MAIN TEXT: GENESIS CHAPTER 24
Rebekah is one of the notable women in the Bible. She is the daughter of Bethuel, Abraham’s nephew. Her grandfather’s name is Nahor. Our discourse will only concern Rebekah as a spinster. She is a role model, a bundle of godly qualities, and a confluence of beauty and virtue. No wonder God graciously conscripted her into the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Miss Rebekah exhibited several virtues that made her a shining star, even in the dark world of single ladies. We shall attempt to highlight some of those sterling attributes that make her stand tall among spinsters.
Abraham had commissioned his eldest servant, Eliezer, to get a bride for his son Isaac. In compliance with Abraham’s instruction, the servant took ten camels and other items needed for the journey. It took Abraham’s servants several days to arrive at Mesopotamia. Bible scholars believe that the distance between Canaan and Mesopotamia is about 500 miles (800km). Traveling through those arid deserts on camels must have made the journey very arduous and tortuous for Eliezer and his team.
Upon their arrival at Mesopotamia, they stopped at a well located at the outskirts. Obviously exhausted and dehydrated, the servant couldn’t help but pray to God for water for him and for the camels.
11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
12 And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
15 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.
16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.
19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.
20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
In answer to Eliezer’s prayer, Rebekah arrived at the well in the nick of time. It was her daily routine to fetch water from the well (see verse 11). The servant ran to Rebekah and asked her for water, and she obliged him without hesitation. She went ahead to fetch water from the well and gave to the ten camels to drink.
It is important for us to note that at this time those camels too were totally dehydrated, having travelled for days and probably weeks without drinking water. A full grown camel can drink up to 200 litres of water in 3 minutes. And Eliezer had ten camels. Miss Rebekah alone fetched about 2, 000 litres of water from a well, not a stream. That to me is a Herculean task for a woman to do. Wells in that part of the world are usually deep. We can confirm this from the discourse Jesus had with the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4 verse 11, when she told Jesus that the well was deep. Rebekah had to draw out about 2, 000 litres of water from a deep well. She was indeed very industrious and full of energy. She was not one of those ladies that will sit back at home and watch their parents, house maids and servants do everything for them. Take note that her family had maids. Some of those maids accompanied her to Canaan. She chose not to be a spoilt child simply because her family had house maids.
Many spinsters today can’t help their parents with the house chores. They cannot go to the market to do routine shopping for the family. If they must go to the market then a special car and an assistant must be provided to accompany them. Aside that, the only time they enjoy going to the market is when they want to their personal shopping, maybe for their wears, makeups, etc.
Miss Rebekah Bethuel carried her pitcher on her shoulder. Her family must have had camels but she didn’t feel oppressed or dehumanized carrying a pitcher of water on her shoulder. She swallowed her feminine pride and glory and willingly surrendered her delicate shoulders to perform a menial task. Rebekah didn’t feel undignified placing a water pitcher on her shoulders. She believed so much that there’s dignity in labour.
It was at Rebekah’s duty post that she met her blessing. Very responsible bachelors need ladies that are hard-working; not those who are too sophisticated and delicate that they can’t even put their hands to the spindle.
CHASTITY AND BEAUTY
“And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.”
Chastity and beauty are almost incompatible in our world today. Several beautiful ladies have sacrificed their chastity on the altar of compromise. Certainly beauty attracts. I believe that Rebekah was one of the most beautiful ladies in her time. She must have had several advances from men. You will recall that several years after her marriage to Isaac, and after she had had her two boys, Esau and Jacob, her beauty was still intact. The men of Philistia saw how beautiful she was and even attempted to bring her to their king, Abimelech, to be one of his wives (Genesis 26:7). Beauty comes with the challenges of having many admirers and suitors. It takes a beautiful lady that is very disciplined, to be able to handle this.
Beauty is a blessing from God, but if not well managed can have several disadvantages. Lucifer and Absalom are typical examples (Ezekiel 28:12-15; 2 Samuel 14:25, 26). Beauty and chastity are meant to be always together like Siamese twins. Every lady born beautiful is also born chaste. However, some ladies defile themselves with various immoral acts. Along life’s way they abandon chastity and only take beauty along. As a beautiful lady with beautiful features and charismas, you can’t stop men from admiring you. But you can stop them from either touching you or drinking from you fountain. Your fountain belongs to your husband.
