Marriage in the Patriarchal Period and Present-day Lessons for Young Adults
In Genesis chapter 24, there is a detailed account of how Isaac acquired his wife, Rebekah. This paper demonstrates that the account in Genesis does fit within its historical context of the patriarchal period and there is no reason to doubt its details. This account is trustworthy as an archaeological document, but more than that, it is God's Word. As such, not only can we look at the account as an example of how marriage worked among the believers in the patriarchal period, but we can also glean lessons that are still intended for marriage today. The final goal of the paper is to see what wisdom God has for adolescents and young adults who are considering marriage for themselves. Many lessons may also be applied to those who have already been married as they evaluate their own marriages and how they match up with God's ideals. This paper will show how Rebekah is described as a daughter and a wife who displays a servant's attitude through her actions. Her attitude will be shown to be part of the biblical ideal for a woman. On the other hand, although Isaac has a small role in the account, his love for his wife speaks to the duty of husbands. This paper contains three main components: a translation, a commentary and an explanation of the larger issues of Genesis 24. The textual translation of Genesis 24 as presented herein is my own composition based on a reading of the Hebrew. The exegetical commentary expounds on the nuances reflected in the translation and explores many of the minor exegetical questions. Then the final part of this paper explores the major textual questions throughout the chapter.