Rebekah Chooses to Go
“They said, ‘Let us call the young woman and ask her.’ And they called Rebekah and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ She said, ‘I will go’”
- Genesis 24:50–59
Divine providence has smiled upon the servant commissioned to find a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24:1–9). His prayer for a noble, industrious woman to reveal herself has been answered (vv. 10–21), and Rebekah’s family has offered the servant food and lodging (vv. 22–33a). Resting in the security of God’s presence, Abraham’s servant explains the turn of events that brought him to the city of Nahor in hope that Rebekah will return with him to Canaan (vv. 33b–49). Now we are waiting to see if the family will do as the servant has asked them to do.
In today’s passage, Rebekah’s brother Laban and her father Bethuel agree that the Lord has chosen her to be Isaac’s wife. Though these men mix the worship of Yahweh with devotion to false gods (31:19), they cannot deny the Almighty’s leading in the servant’s task. “We cannot speak to you bad or good” literally translates a figure of speech meaning “we cannot contradict anything you say.” Therefore, they immediately agree to the marriage (24:50–51). In his commentary on this passage, John Calvin applies this scene to us. If idolaters can “acknowledge it to be unlawful for them to swerve from his [God’s] will, how much more prompt ought our obedience to be?”
A pious man, Abraham’s servant thanks God for this outcome (v. 52). Though he was called to take initiative wisely, he knows that only the Lord enabled him to speak words that persuaded Rebekah’s kin to release her to marry Isaac (Prov. 16:1). The bride price is negotiated following the prayer. As the bridegroom’s family typically paid money to the bride’s parents in the ancient Near East, Abraham’s servant gives costly jewelry to Laban and his mother (Gen. 24:53). Her father is conspicuously absent from the negotiations, perhaps because he was head of the household in name only.
The following day, the servant’s plan hits a bump in the road when Laban and his mother ask for Rebekah not to leave right away. Both families cannot agree on this, and so they bring Rebekah forward to decide who she will side with (vv. 54–57). Rebekah chooses wisely and goes out from her family to Canaan (24:58–59), much as Abraham did in 12:1–9, thereby showing that she is a woman of faith.
Moses’ original audience, those Israelites redeemed from slavery in Egypt, faced a choice. Would they go into the great unknown with Moses, whom God clearly selected to be their leader, or would they stay in Egypt, the land they knew? Like Rebekah, they were called to trust in the Lord for their future and go, not worrying about the unknown. Christ calls us to do the same. If fear has kept you from obeying His call, repent today and do the work He has given you.
Passages for Further Study
- Ruth 1:1–18
- Psalms 37:5; 44
- Jeremiah 17:5–8
- Matthew 14:22–33