Abraham wants Isaac to have a wife, but not from the Canaanites whom he lives around. He has one of his servants take a bunch of camels loaded up with gifts and heads off to Abraham’s home land. When he arrives, he tells God that he will choose the first girl to offer him and his camels some water. Rebekah does just this, so he gave her a gold nose ring and two heavy gold bracelets, and asks if there a room for him to stay at her fathers house. Then the servant resells his story. In the morning the servant, Rebekah, and her nurse all head back to Isaac’s house, where the Rebekah and Isaac are married.
This chapter again seems rather benign on the surface, but it doesn’t really seem applicable to the American public today. For one, Abraham is injecting his own casual racism into the choice of his sons wife. Two, this is an arranged marriage, of which we do not see much of in western culture anymore. Three, it looks as though Rebekah is purchased from her family.
I know many will say that these are just artifacts from an older culture, one that we don’t understand as well as our own. That their practices may differ from ours, but that doesn’t make them wrong. I would say that in these instances, and by modern standards, it is wrong. Wy do I judge it by modern, western standards? Because in by these standards, Both parties entering the marriage contract have an equal say. This means that they are on equal footing, that they see each other as equals. I know that this has not always been the case, and in the past marriage was not done out of love, but as a form of social contract bringing families together, etc… But I am repeatedly told that this book is a good source for guidance and morality, and yet all I see in this chapter is old world practices that no longer apply. Even worse, they relegate women to property that can be purchased. This is not the type of guidance and morality I want guiding the society I live in today.
Lessons I Learned:
- A good candidate for a wife is a woman who is kind and generous.
- You can purchase a good woman for some silver and gold.
- Make sure your sons wife is from your own people.