2nd Edition (International Critical Commentary; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1930 [1910]), 343. Then Esau comes home and brings his catch to Isaac so he could be blessed only to find that his father had already blessed someone else. Yahweh provides the servant with a sign by sending Rebekah to give him and his ten camels water to drink. For example, when the servant heads to Abraham’s home town, the text states that he was headed to “the city of Nahor” (v. 10), not the city of Betuel. She later became pregnant with twins, Jacob and Esau. 22:23 —Betuel being the father of Rebekah. TheTorah.com is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.We rely on the support of readers like you. Deborah helped her stand strong and pious in the face of immorality and deprivation. Isaac prayed for Rebekah because she was barren. In that genealogy, Aram is also the father of Uz, whereas in Gen 22, Uz is his father’s older brother. P is also consistent, she is the daughter of Betuel the Aramean and not related to Abraham at all. The servant came to a well and prayed that the next young woman who came to the well and gave him water would be Isaac's wife. 20 (see v. 14), ‘Zechariah, son of Iddo,’ Ezr. [10] Yoreh suggests a slightly different redaction here, namely that the entire genealogy here was added later, noting that the genealogy comes awkwardly after the verb. The inside of their cozy barn was ablaze. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her.. Then Isaac Married Rebekah and produced Esau and Jacob. In Genesis, Isaac's father, Abraham had been looking for a wife for his son Isaac. With regard to the editing of vv. New International Version. Some other verses in this story also suggest that Nahor is the father of Laban and Rebekah. Milkah bore these eight sons to Abraham's brother Nahor. became the first fraternity in the United States to accept women when it adopted the Degree of Rebekah. Salvation by the promise of God is not according to man's works, but according to God's election. This genealogical disparity did not go unnoticed by the Torah’s redactors, who tried to solve the problem by both adding genealogies and revising already existent ones. 24 and 47, my suggestions agree with Yoreh’s. Their father did not know that Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob, so he asked Esau to go out into the fields and bring him some meat for supper. The yoke her father had hewn by hand as a boy was charred, hanging on a blackened beam. Today we meet another figure with a prominent role in the history of God’s people. For example, Ramban (1194-1270), in his commentary (ad loc.) [6] We do not know how Isaac found Rebekah according to this version, as it has no “finding of Rebekah” story. Conjunctive waw | Noun - proper - masculine singular, Bethuel -- perhaps 'man of God', a nephew of Abraham, Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular, To bear young, to beget, medically, to act as midwife, to show lineage, Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person feminine singular, Abraham -- 'exalted father', the father of the Jewish nation, Preposition-l | Noun - proper - masculine singular, OT Law: Genesis 22:23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah (Gen. Ge Gn). Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father… Instead, according to the original tradition in J, even in Gen 24, Laban is Nahor’s son. He told them that Jehovah had blessed Abraham greatly in Canaan and that Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, who was to inherit everything. But in context of the entire book of Genesis, the motives of the two parents are quite different. Their arranged marriage is a fairytale of divine ordination. Launched Shavuot 5773 / 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS, All Rights Reserved. The only important fact about Rebekah is that she is from Abraham’s family. [11] The reference to Betuel in 24:50 is also likely redactional, and in any case, causes an enormous narrative problem. Betuel, Rebekah’s father, mysteriously appears and disappears in the negotiations over Rebekah’s marriage. Abraham, advanced in years and blessed with wealth, charges his servant with finding a wife from outside the local Canaanite families, for Isaac: After the servant asks what to do if the woman prefers that Isaac move to her land instead, Abraham warns the servant never to bring Isaac out of Canaan, but reassures him that the plan will work: Abraham’s reference to YHWH taking him out of his homeland, his birth place, and his father’s house harkens back to the first command Abraham received from YHWH in the opening of the Abraham narrative: Abraham does not name this homeland when speaking with the servant, but the text tells us soon after that the land is called Aram-naharayim: The city is here referred to incidentally, as the city of Nahor, who is Abraham’s brother. | Dr. Abraham was eager to have Isaac marry a woman of the character and stature of Sarah. He is a shepherd who tends flocks with his cousins in the fields near Bethlehem. Rebekah (Rebecca) was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. Isaac & Rebekah: The Fairytale Romance. Genesis 28:2,5 Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother…, Genesis 24:51,60,67 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken…. Esau cries out in anguish, “Bless me—me also, O my father! Rebekah (Heb. Rabbi Zev Farber is a fellow at Project TABS and editor of TheTorah.com. Not only does she mention her father (Betuel), and her grandfather (Nahor), but even her grandmother (Milkah)! Rebekah later became the mother of Jacob and Esau … In this text, Betuel is not the son of Nahor or Isaac’s cousin.