On Being Part of Abraham’s Family.
As the weekly Torah portions move into the 23-25 chapters of Genesis, Abraham’s family begins to expand. The passage begins with the death of Sarah, who with her husband heeded the call of God and left her family and pagan background for an unknown destination. Sometime after, a faithful servant of Abraham’s, unnamed but thought to be Eliezer, was instructed to find the right bride for Isaac from Abraham’s kinsmen. It is interesting to note that the first recorded prayer for guidance in the Bible was prayed by this Godly servant after arriving at the well outside the city of Nahor. His prayer included a set of ‘code words’ – like a spy making sure his contact is the right one! His total trust in the LORD to guide him is a beautiful lesson for us.
When Rebecca appears, he asks her for water to drink and going beyond his request, she offers to draw water for his ten camels, requiring a lot of water. Her response told the servant – here is Isaac’s wife.
Genesis 24:15 says Rebecca is carrying a pitcher on her shoulder demonstrating the exactness of the Bible. Because the women in Mesopotamia as well as Syria (Aram) carried their water jar this way, while in Canaan, and most other parts of the Middle East, the jar was balanced on their head.
It was fitting that Rebecca become the second matriarch for God’s set apart family who were to be His channel of Redemption for the world. She displayed wonderful kindness to a stranger despite coming from a family whose greed and deceptiveness becomes apparent in later narratives. Kindness is usually translated from the Hebrew word khesed, which denotes mercy as well and is part of the character of God, “For His merciful kindness is great toward us…” Psalm 117:2. This attribute of khesed is incredibly important for the follower of the God of Israel as seen in scripture and emphasised in Jewish teaching. It is one of the necessary characteristics that the new gentile believers are encouraged to acquire in Colossians 3:12, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”
ICEJ Australia National Director