Behold the Woman Yahweh has Assigned

“Behold, I am standing by the spring of water. Let the virgin who comes out to draw, to whom I say, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jar,’ and who will say to me, ‘Not only shall you drink, but I will also draw for your camels.’ Let her be the woman which Yahweh has assigned for the son of my lord.”

(Genesis 24:43-44)

 

This is the first use of the term “virgin” in the text of our story. She has been called a girl and a young woman previously, but here in her father’s household, the language changes slightly, perhaps as a sign of respect. It should be noted that it is this same term that is used in Isaiah 7:14 when the prophesy of Christ was made that a virgin shall give birth. Sometimes people will debate the Isaiah prophesy and choose to render the Hebrew word hDmVlAo (almah) as “maiden” or simply as “young girl.” While the range of meaning for this word allows for such a translation to be given, it should be noted that in the ancient culture, it was assumed that young girls would also be virgins. More importantly, the context of both this passage and the passage in Isaiah implies that something more than a young girl is at question, but that she is a young girl, eligible for marriage, and whose womb had not yet been opened. Virgin is a much better choice in English because that is what the Hebrew is implying. In our passage, everything about this discussion circulates around the question of marriage; Rebekah is being presented as one ready to take that step and be joined in marriage to Isaac.

Note also the emphasis in these verses on the sovereignty of God. It is God who is assigning this woman to be Isaac’s bride and it is God who has led Rebekah to Eliezer in the first place. There are no schemes of men involved; God has done the appointing since before the creation of the earth. Not only is this statement a statement of giving honor to God, but it is a statement that reflects the trust that Abraham’s servant had in God. How often we fail to follow his model.

Loved ones, let us never neglect to take notice that God is sovereign over all of his creation…that means you and me as well. He has ordained; He has appointed; He has governed; and He has chosen all of these events. That does not mean that we are robots, but it does mean that when things go well it is God who ought to get the credit, not us. And it means that when things go poorly, God is teaching (or sometimes rebuking) us. In the end, it is God that is glorified and we are to be servants in his world. Yet, is that how those who know you best would describe you? As a servant of God rather than being a servant of self? Beloved, may we repent where we have gone astray and recommit our lives towards the service of God and of God alone and let God provide those things that we need to get us through the day.

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