Scripture Reference: Genesis 24:1-67
Suggested Emphasis or Theme: It is important to marry a person who worships God.
Abraham wanted his son to marry a woman who worship God so he sent a servant back to the land of his relatives to find a wife for Isaac. Rebekah and her family believed in God. She decided to leave her home and her family and travel back to Canaan to become Isaac’s wife. Isaac married her and loved her and they followed God together.
Many years had passed since God First Called Abram to leave his relatives in Haran and follow him into the land of Canaan. Abraham, as he was now called, had grown in faith and continued to follow God’s leading in a nomadic way of life. His wife Sarah was now dead (Genesis 23:1-2) and buried in Hebron and the time had come to find a wife for his son, Isaac.
Abraham only ever lived in tents in Canaan and never saw this land as his “home” or the Canaanites as “his people”. God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be a great nation and it was important that his son marry someone who followed God. This meant returning to his relatives in Haran.
Finding a wife for Isaac is one of, if not the, longest single narrative in the book of Genesis. This match was very important. It would set the tone of each generation after this. The future of what would become known as the Jewish people and the Nation of Israel depended on men and women who faithfully followed God, established strong families and passed their faith on to the next generations.
Abraham entrusted the task to his chief servant. This man was possibly “Eliazer of Damascus” as mentioned earlier in Genesis 15:1-2. Abraham makes him swear by oath to find a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s relatives instead of from the nearby Canaanite people who followed other Gods. The unusual sealing this oath by placing the hand on the thigh would be seen again few generations later when when Jacob (Israel) asks Joseph to make an oath (Genesis 47:29-30).
The events in this chapter involve the faith of Abraham but also the faith of:
- His servant: He asked for God’s guidance in leading him to Abraham’s relatives. He specifically asked God to reveal which girl to choose in the way she would offer to water his camels at a well (verses 12-21). He also faithfully and accurately repeated what God had done and gave glory to God. His faithful account to repeated this to both Rebekah’s family and later to Isaac (verses 33-49 and then verse 66) in ways that convinced them of God’s plan.
- His relatives: Bethual (Abraham’s nephew and Rebekah’s father) and Laban (Abraham’s great-nephew and Rebekah’s brother) in believing the account of events as shared by Abraham’s servant, being obedient to God’s will and entrusted Rebekah with him (verses 50-51).
- Rebekah: She recognised God’s hand in this incident and was willing to leave her family, travel to a strange land and marry Isaac (verses 55-61)
- Isaac: He consented to his father’s choice and married Rebekah. He loved Rebekah. (Genesis 24:62-66)
As you share this story with children mention that someday they will probably marry. Talk about the importance of finding someone who has a strong faith in God.
- What happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
Way to Introduce the Story:
Bring wedding photos to class today and share them with your pupils. This lesson emphasises the importance of two Christians marrying. You might want to invite a Christian couple with a strong marriage to bring their wedding photos to show. “We have been learning about Abraham and his son, Isaac. When Isaac was a grown man Abraham wanted him to marry someone who believed in God. In today’s lesson we will learn about how Abraham helped his son find a wife.”
Abraham was a great man of God. God had promised Abraham that someday he would have grandchildren and then they would have children and then they would have children. God promised Abraham that he would have many many descendants. God wanted Abraham’s descendants to love him just as much as Abraham did.
But Abraham’s son, Isaac was not even married yet. Abraham knew it was time to find a wife for Isaac.
But not just any woman would do. Abraham wanted Isaac to marry a woman who believed in God. Then Isaac and his wife could have children and teach them to love God too.
Abraham thought about all the women who lived nearby in Canaan. They did not love God. They worshiped false gods and bowed down to them. Abraham did not want Isaac to marry a woman from Canaan. He remembered when he used to live in Haran. Many of Abraham’s relatives still lived near Haran in a place called “Nahor”. His relatives believed in God. This would be the perfect place to find a wife for Isaac.