She’s adorned with vestures of beauty;
Bearing the pitcher of duty,
Securely placed on her seat of glory;
Her fount’s shut up with the zip of chastity;
Her groom finds her starry and flowery;
Gladly he pays a fortune for her dowry.
KINDNESS AND HOSPITALITY
It takes a very kind woman to treat Eliezer like Rebekah did. Eliezer was a stranger to her, yet she was kind and hospitable to him. She may have heard about how her great uncle, Abraham, entertained the Lord and two angels unawares (Genesis 18; Hebrews 13:2). I’m sure in being kind to Abraham’s servant she put on a very attractive smile on her angelic face. Please note that she didn’t do that to attract the man. She was just being her real self. There is no virtue in frowning, neither is it a mark of spirituality.
Rebekah was soft-spoken. Reading through the lines of Genesis 24:19-25, you can almost hear her soft tone audibly. Her beauty and virtue were so loud that Eliezer couldn’t help but wonder (Genesis 24:21). She took them home and told them that her family has enough straw, provender, and rooms for them (Genesis 24:25).
Ladies please learn to be kind and soft-spoken, even to strangers. Learn how to speak like a well cultured lady. When you hear some ladies speak they could be so repulsive because of their abrasive manner of speech. They use base jargons typical of motor park touts and urchins. In being kind to people, sometimes go the extra mile. Don’t do so because you are seeking for a husband, but because it’s your lifestyle.
Miss Rebekah’s beauty didn’t speak of sex, but it spoke of the virtues of a true bride. The beauty that only speaks of sex is coarse, cruel and seductive. If God has blessed you with any type of beauty, I admonish you to surrender your beauty to the cross of Christ for thorough refinement until the beauty of Jesus is truly seen in you.
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
All His wonderful passion and purity
O Thou Spirit divine
All my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”
Rev. Tom Jones.
SUBMISSION TO PARENTAL AUTHORITY
After the servant gave to Rebekah those jewelries and gold (money), she didn’t hide it from her parents. She took both the gifts and the giver to her parents. She wouldn’t accept any gifts without her parents’ consent. This is absolute submission to parental authority. A lady who is submissive to her parents will also be submissive to her husband.
Many ladies today are very secretive to their parents – both biological and spiritual parents. A man gives them money and they lodge it into their bank account or spend it without first showing it to their parents. Some spinsters go out with their male friends to eateries. While there, they eat and drink; and when they return home they pretend as if nothing happened. Before you eat his food, drink his water or accept his money, you must first show him to your parents. This way your value and worth before him will be preserved. Voracity and avarice are vices.
“And the damsel RAN [emphasis mine], and told them of her mother’s house these things.” Genesis 24:28.
Rebekah ran to disclose this to her family. She acted spontaneously. This was her natural inclination – to first disclose to her family any issue about her relationship or marriage. When her brother, Laban, came out, he even saw those items still in her hand. She didn’t go to hide them before coming home like Gehazi did (see 2 Kings 5:22-25). If you want your fiancé to always respect you then you must refrain from any form of gifts until your parents are duly informed. Gifts blind even the eyes of the wise and they can impair one’s sense of reasoning (Deuteronomy 16:19).
ABILITY TO DECIDE
“And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.” Genesis 24:58.
Miss Rebekah knew what she needed and she didn’t hesitate to accept it when she found it. She didn’t ask for time to think or pray about the marriage proposal. She accepted the proposal to marry Isaac there and then. There’s nothing wrong in taking your time to pray or think about a marriage proposal before you give your consent. However, that is only necessary when you have doubts in your mind. Ladies like delaying their consent even when they are sure that the man is their husband. Such ladies think that prompt acceptance of a marriage proposal will make them look cheap to the man. That is not correct. Several spinsters have missed their ideal man just because they don’t want to be seen to be cheap. You must know what you need, and as soon as you find it, and the offer is made, grab it with your two hands. Also you must know what is not the best for you and boldly reject it.
Again, we must note that the marriage proposal was made to Rebekah, and not to the man. It is abnormal and indeed demeaning for a woman to say to a man, “Will you marry me?” A woman is a man meant to be wooed by the man. That is why she is called wo-man. Women don’t woo men; men woo women. A lady who is always cooking food for a young man that is not her husband is trying to woo him. When you as a lady constantly bombard a guy with gifts and romantic text messages, you’re simply asking him by conduct if he will marry you. Don’t be flirtatious. Refrain your feet from that guy. Deliberately make yourself scarce to him. Act in a way that will make him run after you and to seek you as a jewel. A lady is only permitted to spill her love unabashedly on a man that has duly paid the price in winning her love.
