Isaac – A Marriage Made in Heaven
by John C. Westervelt
Abraham’s senior servant Eliezer was in charge of all of Abraham’s possessions. Abraham called this trusted friend into his tent and said, “I want you to go to my homeland in Mesopotamia and find a wife for Isaac, for he must not marry a Canaanite. Furthermore, Isaac is not to go with you.”
Eliezer took ten camels loaded with gifts and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor near Haran where Abraham lived before moving to Canaan. At the end of the five hundred mile journey, Eliezer made the camels kneel down by the spring just outside the city. The evening sky, which was a mix of blue, red, and orange, highlighted the women coming out from the city to fill water jugs at the spring.
Eliezer prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, may the woman who offers water to me and my camels be the one whom You have chosen as a wife for Isaac.”
As Eliezer finished praying, Rebekah came by with a jar on her shoulder. Her dark hair bounced in loose curls, framing a warm smile and sparkling, brown eyes. She went to the spring and filled her jug. As she returned, Eliezer asked, “May I have a drink?”
Rebekah lowered the heavy jug and answered, “Yes, and let me draw water for your camels.”
After the camels had drunk their fill, Eliezer asked, “Whose daughter are you?”
Rebekah explained, “My brother Laban and I are the children of Bethuel. Bethuel is the son of Nahor and his wife Milcah.”
When Eliezer heard the name Nahor, he stood there for a moment with head bowed, worshiping Jehovah, “Thank you, Lord God of my master Abraham, for leading me to my master’s relatives.”
Eliezer knew that Nahor was Abraham’s brother, so he placed a ring and two gold bracelets on Rebekah. Then he asked if he could stay at her family’s home. She said, “We have plenty of room. I’ll go tell my mother’s household about your request.”
Rebekah’s brother Laban soon appeared to take Eliezer, his men, and his camels home with him. After shared hospitalities, Eliezer told how the Lord had led him to Rebekah and asked that she go with him to Canaan to become the wife of Abraham’s son Isaac. Bethuel and Laban, seeing that the proposed marriage was of the Lord, agreed that Rebekah could go. The next morning Laban said, “Her mother would like to have her daughter with her for ten more days.”
When Eliezer explained that he could not delay, Laban said he would have his mother talk to her daughter. Rebekah told her mother that she was ready to go, so the family all agreed. Rebekah and her maids said goodbye, found places on the camels, and rode south on the road to Canaan with Eliezer.
When the caravan arrived in southern Canaan, they came upon a lone man in a field walking toward them. With a nod from Eliezer, Rebekah dismounted, drew her veil about her face, and walked briskly to close the distance more quickly to the one she would come to love. The marriage, consummated on earth, was made in heaven.
Isaac was forty on his wedding day. Twenty years had passed, and Isaac was still praying on behalf of Rebekah because she was barren. His latest prayer was answered with the birth of Esau followed by his twin brother Jacob. As they grew, Esau, a hunter, became a favorite of his father, and Jacob, a peaceful man, was more loved by his mother.
One day an impulsive Esau came in from the field feeling famished. Overwhelmed by the aroma of the red lentil stew that Jacob was cooking, Esau traded his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.
When Isaac was old, almost blind, and near death, he called Esau into his tent and said, “Take your bow and arrows, hunt some game, and prepare me a meal so that my soul may bless you before I die.”
Rebekah was listening while Isaac was speaking to Esau. She concocted a devious scheme for Jacob to be blessed in Esau’s place. She sent Jacob to the flock to get two choice kids, which she used to prepare a savory dish for Isaac. After dressing Jacob in Esau’s clothes, she put the skins of the two young goats on his hands and neck, for Esau was a hairy man, and Jacob had smooth skin.
Jacob went to his father saying, “I am Esau your first-born. Eat the meat I have prepared for you.” Just as Jacob had anticipated, his father felt him and was fooled by the kidskin, thinking he was Esau. Isaac therefore blessed Jacob, making Jacob the family patriarch after himself to carry on the lineage of Abraham. In a thousand years this family line would reach David, and in another thousand years would extend to the parents of Jesus. At the spring and in a swindled blessing, God’s design for Jesus’ ancestry was demonstrated long before Jesus was born.
Copyright 2001 by John C. Westervelt
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