5), and grandson of Nahor (xxii. He is a shepherd who tends flocks with his cousins in the fields near Bethlehem. But Laban does not share Jacob’s faith (Gen. 29:1–30; 31:2), and not surprisingly, he gives God’s chosen man much grief. [9] The placement of Aram as Kemuel’s son also contradicts the genealogy of Gen 10:22-23 in which Aram is the son of Shem, which would make him many generations earlier than Nahor or Kemuel. Later in Genesis, however, Nahor is presented as Laban’s father. Rebekah later became the mother of Jacob and Esau … So in ‘Jehu, son of Nimshi,’ 2 K. ix. See discussion in Zev Farber and Daniel M. Zucker, “Rebekah Ran to her “Mother’s Household”: Where Was her Father?” TheTorah.com (2017). Thankfully, Isaac was a different man from his fabled father. (Gen 25:21) She then conceived twins. Bethuel the Syrian, Rebecca’s Father 1804 BC Bethuel the Syrian was the father of Laban and more importantly, Rebecca. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. Please support us. But why include her grandmother? [7] The genealogy here continues with four more sons born to Nahor from his concubine: [8] Tzemah Yoreh identifies this text as coming from what he calls the Bridger; a late redactional layer that smooths over rough spots in the text. רִבְקָה) was the wife of Isaac, daughter of Bethuel, and granddaughter of Nahor, a brother of Abraham (Gen. 22:23; 24:15, 24, 47).Rebekah is also described as he sister of Laban (24:29, 50; 25:20).When Abraham sought a wife for his son, he sent his servant to his homeland, Aram-Naharaim, for he wanted to avoid marriage with the Canaanites. When Rebekah is first introduced, the verse says (24:15): As noted above, the introduction is long and cumbersome. Genesis 35:8. In the MT, the word is plural “brothers” (אֲחֵי) and is likely meant to convey the vaguer concept “kinsmen,” since Rebekah is clearly not the daughter of Abraham’s “brothers” (in plural). This is clear from the fact that it references Aram—the eponymous ancestor of the Arameans—as the son of Kemuel and thus Nahor’s grandson and Betuel’s nepew. For three years Sarah ’s tent remained vacant. For example, Ramban (1194-1270), in his commentary (ad loc.) Summary Abraham sends his servant to his relatives in Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son Isaac. She was also the sister of Laban and the aunt of Jacob's future wives: Rachel and Leah. Once we realize that in the original J story, her father was Nahor and not Betuel, the explanation for this cumbersome phrase becomes clear: a much shorter J genealogy was supplemented here to comport with P. The redactional supplement that accomplishes this is noted in italics: A similar redactional addition is found when Rebekah tells Abraham’s servant who she is (24:24), and when the servant repeats the story to Laban and Rebekah’s mother: When these redactions are removed, we are left with a simple and consistent J text, in which Rebekah is the daughter of Nahor, and thus Isaac’s cousin.[11]. Rebecca was the daughter of Bethuel, the great-niece of Abraham, and the sister of Laban. Something went wrong while submitting the form. Rebekah Her life, personality, and legacy is intricately and irretrievably woven within the fabric around the Bible’s most extraordinary men: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Isaac and Rebekah maintained a monogamous relationship. Imagine Eliezer telling his story as Rebekah’s father, Bethuel, as well as her brother Laban, listened with rapt attention. Instead, according to the original tradition in J, even in Gen 24, Laban is Nahor’s son. Some other verses in this story also suggest that Nahor is the father of Laban and Rebekah. Where else in the Bible do we hear such a cumbersome lineage? Rebekah (Rebecca) was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. As the father of Leah and Rachel, the mothers of the twelve tribes of Israel, Laban has blood ties to the people of the Lord. notes: This answer is problematic. Issac loved Rebekah. It seems so cruel what Jacob did. Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died — It appears, on computation, that this event took place not less than a hundred and twenty-five years after Rebekah’s marriage with Isaac. Laban was also the father-in-law and uncle to Jacob through marriage to Leah and Rachel. THE REBEKAHS. We are first introduced to Rebekah in a passage that comes immediately after the story of the Akedah: This genealogy makes Nahor the father of Betuel and the grandfather of Rebekah, thus connecting the father in P (Betuel) with the father in J (Nahor) and putting Rebekah squarely into Abraham’s family. Gloom and loneliness prevailed where light and life had been pulsing before, as long as Sarah had lived. The story of Isacc and Rebekah is very different from Abraham and Sarah. Abraham was eager to have Isaac marry a woman of the character and stature of Sarah. Isaac relied on his father to select a bride for him when he was 40 years old. But in context of the entire book of Genesis, the motives of the two parents are quite different. “Rebekah Ran to her “Mother’s Household”: Where Was her Father?”