Today’s post is about the search for Isaac’s wife and is based on Genesis 24, Jasher 24, and John 4:1-42.
After the death and burial of Sarah, Abraham sent Isaac away so he could go to stay with Shem and Eber to learn the way of the Lord and His instructions for 3 years. After that he returned to Beersheba.
Next, Abimelech [father of the king] died and was replaced by his son Benmalich [son of the king] who was renamed Abimelech. Lot, the son of Haran – Abraham’s nephew also died in those days when Isaac was 39 years old. The following year, Nahor, the son of Terah who was also the brother of Abraham died. With all these people dying, Abraham probably started thinking about the possibility of his own death and the fact that Isaac didn’t have a wife yet.
When Isaac was 40 years old, Abraham sent his servant, Eliezer to Haran to find a wife for Isaac from his brother’s family (Jasher 24:27-30). Eliezer was concerned that if he found a woman for Isaac, she wouldn’t come home with him and wondered if he should take Isaac back there. Abraham insisted that Isaac must stay in the land of Canaan and not marry a Canaanite.
Eliezer left with his master’s goods and went toward the city of Nahor in Mesopotamia and stopped at a well outside the city when it was evening. Meanwhile, Isaac returned to his father’s home in Beersheba. Since Eliezer wanted to find the right girl [na’arah = a girl from infancy to adolescence] for Isaac, he prayed asking for God to confirm who she was by asking that whoever she was would give him water and also provide some for all his camels. A young girl named Rebekah came and gave Eliezer water at his request and then she offered to draw water for his camels too. When her task was complete, he gave her a golden nose ring and two bracelets weighing ten shekels of gold. Rebekah then went to tell her family what had happened. I was quite shocked to read in Jasher 24:29 that Rebekah was 10 years old at this time but this certainly fits the definition of a na’arah!
Rebekah’s brother, Laban came out to greet him and told him a place was prepared for the camels and to come to the house. Once the camels were unloaded and fed, Eliezer’s feet and those of the men with him were washed. Rebakah’s family offered Eliezer food but he didn’t want to eat until he:
- Explained the reason for his visit.
- Said how he was sure Rebekah was the girl that should be Isaac’s wife.
- Asked if they would agree to his marriage proposal.
Since Laban and Bethuel were sure this was of the Lord, they agreed to allow Rebekah to marry Isaac. Upon hearing their answer, Eliezer gave Rebekah gold and silver jewelry and clothing. He then bowed his head and worshiped the Lord who led him in the way of truth. He later gave precious things to her family most likely as a bride price.
Eliezer wanted to leave with Rebekah the next morning but her family wanted her to stay 10 days longer. At Eliezer’s insistence, they let Rebekah decide. When Rebekah agreed to leave that day, they sent her away with a nurse, servants, and a blessing that she may become the mother of thousands of ten thousands and that her descendants would possess the gates of their enemies.
After traveling almost all the way to her new home, she finally saw Isaac from a distance and covered her face. After Eliezer told Isaac everything that had happened, Isaac took Rebekah into his mother’s tent and she became his wife. So after all this time, Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
As I pondered all of this information, God showed me a few similarities between the account of Eliezer choosing Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife and Jesus meeting the woman who came to the well in Sychar, Samaria.
Jesus had left Judea and was passing through Samaria on His way to Galilee when He stopped at Jacob’s well and asked a woman to give Him a drink of water. Instead of responding like Rebekah did to Eliezer, the Samaritan woman expressed surprise at Jesus’ request because He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Normally, the Jews looked down upon Samaritans because they were descendants of the northern kingdom who had intermarried with foreigners and because their religion was an unholy mixture of Judaism and idolatry. This would be comparable to the numerous people who’ve practiced Christianity synchretised with paganism for centuries.
