a conversation by a roadside

Questions for Reflection and Discussion – Genesis 24

The text we’re studying for Sunday, October 28, is Genesis 24, and in particular the sections of the narrative that focus on what Rebekah does and says. Here are a few questions we might want to consider in class:

What image do we have of Rebekah from her description in vv15-20? Where does that image come from? (E.g., something in the text? Pictures or books we remember from our past? Other similar stories? …) Rabbinical tradition understands Rebekah to be 14 years old at this point. How does that compare with our impressions? Does it change our understanding of the story at all? How? Why?

What does the text tell us, or imply, about Rebekah’s character? Where do we see this in the text? How important are these character traits, do we think? Why?

What role do the nose ring and the bracelets that the servant “takes out” (v22) seem to play in the story? Who seems to be affected by them? Why, do we think? How is Rebekah affected by them, do we think? Why do we think that?

The text gives us, as readers, some reasons to believe that Rebekah’s marriage to Isaac has been arranged by God (v7, v14). Does Rebekah know this, or think this, do we think? How, and what makes us think this? Does Rebekah make the decision she makes for this reason, do we think, or for other reasons? Again, why do we think this?

How would we describe the role of God in Rebekah’s life at this point in the story – that is, up through the end of chapter 24? What does this suggest about the role of God in our lives? In the lives of people we know? In the lives of people we don’t know?

Would this story help us know whether an opportunity is from God or not? How? Have we ever known, or thought, that an opportunity was from God? How did we know, or think, that? Did our thinking seem to be correct? What made us think that – that is, what have we used as evidence that an opportunity we accepted was from God?

Would we call this a love story? Why or why not? Would we call this a faith story? Again, why or why not?

Overall, we can think about the role that Rebekah’s response to this opportunity played in the ongoing development of the story of the people of God, and about how we, ourselves, identify and respond to opportunities that arise in our lives, especially when we sense the hand of God operating in those opportunities.

Here are a few recent links that might be relevant to themes in this text:

“Living by faith: Holloways embark on journey to answer God’s calling”

“Ethiopian native Scott thankful for opportunities in Bozeman”

Little Potato, a short film on a Russian mail-order bride’s experience [but be forewarned about possibly unwelcome themes of abuse, alternative sexualities, and politics]

a conversation by a roadside

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