“Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD. He said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.” Then the girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things.”

At the grand show of hospitality by Rebekah, Abraham’s servant rejoices to God that he has been guided to Abraham’s relatives’ house, his desired destination.  The phrase “in the way” has also appeared as “the right way” or “the straight way”.  It is more than direction; the servant is doing exactly as he is supposed to be doing, he is in his Master’s will.

Rebekah runs to her mother’s household, as opposed to her father’s, or even her brother’s (Laban, whom will soon be part of the narrative).  Rashi notes that it was the practice of the woman to have her own house, and that the daughter would confide in her mother exclusively.   Is that why she runs to the mother’s house? Shouldn’t the father know about this situation first?

One theory as to why is that Bethuel, her father, is already deceased.  Josephus wrote of this:

“[They]…call me Rebeka; my father was Bethuel, but he is dead; and Laban is my brother; and, together with my mother, takes care of all our family affairs, and is the guardian of my virginity.”

This would explain both why Rebekah ran to her mother, as well as explain Laban handles the marriage negotiations with Abraham’s servant instead of the father.  In fact, if you read the narrative with the assumption Bethuel is dead, everything makes sense, until you read verse 50.  That verse makes it seem as if Bethuel is still alive, as it attributes a statement to being said by both Laban and Bethuel.  The way it reads however is suspect, and there is a chance that Bethuel’s name in verse 50 is a later scribal insertion (Robert Alter).

Additionally, consider that when the servant gives gifts in verse 53, Bethuel is omitted; also in verse 55 it is the “brother and the mother” who try to keep Rebekah from leaving right away, Bethuel is not mentioned.  All of this points to a strong likelihood that Bethuel has already passed away and verse 50 simply contains a scribal insertion.

Lastly, consider that we know Isaac’s mother Sarah has passed away, so now Isaac seeks a wife. It would be fitting if Rebekah had also lost her father, as her marriage to Isaac would fill the void of Rebekah losing her father, just as a point is made to show that Isaac was consoled after his mother’s death. (v. 67)


Advertisements