Love is like a scale and it should always be at equilibrium; never lopsided. In fact if there be any lopsidedness it should tilt on the man’s side showing that his love is weightier. However, it is the man who must first take the initiative. The woman merely responds. Now this is my opinion: I believe that the love that lasts longer is that which flows from a willing man to an unwilling lady, stirring her heart, eliciting love from a once cold heart, drawing her towards him, and eventually making her to run after him.
“Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers…” Song of Solomon 1:4.
The delegation from Abraham travelled about 500 miles with great treasures to seek a bride for Isaac. That was enough wooing for a lady at that time. It was on that premise that Miss Rebekah accepted the proposal to marry Isaac, and also decided to travel through the same arid desert to meet her husband. Eliezer travelled about 500 miles to seek Rebekah, and Rebekah travelled about 500 miles to meet with her husband. That’s the equilibrium!
“And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.” Genesis 24:61.
If this principle is followed, love will be sustained and the issue of divorce will never be contemplated in our marriages. When both parties recount the various considerations and prices paid to become a couple, they will banish the idea of divorce from their hearts. Miss Rebekah couldn’t imagine travelling a distance of about 500 miles on a camel’s back to her father’s house. She came to abide in Isaac’s house till death did them part. Isaac himself couldn’t imagine sending his wife away when he considered the great price that was paid to marry her.
“For she said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.” Genesis 24:65.
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.”
1 Timothy 2:9.
To be shamefaced means to be modest and shy. This type of modesty and shyness are not products of an inferiority complex, but of humility and meekness. The virtue of shamefacedness is gradually eroding among our Christian ladies. A woman is supposed to have a meek and a quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:1-6). She is not supposed to dress outlandishly or flambouyantly, neither is she to base her beauty on cosmetics or jewelries. The essence of her beauty should be the meekness and shamefacedness in her spirit. These are the virtues that make a woman valuable before God.
“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
1 Peter 3:4.
It is lack of shamefacedness that will make a woman sit astride even before men. It makes a lady to always be in the company of men without any sense of shame. Those ladies who walk on the streets scantily dressed do so because they lack the virtue of shamefacedness.
When Rebekah saw Isaac from a distance she did the following –
- “And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.” Genesis 24:64.
Spontaneously, Rebekah came down from the camel. This is symbolic of humility. Many ladies get into their husbands’ homes still riding on their camels from their fathers’ houses. Camels here speak of class, status or social positions. At the sight of her husband, a woman is expected to alight from any camel she rode on from her father’s house. Unfortunately, some ladies have refused to alight. This is the cause of the personality clashes and frictions in several marriages. Such ladies entered into their matrimonial homes still riding on a camel. The same camel takes them to the bedroom, the sitting room, the kitchen, and even to the toilet. They are riding on a camel while their husbands walk on foot. But not so for Miss Rebekah Bethuel. She came down from her camel. Rebekah did something else…
- She took a veil and covered herself.
“For she said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself” (Genesis 24:65).
This is a typical example of a shamefaced lady. She veiled herself and waited till her husband unveiled her. Rebekah’s action further teaches us submission to the husband. When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 11, he didn’t write to them to just establish the dogma of head covering, but his aim was to make them understand the godly doctrine of authority and submission in the home and the church. Paul said that the head of every woman is the man; and that any woman performing any spiritual function with her head uncovered dishonours her head (her husband). This simply means that beyond the covering of her head with a veil, the woman should bring her head under her husband, no matter how high or tall she may be. Submit your head to your husband and get covered. Every woman needs to have a man as an authority figure over her head. Your husband has been ordained by God to be that authority figure. As a single, your father or guardian may have played that role. God expects the woman to descend from her camel, bow her head in submission, and allow her husband to cover her.
“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power over her head because of the angels” (1 Corinthians 11:9, 10).
This study is not meant to be an exhaustive study on the subject of submission in the home. However, we must note that Rebekah, at the sight of her husband came down from her lofty camel and covered her face in shamefacedness and submission.