Serie Mujeres en la Biblia: Rebeca/ Women of the Bible Series: Rebekah

26.99.1(17)

 

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La historia de Jacob y Esaú es una que siempre he disfrutado y me ha intrigado, sin embargo, la serie Mujeres en las Biblia me impulsó a verla desde la perspectiva de Rebeca, dándome cuenta el importantísimo papel que tuvo esta mujer en la historia de las estirpe de Abraham. Rebeca es una mujer escogida por Dios para tomar las decisiones que fincarán los pilares de la historia de Jesucristo.

Después de morir Sara, Abraham viejo y temiendo que su hijo –legítimo– Isaac tomara como esposa a una mujer cananea, hace jurar a su criado más confiable ir a la tierra de donde salió Abraham y escoger de entre su parentela una esposa adecuada para su hijo. El criado de Abraham, quien seguramente todo el camino estuvo cavilando cómo escoger a la mujer indicada para Isaac, al llegar a la tierra arrodilla a sus camellos a lado de un pozo y dedica una oración a Jehová, en la cual decide que la joven quien después de pedirle agua para beber ofrezca también agua a sus camellos, será quien Jehová mismo escoja como esposa del hijo de su señor. No habiendo acabado aún su oración, se acerca Rebeca a llenar su cántaro con agua del pozo; el criado se apresura a pedirle agua y ella, presta, baja su cántaro; tan pronto termina de beber el criado, ella saca más agua del pozo para dar a todos sus camellos. Él le pregunta de quién es hija y descubre que Jehová lo había guiado directo a la casa de los hermanos de su amo; entonces, Rebeca lo lleva a su casa con su hermano Labán, a quien el criado cuenta todo: las bendiciones de Jehová a Abraham ahora heredadas por Isaac; el juramento que hizo a su amo Abraham; la travesía que recorrió y la oración a Jehová que concluye con Rebeca como la mujer elegida. Entonces, Labán y Betuel, padre de Rebeca, entienden que esto es obra de Jehová y dejan que se lleve a Rebeca para ser esposa de Isaac, pero le piden mínimo 10 días, el criado se niega y ellos resuelven preguntarle a Rebeca, es aquí donde la intrépida fe de la joven Rebeca hace su primera aparición, pues decide irse con el criado creyendo y confiando en Jehová.

26.99.1(18)Aquí encontramos cualidades admirables en Rebeca: amabilidad, servicio al prójimo, confianza en sí misma, osadía e inmensa fe.

Me gusta la manera en como Rebeca e Isaac se conocen, me parece muy romántica. Él a lo lejos ve los camellos de su criado, sabiendo que con él viene su próxima esposa; ella a lo lejos ve a Isaac, baja del camello y se pone su velo. Tan pronto se conocieron la amó; ella fue consuelo para él después de la muerte de su madre.

Es preciso señalar que Rebeca era estéril, al igual que Sara, –esposa de Abraham– y Raquel –la esposa a quien más amó José, nieto de Isaac– y que pudo concebir hasta después de que Isaac oró a Jehová. En su vientre había gemelos y sentía que luchaban dentro de ella, lo cual la angustiaba mucho y consultando con Jehová, éste le reveló:

Dos naciones hay en tu vientre,

y dos pueblos serán divididos desde tus entrañas;

y un pueblo será más fuerte que el otro pueblo,

y el mayor servirá al menor.¹

Rebeca fue elegida por Dios para revelársele la historia, para que ella contribuyera a construir el plan de salvación.

Cumpliéndose los días para dar a luz, el primero en nacer es descrito como rubio y velludo, Esaú; sosteniendo el talón de éste, nace Jacob. Para describir el crecimiento de estos niños en las escrituras hay una líneas imposibles de no relacionar con la historia de Caín y Abel, la historia de dos hermanos con habilidades diferentes: Esaú diestro en el campo y caza, Jacob hombre quieto pero con aptitudes en el hogar. Isaac tiene preferencia por su hijo Esaú; mientras Rebeca, por Jacob, seguramente impulsada por la revelación de Jehová.

