She was better at cooking than her son Jacob.
The next woman to be featured in the Bible after Sarah is Rebecca, the wife of Abraham’s son Isaac. There exist several very interesting stories about Rebecca in the book of Genesis, one of the most important being the influence she had on her son Jacob and the consequences of their decision to deceive Isaac.
Here are five fast facts about Rebecca to help you better understand her role in salvation history.
1. Her name means “to captivate”
Rebecca’s name reflects her ability to capture the attention of Abraham’s servant, who upon seeing her beauty sought to know who she was and to bring her to Isaac. According to Bible Gateway, her name “means a ‘tie rope for animals’ or ‘a noose’ in such a rope … Applied to a female, the figure suggests her beauty by means of which men are snared or bound. Thus another meaning of Rebekah is that of ‘captivating.’ If, then, Rebekah means ‘a noosed cord,’ the loop was firmly around Isaac’s neck.”
2. Isaac and Rebecca’s biblical union is mirrored in modern Jewish marriage rites
In the Genesis narrative, Rebecca veiled herself before being joined to Isaac in their biblical union. The traditional Badeken ceremony mirrors this when the groom veils his bride before the wedding begins.
3. Rebecca’s pregnancy hurt so much she prayed for death
Rebecca conceived twin boys, Jacob and Esau, and constantly felt the two fighting with each other. It hurt her body so much that she wanted a way out.
But the children jostled each other in the womb so much that she exclaimed, “If it is like this, why go on living!” She went to consult the Lord, and the Lord answered her:
Two nations are in your womb,
two peoples are separating while still within you;
But one will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger. (Genesis 25:22-23)
4. She helped Jacob deceive Isaac with good cooking
When Isaac was on his deathbed, he was ready to give out his paternal blessing. Realizing that Esau was destined to receive it, Rebecca conspired with Jacob to trick Isaac and the two succeeded. It meant the blessing of God would go through Jacob, who would later be called Israel and forever remembered by his people. The plan culminated in a delicious stew that Rebecca made in hopes of deceiving her dying husband.
5. Rebecca saved her son Jacob’s life by again deceiving Isaac
Keen at getting her way, she convinced Isaac to send Jacob away to her brother Laban and by doing so, preserved his life. Esau’s anger subsided, but it is believed that his descendants represented some of the most fiercest enemies of Israel.