. Have you only one blessing, my father? Rebecca's brother was Laban the Aramean, and she was the granddaughter of Milcah and Nahor, the brother of Abraham. Rebekah is the second daughter of Mikael and Esther, wealthy land owners from the Kingdom of Norway in the 10th century. Isaac himself was completely immersed in the study and in the service of G‑d.It was obvious to Abraham that he could not … Israel, as we know it… According to biblical tradition, Rebecca's father was Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram, also called Aram-Naharaim. from Hebrew University in Jewish History (biblical period focus). Samuel R. Driver, The Book of Genesis with Introduction and Notes (London: Methuan, 1916), 269. While the Church traditionally recognizes the … 1). Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. descendant, Laban being in reality son of Bethuel (xxviii. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. 24 and 47, my suggestions agree with Yoreh’s. It is only in the combined and redacted Pentateuch text that we find both traditions combined into one extensive and cumbersome genealogy in which Rebekah is both the daughter of Betuel, the granddaughter of Nahor and Milkah, and a cousin of Isaac. Genesis 24:15,24,47 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…. Betuel, Rebekah’s father, mysteriously appears and disappears in the negotiations over Rebekah’s marriage. [7] This genealogy makes Nahor the father of Betuel and the grandfather of Rebekah, thus connecting the father in P (Betuel) with the father in J (Nahor) and putting Rebekah squarely into Abraham’s family. 22). Even when Rebekah was barren, Isaac stayed with her and prayed for her. However, over time, she had the courage and strength from heaven to believe that "God in His great mercy decides what is best for each one." Thus, it seems likely that the MT’s pointing is an attempt to avoid the implication that Rebekah is Nahor’s daughter. This (and the second answer of Nachmanides) explains why Jacob was so affected by her passing. All of these texts agree that Betuel is the father of Rebekah and Laban. This genealogical disparity did not go unnoticed by the Torah’s redactors, who tried to solve the problem by both adding genealogies and revising already existent ones. The only important fact about Rebekah is that she is from Abraham’s family. Today we meet another figure with a prominent role in the history of God’s people. Not only does she mention her father (Betuel), and her grandfather (Nahor), but even her grandmother (Milkah)! Genesis 28:2,5 Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother…, Genesis 24:51,60,67 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken…. The servant came to a well and prayed that the next young woman who came to the well and gave him water would be Isaac's wife. We rely on the support of readers like you. You could say my mother's prayer was not answered. No mention is made of Betuel’s father or mother. This was way before the United States government allowed women to vote or run for public office. See Tzemah Yoreh, Genesis: Israel’s Origins (Kernel to Canon; Modern Scriptures, 2014), 188-189. It was the custom in those days for the father of the groom to give things of value to the family of the bride, but this was much more than the ordinary, mainly because of the great wealth of Abraham. The nation of Israel came from Jacob, and the line of Esau became the Edomites. The inside of their cozy barn was ablaze. Bethuel was also related to Abraham through his parents Nahor and Milcah. New Living Translation. At no time does Abraham say that his servant should specifically look for a member of his family,[3]but fortuitously Rebekah, the woman Abraham’s servant chooses, is from this clan: This is a very strange answer. Eliezer ’s Mission. Bethuel (Hebrew: בְּתוּאֵל ‎ – Bəṯūʾēl, “house of God”), in the Hebrew Bible, was an Aramean man, the youngest son of Nahor and Milcah, the nephew of Abraham, and the father of Laban and Rebecca.. Bethuel was also a town in the territory of the tribe of Simeon, west of the Dead Sea. The yoke her father had hewn by hand as a boy was charred, hanging on a blackened beam. In that genealogy, Aram is also the father of Uz, whereas in Gen 22, Uz is his father’s older brother. This is narrated when Jacob runs away to Laban’s city to escape Esau and goes to the well and speaks the local