So Abraham called in his most trusted servant and said, “Promise me that you will find a wife for Isaac. Make sure that she is not a Canaanite. Go to my home country, to my relatives, and find Isaac a wife there.”
The servant did as Abraham asked. He took along camels loaded with gifts to give to the father of whoever the bride would be. The servant traveled a long time before he came to Haran, the place where Abraham’s family lived.
When the servant arrived he decided to go to a place where the young women of the city went every day. He took his camels and waited beside the spring of waters where the girls came to get water for their families.
He prayed, “O Lord God, be kind to me and to Abraham today. I’m going to stand here to watch the young women come to get water. I will say, ‘May I have a drink.’
May the one who answers, ‘Have a drink and I will water your camels too,’ be the one You have chosen for Isaac’s wife.”
The servant had not even finished his prayer when a beautiful and kind girl named Rebekah came to the well to get water.
The servant said, “Please, give me a drink.”
“Of course, take some of my water.”
Then Rebekah saw his thirsty camels and said, “I’ll get water for your camels too.”
It was hard work but Rebekah ran back and forth to the well to get water for the thirsty camels. Finally, all the camels had plenty of water to drink.
Abraham’s servant was so happy! God had answered his prayer. He knew Rebekah was the right wife for Isaac. The servant gave Rebekah two gold bracelets and a gold nose ring.
“Whose daughter are you? Is there room for my camels and me to stay overnight at your house?” he asked.
“My father is Bethuel the son of Nahor. Yes, there is room at our house. I will go and tell my family.”
How thankful the servant was. Of all the people he could meet on his journey God had led him straight to Abraham’s relatives!
The servant went to Rebekah’s home and explained who he was and why he was there. Rebekah’s father, Bethuel, and brother, Laban, listened carefully to the servant explain how God had led him to their house and to Rebekah. Everyone was amazed at this.
And they were also happy when they heard how God had blessed their relative, Abraham. He had left them long ago and they were so happy that he still loved God like they did.
Then the servant asked an important question, “Will you let Rebekah travel with me back to Canaan to marry Isaac?”
Bethuel agreed that this was what God would want so they said “yes”. Abraham’s servant wanted to leave right away but Rebekah’s family did not want her to go yet. They finally said, “We will let Rebekah decide.”
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
Click here to download the slideshow or click here to download the pictures to print. Each teacher is unique so only use the illustrations that best relate to the way YOU are telling the story in THIS lesson. Too many illustrations can be confusing so eliminate any that cover other stories or details you do not wish to emphasise in this lesson.
- Why didn’t Abraham want Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman? Because Canaanites did not believe in God.
- Where did Abraham send his servant to find a wife for Isaac? Back to Haran where their relatives were living.
- How did Abraham’s servant know which woman was the right wife for Isaac? He prayed that the woman who gave him water and offered to water his camels also would be the right woman.
- What was Isaac’s wife’s name? Rebekah
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Decorate a wedding feast and celebrate Isaac and Rebekah’s marriage. Guests can make wedding speeches where they recount how Isaac and Rebekah met.
- Find Haran on a Bible map.
- Show pictures from your wedding or someone you know. Talk about the importance of marrying a Christian.
- Ask a Christian couple from your church to come and talk to the class about how they help each other follow God.
- Have the children list attributes to look for in a Christian husband or wife.
- Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
Other Online Resources:
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets at http://calvarycurriculum.org/
- Colouring page at http://www.christiananswers.net/
- Craft: Rebekah’s jewelry craft http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/
- Craft: Make a camel like the ones Rebecca watered at the well (Printable).
Instructions at http://learncreatelove.com/?p=4525
- Worksheets: There are a number of Old Testament worksheets on the following link. Just scroll down to “Isaac and Rebekah”. The link is http://www.squidoo.com/
- Various puzzles and activities about Rebekah specifically (covers more than one story) at http://gardenofpraise.com/
- Lesson: Great visuals to print and worksheet ideas found at http://kidsbibledebjackson.blogspot.co.nz/