Rebekah, Rebekah, Rebekah… I get it!

So I was reading through Genesis the other day and noticed that when it comes to tell the story of Abraham’s servant finding Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, which is told entirely in Genesis 24, multiple times you hear the story told of how it is that the servant comes to find Rebekah as the wife of Isaac. First the servant prays that the girl who gives him and his camels water will be the one, then you see this acted out as Rebekah does so, and then the servant tells it to Laban, that she who gave him and his camels water would be the one.

So why?

I get it. I even get bored of reading the whole event the third time. Yeah, Rebekah did what you prayed for. We get it. But I wondering, if repetition is a literary mechanism, and this really is repetition, than why is it in there for? Why is this event repeated three times to us? What is the author trying to show.

I’ve pondered this a bit and wondered if maybe, like Isaac, there is a threefold repetition that this is the wife of Isaac, as the promise was repeated to Abraham and Sarah multiple times before if happened. Maybe a connection? Or mabye there is something more? I can’t completely get it.

Any thoughts?


4 Responses to Rebekah, Rebekah, Rebekah… I get it!

  1. I like your thought Cam that this may have been the author’s attempt to focus on the promise made to Abraham. He does so by telling us what we already know through the eyes of Abraham’s servant. I think your right in the narrative point being tied up in the Lord’s promise to Abraham, and we learn of this through the faith steps of the servant.

    On a different note, why do we essentially get the same story with Jacob and Rachel? And is there any correlation between these “well” scenes and John 4?

  2. That, Gregg, is a good question. I don’t think I thought about the John 4 correlation (a good word!) when I was reading it. I might have to go check them out.

  3. ryandavidtopper says:

    Oh that’s such a fun question!

  4. joewulf says:

    To pile on another question (which is always easier than answering one): what differences between the three tellings will a good reader notice and how does it effect characterization and plot? I could write a post on this, but it would all be Meir Sternberg’s material from his book The Poetics of Biblical Narrative–and that was some pretty awesome stuff!

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