shepherds: In this text, not only is Laban’s father Nahor rather than Betuel,[4] but the name of the city is Haran, not Padan-aram. “Birth of Jacob and Esau” by Benjamin West (1738-1820) Genesis 25: 2o-26 Mother of Esau and Jacob Rebekah’s birth story is unique because she is the first women we know of who sought out God and asked him for direct revelation concerning her pregnancy. Genesis 25:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. This was Rebecca’s teacher. He is the author of Images of Joshua in the Bible and their Reception (De Gruyter 2016) and editor (with Jacob L. Wright) of Archaeology and History of Eighth Century Judah (SBL 2018). Rebekah first watered the camels of Abraham's servant who was sent to find a bride for his son Issac. In Genesis, Isaac's father, Abraham had been looking for a wife for his son Isaac. Rebekah (Heb. Academic Study of the Torah Is Essential, Not Just for Academics, Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship, By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use, https://thetorah.com/article/who-was-rebekahs-father, “I am the daughter of Betuel the son of Milkah, whom she bore to Nahor” (Gen 24:24) – Why the unusual and cumbersome genealogical description?[1]. But in both J and P, Rebekah’s father lives among the Arameans, or is himself an Aramean, implying they were already a people![9]. script>, Joshua Circumcises Israel in Response to Egypt's Scorn, The Mitzvah to Love God: Shadal's Polemic against the Philosophical Interpretation, Torat Emet: The Intertwined Tree of Torah and Wisdom. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her.. Then Isaac Married Rebekah and produced Esau and Jacob. Hebrew-English Text I. But even with the best medical care and over an hour of doctors trying everything possible, my father died. (Bethuel became the father of Rebekah.) 20 (see v. 14), ‘Zechariah, son of Iddo,’ Ezr. Yahweh provides the servant with a sign by sending Rebekah to give him and his ten camels water to drink. Why this unusual and cumbersome introduction? Rebekah then left her home with the servant and married Isaac. The other place where the redactor made adjustments is in the story of the finding of Rebekah, which is from J and would originally have featured Nahor and not Betuel as her father. No doubt Rebekah was now dead, and this old nurse, who had come with her into Canaan, (Genesis 24:59,) and had tarried with her while she lived, was, after her death, taken into Jacob’s family, … He is listed on the Biblical Timeline Poster around 1804 BC. (NIV) Genesis 27:14-17 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. See, John Skinner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis, 2nd Edition (International Critical Commentary; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1930 [1910]), 343. E – Eleazar, Rebekah’s Father April 6, 2015 by diannegsagan 4 Comments In a continuation of the discussion about my book, Rebekah Redeemed, I’d like you to meet Rebekah’s father Eleazar. Their father did not know that Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob, so he asked Esau to go out into the fields and bring him some meat for supper. [5] This was suggested more than a century ago by the German Bible scholar Hermann Gunkel (1862-1932), when explaining why Jacob calls Laban “Nahor’s son”: בן is not to be taken in the broader sense of “grandson” here. Her mother gave birth to Freya, Finn, and Elijah in the Old World, but after Freya was sent away with Esther's sister Dahlia as payment for Esther's fertility spell (which was later covered up by Esther, who claimed Freya had died of the plague), Esther and Mikael were so devastated that … Milkah bore these eight sons to Abraham's brother Nahor. On September 20, 1851, I.O.O.F. Don’t miss the latest essays from TheTorah.com. Their arranged marriage is a fairytale of divine ordination. Please consider supporting TheTorah.com. Some readers have accused both Isaac and Rebekah of equal fault in favoring their sons (Esau and Jacob respectively; Gen 27:1-10). He holds a Ph.D. from Emory University in Jewish Religious Cultures (Hebrew Bible focus) and an M.A. Mark E. Biddle; Mercer Library of Biblical Studies; Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1997 [German ed., 1910]), 317. Some medieval Jewish commentators already proposed this solution. She later became pregnant with twins, Jacob and Esau. The gifts to Rebekah, partly, were to make her appearance befitting someone of such stature in their area. Moreover, delaying the verb until after the genealogy would also have been awkward. Esau was born first, and he was Isaac’s favorite son (Genesis 25:28). He sent his servant to the city of Nahor to find her. Rebecca appears in the Hebrew Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. In addition to these eight sons from Milcah, English Standard Version. Piles of the sweet-smelling hay, where Rebekah had hidden from her brothers on lazy fall afternoons, were engulfed by the roaring, ravenous flames. Rabbi Zev Farber is a fellow at Project TABS and editor of TheTorah.com. Then Esau comes home and brings his catch to Isaac so he could be blessed only to find that his father had already blessed someone else. [This article continues after… Romans 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; These eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. Isaac & Rebekah: The Fairytale Romance. