Rebekah’s Mother’s House

“The girl ran and she told these things to her mother’s household.”

(Genesis 24:28)

 

As simple as this verse is on the surface, it is once again a reminder to us of the humanity of all the people involved in this account. This is no fable; it is history. Yet, how often it is that when we read these ancient narratives, we mythologize them by forgetting that those facing these events and speaking these words were flesh and blood human beings just as you and I are. Rebekah had hopes and dreams just like any other young girl of her age and probably one of those dreams was what it would one day be like when she was wedded. Surely the events surrounding the arrival of Eliezer must have been different than anything that she had fantasized about, but how often that is the case when God works in the life of his people.

It is interesting that the narrative describes her as running to her “mother’s house” and not to her “father’s.” There are only three occasions in the Old Testament where this language is used in this way: here, when Naomi instructs Ruth to return to her mother’s household (Ruth 1:8), and then in the Song of Solomon where the Shepherd Girl sings of her love (Song of Solomon 3:4). In contrast, the phrase “father’s household” or “father’s house” is found in 172 verses in the Old Testament alone. We should be careful not to speculate too much as to the choice of language, but later on in this passage we will find Rebekah’s mother playing a significant role (along with her brother) in negotiations regarding the timing of Rebekah’s departure (see verse 55). Perhaps that is an indication as to the influence of the matriarch in the events that would transpire. We should be reminded as well of the manipulations that Rebekah would later engage in with respect to her own two sons and gaining favor for Jacob over Esau. Such may simply have been the only model that she knew. Again, we must be careful not to speculate too far lest we leave the text and pursue the fancies of our imaginations.

All of the pieces of the puzzle have now been laid out on the table and Eliezer is about to meet the rest of Rebekah’s family, including her brother, Laban, but we get ahead of ourselves. Again, do not lose sight of the human-ness of these people. They are not characters in a story told to thrill children and adults alike, but historical people whose lives are intertwined with God’s redemptive plan…as are our lives. May we never lose sight of that great truth.

 

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