|"Rebecca" by Gustave-Henri Aubain (1862-1908)|
When we meet Rebekah we know just three things about her. First, she is related to Abraham through his brother Nahor (second cousin, I think; I'd have to make a chart to be sure). (This has been Abraham's stated goal for procuring a wife for his son Issac.) Second, she is found by a spring of water, she and her water jar, and she is willing... in fact, eager... to offer it to a stranger (Abraham's servant). (The offer of hospitality is always a good sign.) And she is "very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known."
Rebekah's got it all: breeding, character, and beauty.
But... oh, she worries me.
Maybe that is why it has taken me, literally, months to summon the will to complete this reflection on her?
I want to grab her by the shoulders, and give them a good shake, and say, "Maybe not... maybe this isn't the best way to find a husband, the old 'by-the-well' thing." But off she goes, and she is so eager to marry this man of whom she knows only that he is a relative, and he has a father who has a servant who traveled all this way. And the jewelry. Of course. (Ask anyone who knows me. Earrings _might_ just do the trick, under certain circumstances.)
I want to say: Rebekah. This man. You don't know what he has been through. You don't know the baggage he carries.
The son for whom his parents waited, not just years, but decades.
The son whom his father took on a three-day death march, after which he hogtied him, and held a knife to his throat. (An angel intervened, and that, children, is why we no longer sacrifice humans.)
The son whose mother promptly dropped dead after the above incident.
The son about whom we know nothing else until now. And here is how it will be described, when she arrives, and she and Isaac meet at last.
Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. ~ Genesis 24:63-67
So. Isaac was comforted, after his mother's death.