En sus últimos días, ciego, enfermo y sabiendo de su próxima muerte, Isaac decide bendecir a Esaú, su primogénito, pidiéndole ir de caza para que le preparara un guiso, después del cual le otorgaría la anhelada bendición. Rebeca escucha esto y, sabiendo que para la historia revelada por Jehová era necesaria la bendición de Isaac a Jacob, trama un plan para engañarlo: le cuenta a Jacob lo que acaba de escuchar y le pide que traiga dos cabritos del ganado para prepararle un guiso a su padre, el cual le llevará haciéndose pasar por Esaú; Jacob replica por las diferencias físicas de él y su hermano, lo que Rebeca resuelve vistiéndolo con ropas de Esaú y las pieles de los cabritos que acaba de matar. De esta manera, Isaac es engañado por Rebeca y Jacob, recibiendo éste la bendición de su padre:

Dios, pues, te dé del rocío del cielo,

y de las grosuras de la tierra

y abundancia de trigo y de mosto.

Sírvante pueblos,

y naciones se inclinen ante ti;

sé señor de tus hermanos,

e inclínense ante ti los hijos de tu madre.

Malditos los que te maldijeren,

y benditos los que te bendijeren.²

 

En esta segunda parte de la historia, vemos otras cualidades de Rebeca: inteligencia, humildad, astucia, imaginación, valentía y de nuevo su inmensa fe. Ella amaba a sus dos hijos, pero sabía seguir los planes de Dios.

Mientras realizaba investigación para mi texto, me di cuenta cómo Rebeca continuamente es señalada como embustera, mentirosa, tramposa, manipuladora; su historia se usa para ejemplificar casos de engaño a los esposos, de favoritismos entre los hijos, de intromisión en los planes de Dios; además de hacerse contínuo alarde de su hermosura, dejando de lado sus verdaderas cualidades. Después de este plan de Rebeca, las escrituras no mencionan ningún castigo por parte de Jehová a ella; Isaac no mostró mayor reacción; no hubo ninguna consecuencia negativa para Rebeca, con lo cual podemos concluir que Rebeca no hizo nada malo para los ojos de Dios, ella fue una herramienta en los planes de Jehová. Rebeca fue elegida por sus cualidades, como en las escrituras se eligieron a tantos varones, para ayudar en el Plan de Salvación.

Frederic, Lord Leighton (British, Scarborough 1830–1896 London) Eliezer and Rebekah (Dalziels' Bible Gallery), 1865–1881 British, Wood engraving on India paper, mounted on thin card; Image: 6 15/16 × 5 13/16 in. (17.6 × 14.7 cm) India sheet: 9 3/16 × 7 3/4 in. (23.4 × 19.7 cm) Mount: 16 7/16 in. × 12 15/16 in. (41.8 × 32.8 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Anonymous Gift, 1926 (26.99.1(16)) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/642837

 

The story of Jacob and Esau is one that I have always enjoyed and been intrigued me, but the serie Women in the Bible make me see it from the perspective of Rebeca, realizing the important role played by this woman in the history of the lineage of Abraham. Rebekah is a woman chosen by God to make the decisions that will build the base of the history of Jesus Christ.

After Sara died, Abraham old and fearing that his son -legitimate- Isaac take as wife a Canaanite woman, make his most trusted servant swear go to the land where he came and choose from  his kinred wife for his son. Abraham’s servant, who surely all the way was wondering how to choose the right woman for Isaac, when arrived tothe land kneel his camels next to a well and dedicated a prayer to the God Lord, deciding that the woman who after asking wáter to drink also offer water to his camels, will be the one that Jehovah choose as wife of the son of his master. Without done his prayer, Rebekah came to fill her pitcher with water from the well; the servant rushes to ask for water and she lends her pitcher down; as soon as he finished drinking she draw out more water from the well to give all his camels. He asks who is her father and discovers that the Lord had led him straight to the brothers of his master; then, Rebecca takes him home with her brother Laban and the servant tells everything: all the blessings of the Lord to Abraham now inherited by Isaac; the oath he swore to Abraham his master; the journey that ran and the prayer to Jehovah which concludes with Rebecca as the chosen woman. Then Laban and Bethuel, Rebecca’s father, understand that this was made by God Lord and let take Rebekah as Isaac’s wife, but ask at least 10 days; the servant refuses and they resolved to ask Rebekah, here is where the intrepid faith of the young Rebekah makes his first appearance, she decides to go with the servant believing and trusting in the Lord.

Here we found admirables qualities in Rebekah: kindness, service, self-confidence, courage and great faith.

I like how Rebekah and Isaac known each other, it seems very romantic.  Far he sees the camels of his servant, knowing that with him comes his next wife; at the distance she sees Isaac, came down from the camel and put her veil. As soon as he met, loved her; she was consolation to him after the death of his mother.

