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Bible Women

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Rebekah

The values in Genesis are disobeyed by yet another woman who does not conform to the female model of a fertile mother. While fertility is an overriding value in god's human construct that women in Genesis threaten to undermine women also obstruct the "natural" course of history which god has set in motion as part of his ideal world. After god reconstructs the world through Noah and then Abraham, the divine element withdraws from the world slightly, and a natural historical course begins to play out through the momentum that god has initiated.

The incident in Genesis in which a woman interferes with this momentum involves Rebekah, who intervenes on behalf of her second born son, Jacob. As a result of Rebekah's manipulative orders, Jacob, the younger son, inherits the divine blessing from Isaac, though it is clear from the text that Jacob's brother, Esau, had been Isaac's favored child. Rebekah's actions are rebellious because they result in the violation of the law of primogeniture that seems to have been the standard practice of inheritance in the book of Genesis. And by reassigning the inheritance, Rebekah threatens to destroy the course of events god has anticipated en route to the creation of his select nation. While the text shows that Rebekah had received a prophecy that "the older would serve the younger" (25:23), whenever women in Genesis take assertive actions that ramifications, conflict always ensues. Just because Rebekah received a prophecy, there is no indication that she was in any position to actively seek its fulfillment. Jacob, as a result of his mother's initiative, is forced to flee his home for fear that Esau will kill him. The hate between the brothers endures, and just as Sara's infertility caused family conflict, Rebekah's actions likewise cause disruption in the house of Isaac and its descendents. Unlike the instances where the men in genesis take the fate of their family's lives into their own hands under open direction from god, the rare occasions when women, such as Rebekah, take aggressive action, the result is battles

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