The biblical matriarch Rebekah was
the wife of Isaac and the
mother of Jacob. Rebekahs
father was Bethuel, who was the son of Abrahams brother Nahor.
Information about Rebekah comes from Genesis chapters 24-28.
When Abraham wanted to find a wife for Isaac, he
sent his servant to his hometown of Aram-Naharaim. The servant came
to a spring and prayed to God. He proposed a sign the first woman
to give water to both him and his camels would be the one who would
be right for Isaac. Immediately, Rebekah approached him and, when he
asked for a drink, she ran to the spring and brought water for both
him and his camels. The servant went with Rebekah to her house, where
he received permission from her father and her brother, Laban, to
take Rebekah to Canaan as a wife for Isaac. Isaac married Rebekah
when he was 40 years old. According to Genesis, he was only comforted
after his mothers death when he married Rebekah and took her into
his mothers tent.
Rebekah was barren for 20 years. Isaac prayed for
her, and, finally, she became pregnant with twins. She had a
difficult pregnancy and asked God about her children. He answered
that her two sons would become two nations and the older would serve
the younger. She gave birth and named the firstborn twin Esau and the
second Jacob. Possibly because of the prophecy, Rebekah favored
At one point, there was a famine in Canaan and
Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar to find
food. Rebekah was beautiful and Isaac was scared to tell the people
there she was his wife. Instead, he claimed she was his sister. After
some time, Abimelech saw them together and confronted Isaac who
admitted that he had been scared to tell anyone that Rebekah was his
wife. Abimelech then proclaimed to the people that anyone who hurt
Isaac or Rebekah would be put to death.
When Isaac was old, he instructed Esau to hunt and
prepare a meal and then Isaac would bless him. Rebekah overheard this
and told Jacob to pretend he was Esau in order to receive the
blessing. Rebekah prepared a dish for Isaac, clothed Jacob in Esaus
clothes and covered his hands and neck with skins so he would feel as
hairy as his brother. The plan worked and Jacob received the blessing
from Isaac. When Esau realized what happened, he planned to kill his
brother. Rebekah found out and advised Jacob to run to her brother
Labans house in Haran until Esau got over his anger.
The bible does not write when Rebekah died, but
only that she was buried in the Cave
Sources: Encyclopedia Judaica; Genesis, The
Jewish Publication Societys translation, New York: 1985.