It should be noted that Rebekah was barren, like Sarah -wife of Abraham- and Rachel -the wife who most loved Joseph, grandson of Isaac- and she could conceive until Isaac prayed to the Lord. There were twins in her womb and felt that struggled within her, which distressed her very much and inquiring to the Lord, he revealed:

Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.¹

Rebekah was chosen by God to reveal the history, was chosen to help build the plan of salvation.

When the day of the birth came, the first born is described as red and hairy, Esau; holding the heel of he, born Jacob. To describe the growth of these children in the scriptures is impossible not relate to the story of Cain and Abel, the story of two brothers with different abilities: Esau skilled in the field and hunting, Jacob a plain man quietly but with skills in home. Isaac has a preference for his son Esau, while Rebekah for Jacob, probably guided by the revelation of the Lord.

In his last days, blind, sick and knowing of his next death, Isaac decides to bless Esau, his firstborn, asking him to go hunting for him to prepare a savoury meat, after which would give the desired blessing. Rebekah hears this and knowing that  Jacob needs the Isaac blessing to the history revealed by Jehovah, creates a plan to cheat him: she tells Jacob what have just heard and asks him to bring two kids of goats to prepare a savoury meat which he will gave to his father; Jacob answer that he and his brother have physical differences, which Rebekah solves dressing him with clothes of Esau and the skins of the kids just killed. Thus, Isaac is cheat by Rebekah and Jacob, receiving the blessing of his father:

Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:

Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bowdown to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, andblessed be he that blesseth thee.²

In this second part of the story, we found other qualities on Rebekah: intelligence, humility, imagination, courage and again his immense faith. She loved her two children, but knew how follow God’s plan.

Doing research for my text, I realized how Rebekah continually is designated as liar, cheater or manipulator; his story is used to illustrate cases of cheating husbands, favoritism between sons and meddling in God’s plans; moreover she is usually remembered only for her beauty, leaving aside her true qualities. After Rebekah’s plan, the scriptures do not mention any punishment from the Lord to she; Isaac showed no more reaction; there was no negative consequence for Rebekah, which we can conclude that she did nothing wrong in the eyes of God, she was  a tool in His plans. Rebekah was chosen for his qualities, as in the scriptures so many men were chosen to assist in the Plan of Salvation.

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9 Responses

  1. Carrie says:

    This is what I don’t understand. In Christianity women are to submit to their husbands… even when they are wrong and she will be blessed for following him. Women are the body and the husband is the head. But so often in the scriptures women are following their OWN compass. Not their husbands. And it seems as if they are doing the right thing. So what am I to think as a christian woman? LDS theology leaves me feeling that God doesn’t want a personal relationship with me. I am to go through my husband. But my gut says NO, you have your own intelligence that should not be ignored. It’s a huge issue for me. It’s hard to be a Woman of God because it’s such an enigma.

    • Denisse says:

      These are the things in the bible that have been misunderstood. The scriptures systematically told us that in a marriage decisions need to be made together. Women are no just the help meet for men.

      Is so sad that LDS church make feel his women that God doesn’t want a relationships with them, it hurt me so much.

  2. Spunky says:

    I love this, Denisse! My favourite part is this:

    “there was no negative consequence for Rebekah, which we can conclude that she did nothing wrong in the eyes of God.”

    I had not thought of that before, but you are right. There was a law about the first born, but the law was not right in this case, so Rebekah righteously corrected the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law. Thank you so much for recognizing this, Denisse!!

  3. Olea says:

    Carrie, so much of the scriptures remind us that people aren’t always right when they think their traditions reflect God’s will, and I find that comforting. God operates outside the bounds of human expectations, and when our theology is too narrow, I try to allow God to surprise me.

    Denisse, for the same reason, I love how you pointed out Rebekah’s imagination as one of her best qualities! Imagination can help our hearts to be malleable, rather than calcified, and that brings us closer to God.

  4. Emily U says:

    Denisse, thanks for highlighting Rebecca’s special attributes. So often women serve essentially as plot devices to move ahead the stories of men. We have to slow down and look hard to see them as interesting in their own right.

  5. Andrew R. says:

    Rebekah is my favourite woman in the scriptures. So much so that my own first born was named for her.

    From the moment we first meet her she is the answer to a prayer, and I can’t help but think that she knew what was expected of her.

    She was generous – running to refill the pitcher.

    She was brave. Off with the servant to meet a man she did not know.

    She was wise. She knew the Lord’s will, and her children, and her husband. And managed to manage everything to fulfil everything expected.

    She was a woman of the covenant. She married in the covenant, and she extended the covenant.

    A woman to honour and a woman to emulate.

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