Instead of giving the Samaritan woman gifts of gold and silver, Jesus told her that if she knew the gift of God and who He was, He would have given her Living Water. She couldn’t see how Jesus could physically give her living water and didn’t realize He was offering Himself to her. This was a little different from Rebekah who could see the physical abundance that Eliezer had brought with him before she knew he had come in search of a wife for Isaac.
Just as Eliezer told her family the purpose of his journey, Jesus explained to the woman of Sychar that His Living Water would become a fountain of water that would spring up into everlasting life. Upon hearing this, she desired this Living Water to keep her from thirsting. Then Jesus told her to bring her earthly husband to Him but she’d already had several and the one living with her wasn’t really her husband. By this time, she perceived that Jesus was a prophet and started to change the focus of their conversation by stating the difference between her peoples’ belief concerning the proper place of worship and that of the Jews. Jesus explained that true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and truth because that is the kind of worshipers (brides) God seeks. Finally, she said that she knew the Messiah was coming and Jesus revealed to her that He was the Messiah.
When Eliezer was sure he found the right wife for Isaac, he was so pleased that he blessed the Lord. Once the woman was pretty sure she had met the Messiah, she was obviously excited when she left to tell the people of the town about Him when His disciples came back and urged Him to eat. At the same time, they were surprised Jesus had been talking with a Samaritan woman. This was most likely because of the reasons previously mentioned.
If you recall, Eliezer didn’t want to eat until he explained to Rebekah’s family the reason for his journey but Jesus did not want to eat earthly food His disciples had brought Him because He was interested in telling them about the task of reaping the spiritual harvest or inviting people to accept His marriage proposal. When the people of the city heard the woman’s testimony, they accepted her invitation to come meet Jesus. Once they met and heard Jesus for themselves, they believed He was the Christ.
Jesus gave His life as a bride price for whoever’s willing to accept His marriage proposal and returned to His Father’s home in heaven to prepare a place for His bride. Since that time, Jesus’ servants have been commanded to search for those who might be willing to become the Bride of Christ in all the nations and make disciples of them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
People should not be hindered but encouraged to come to Jesus as a little child much like the na’arah, Rebekah who was willing to become Isaac’s wife (Luke 18:17). For now, the Jews are being hindered by a veil over their closed heart when they read or hear Torah. All they can see is their sin in the mirror of Torah. As Jews turn to the Lord, that veil changes so they can see Jesus more clearly in Torah as if they are looking at Him through a window. By walking in the Spirit, they will conform to the Living Torah or glory of the Lord. Hopefully as the last days approach, the Jews no longer be hindered but will come to the Messiah in mass numbers.
When people accept Christ’s proposal, they:
- Should repent – leave the false spiritual husband they’ve been united with so they can become engaged with their new Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Their response should be like Rebekah’s – immediate and not delayed.
- Are covered by the blood of Jesus who is the veil between the heavenly Father and them.
- Become the temple of the Holy Spirit. This means the question of the proper place of worship by the Samaritan woman is a non-issue until Christ’s return because the Holy Spirit dwells within all believers.
- Should be discipled in the way of pure truth so they can be presented to Christ clean and holy instead of adulterated or synchretized with something pagan.
The sovereign Father who no one has ever seen holds the title: the King of kings (1 Tim. 6:15). At the appointed time [moed = feast] in the future, the Father will tell Jesus to return to gather His bride. This will probably take place on the Day of Trumpets in a year of Jubilee. Jesus, the Son of God who is also known as the Lamb of God will be like Benmalich [son of the king] whose name was changed to Abimelech [father of the king] because in Revelation 17:14 and 19:16, Jesus is also known by His Father’s title: the King of Kings. Those who have accepted Jesus’ wedding proposal and were faithful to Him will be clothed in a robe of righteousness and will be ready when the Feast of Tabernacles takes place several days later. At that time, Jesus will take His bride into His bridal chamber where the wedding will be finalized or consumated and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb will take place. His people will be comforted and will soon forget the pain and suffering caused by their enemies.