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. Rebecca and Isaac were one of the four couples that some believe are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs, the other three being Adam and Eve, Abraha… Isaac prayed for Rebekah because she was barren. See his analysis of the revisions in this chapter (which he again attributes to Bridger) in Yoreh, Genesis, 204-211. Betuel is mentioned again in a similar way when Isaac sends Jacob off to marry one of Laban’s daughters: Again, we hear that Betuel is Rebekah’s father, but nothing about his being the son of Nahor or Milkah or related in any way to Isaac and Abraham. Abraham, advanced in years and blessed with wealth, charges his servant with finding a wife from outside the local Canaanite families, for Isaac: After the servant asks what to do if the woman prefers that Isaac move to her land instead, Abraham warns the servant never to bring Isaac out of Canaan, but reassures him that the plan will work: Abraham’s reference to YHWH taking him out of his homeland, his birth place, and his father’s house harkens back to the first command Abraham received from YHWH in the opening of the Abraham narrative: Abraham does not name this homeland when speaking with the servant, but the text tells us soon after that the land is called Aram-naharayim: The city is here referred to incidentally, as the city of Nahor, who is Abraham’s brother. Rebekah is brought from her family to Isaac, who finds comfort in her after… Previously, God promised Abraham He would be the father of a great nation and the only way to pass this down was through Abraham’s son, Isaac [4] Some critical biblical scholars solve this problem by suggesting that בן, “son of” in 29:5 really means “descendent of.” For example, the British scholar S. R. Driver (1846-1914), Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, notes other cases where son, בן, means grandson: “Son.” i.e. The text was likely added by a redactor for exactly this purpose. In fact, this awkward syntax is glossed over in many English translation (e.g., NJPS, NRSV), by putting the genealogy immediately after her name is mentioned. Despite the awkward syntax, I am unconvinced that the entire genealogy was added here as it is important to the story. He can be found on the Bible Timeline around 1829 BC. Esau cries out in anguish, “Bless me—me also, O my father! In this text, Betuel is not the son of Nahor or Isaac’s cousin.[6]. P is also consistent, she is the daughter of Betuel the Aramean and not related to Abraham at all. Oops! New International Version. Dr. [1] This piece is an expanded version of an older archived piece, “Was Betuel Lavan’s Father? // Javascript URL redirection His contemporary, the British Bible scholar John Skinner (1851-1925) makes the same suggestion: [T]here is a considerable probability that the original J made Laban and Rebekah the children of Nahôr. A rafter collapsed, shocking her back to her senses. He was Isaac’s cousin, and later he became Isaac’s brother-in-law after Rebecca’s marriage. [11] The reference to Betuel in 24:50 is also likely redactional, and in any case, causes an enormous narrative problem. Rabbi Zev Farber Stay updated with the latest scholarship I would like to receive new essays It is written, "For this was how the promise was stated: 'At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.' script type="text/javascript"> Rebecca bore two sons, Esau and Jacob. [2] Similarly, the promise that Abraham’s seed will receive the land comes almost immediately after, once Abraham enters the land and begins to traverse it: [3] For discussion of this point, see Martin Lockshin, “A Wife for Isaac: From Abraham’s Hometown or Family?” TheTorah.com (2015). 40 years old are quite different was barren, Isaac 's wife and Jacob and Esau immorality deprivation! Israel for ages and were finally wiped out ( Obadiah 1:1–21 ) years Sarah ’ s after. This story also suggest that Nahor is the father of the Edomites her home the. To find a bride for his son Isaac Jewish history ( biblical period )... 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