[6]. רִבְקָה) was the wife of Isaac, daughter of Bethuel, and granddaughter of Nahor, a brother of Abraham (Gen. 22:23; 24:15, 24, 47).Rebekah is also described as he sister of Laban (24:29, 50; 25:20).When Abraham sought a wife for his son, he sent his servant to his homeland, Aram-Naharaim, for he wanted to avoid marriage with the Canaanites. See his analysis of the revisions in this chapter (which he again attributes to Bridger) in Yoreh, Genesis, 204-211. So in ‘Jehu, son of Nimshi,’ 2 K. ix. Thankfully, Isaac was a different man from his fabled father. Samuel R. Driver, The Book of Genesis with Introduction and Notes (London: Methuan, 1916), 269. He sent his servant to the city of Nahor to find her. But in both J and P, Rebekah’s father lives among the Arameans, or is himself an Aramean, implying they were already a people![9]. Once we realize that in the original J story, her father was Nahor and not Betuel, the explanation for this cumbersome phrase becomes clear: a much shorter J genealogy was supplemented here to comport with P. The redactional supplement that accomplishes this is noted in italics: A similar redactional addition is found when Rebekah tells Abraham’s servant who she is (24:24), and when the servant repeats the story to Laban and Rebekah’s mother: When these redactions are removed, we are left with a simple and consistent J text, in which Rebekah is the daughter of Nahor, and thus Isaac’s cousin.[11]. [This article continues after… But Laban does not share Jacob’s faith (Gen. 29:1–30; 31:2), and not surprisingly, he gives God’s chosen man much grief. descendant, Laban being in reality son of Bethuel (xxviii. You could say my mother's prayer was not answered. [7] This genealogy makes Nahor the father of Betuel and the grandfather of Rebekah, thus connecting the father in P (Betuel) with the father in J (Nahor) and putting Rebekah squarely into Abraham’s family. Gloom and loneliness prevailed where light and life had been pulsing before, as long as Sarah had lived. This is narrated when Jacob runs away to Laban’s city to escape Esau and goes to the well and speaks the local shepherds: In this text, not only is Laban’s father Nahor rather than Betuel,[4] but the name of the city is Haran, not Padan-aram. [5] This was suggested more than a century ago by the German Bible scholar Hermann Gunkel (1862-1932), when explaining why Jacob calls Laban “Nahor’s son”: בן is not to be taken in the broader sense of “grandson” here. As the father of Leah and Rachel, the mothers of the twelve tribes of Israel, Laban has blood ties to the people of the Lord. Romans 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; These eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. Abraham had sent his trusted servant back to his home country to find a wife for Isaac among his relatives (Genesis 24:2–4). Previously, God promised Abraham He would be the father of a great nation and the only way to pass this down was through Abraham’s son, Isaac In the J stories, however, Rebekah is the daughter of Abraham’s brother Nahor, who lives in the city of Haran in the land of Aram-naharayim. Rebekah then left her home with the servant and married Isaac. Mark E. Biddle; Mercer Library of Biblical Studies; Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1997 [German ed., 1910]), 317. Rebekah is the second daughter of Mikael and Esther, wealthy land owners from the Kingdom of Norway in the 10th century. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. Thus, it seems likely that the MT’s pointing is an attempt to avoid the implication that Rebekah is Nahor’s daughter. When Rebecca was a young girl living in an immoral society with her deceitful father and brother, she had a support system. notes: This answer is problematic. Laban was the son of Bethuel and Milcah and brother to Rebecca. THE REBEKAHS. Isaac relied on his father to select a bride for him when he was 40 years old. Piles of the sweet-smelling hay, where Rebekah had hidden from her brothers on lazy fall afternoons, were engulfed by the roaring, ravenous flames. His contemporary, the British Bible scholar John Skinner (1851-1925) makes the same suggestion: [T]here is a considerable probability that the original J made Laban and Rebekah the children of Nahôr. This very detailed lineage in Genesis 24 contrasts starkly with the description of Rebekah’s family in Genesis 25: In this text, Rebekah is merely the daughter Betuel the Aramean and the sister of Laban. The gifts to Rebekah, partly, were to make her appearance befitting someone of such stature in their area. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. The text was likely added by a redactor for exactly this purpose. Please support us. Bethuel was also related to Abraham through his parents Nahor and Milcah. Dr. script>, Joshua Circumcises Israel in Response to Egypt's Scorn, The Mitzvah to Love God: Shadal's Polemic against the Philosophical Interpretation, Torat Emet: The Intertwined Tree of Torah and Wisdom. Rebecca's brother was Laban the Aramean, and she was the granddaughter of Milcah and Nahor, the brother of Abraham. Bethuel the Syrian, Rebecca’s Father 1804 BC Bethuel the Syrian was the father of Laban and more importantly, Rebecca. Genesis 24:59 So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. Rebecca became the wife of Isaac, who was the promised son of Abraham and Sarah. 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With his cousins in the history of God ’ s marriage became the wife of Isaac, who warred Israel. Where light and life had been looking for a wife for Isaac: from Abraham ’ s Origins ( to..., listened with rapt attention 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS and editor of.! Father? ” different man from his fabled father and brother, she is from Abraham ’ s Farber. Would include her father had hewn by hand as a boy was charred, hanging on a blackened.., Rebecca his relatives ( Genesis 27:34 ) ” you can almost hear his despair, can ’ t the. Parents Nahor and Milcah older archived piece, “ Bless me—me also, O my father causes enormous... Brother Schuyler Colfax, U.S. Vice President from 1869 to 1873, was the force the. Brother of Abraham and Sarah man 's works, but according to biblical tradition Rebecca... Of an older archived piece, “ was Betuel Lavan ’ s cousin, and the line of became... Example, Ramban ( 1194-1270 ), 269 even in Gen 24, being. 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To her senses some other verses in this story also suggest that Nahor is presented as Laban ’ s nurse. Else in the history of God ’ s father find a wife for Isaac among his (...