[b-hebrew] Ruth 1: 12 too old for a husband
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Jul 22 12:04:21 EDT 2013
Isaac Fried wrote: “Bear in mind that many of the biblical heroines,
Rebekah, Rachel, Lea, Ruth, Esther, were just little girls (if I correctly
remembers Rashi says Rebekah was 3 years old when she married Isaac, then she
Rebekah was not age 3 years old when she married Isaac.
1. Note that Rebekah’s mother and brother ask Rebekah if Rebekah is
willing to leave with Abraham’s servant now, to go all the long way to Canaan to
marry Isaac. No one would ask a 3-year-old such a question.
“56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered
my way; send me away that I may go to my master. 57 And they said, We will
call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. 58 And they called Rebekah,
and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. 59
And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's
servant, and his men.” Genesis 24: 56-59
2. Rebekah’s implied age when she marries Isaac is age 15 years [in
12-month years]. We are never given any exact age for Rebekah, but here is what
can logically be implied.
We know that Sarah was 10 shanah younger than Abraham, since Sarah is age
90 shanah and Abraham is age 100 shanah when Isaac is born. [See Genesis
17: 17.] Per Mark Cohen’s “The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East”,
the archaic meaning of “shanah” was “the turn of the year”, meaning a
6-month period. I myself see the truly ancient Patriarchal narratives as
setting forth each person’s age in terms of archaic shanah, that is, in terms
of 6-month periods, not 12-month years. On that view of the case, Sarah
gives birth to Isaac at age 45 years [in 12-month years], and Sarah is 5
years younger than her husband Abraham. We know that Isaac was age 40 shanah
when he married Rebekah. Genesis 25: 20. It is implied, though not
expressly stated, that Abraham, like Isaac, married at age 40 shanah, with each
being age 20 years old [in 12-month years], and that Rebekah, like Sarah,
was 5 years younger than her husband, with Rebekah thus being age 15 years
when she married Isaac.
All of those ages are completely reasonable in the ancient world.
3. The following verse fits perfectly a 15-year-old bride who, per
Genesis 24: 16, was very beautiful and still a virgin, while not fitting a
3-year-old child bride:
“And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and
she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his
mother's death.” Genesis 24: 67
The reason why Rebekah did not bear Isaac a son right away was not because
Rebekah was too young for childbearing, but rather was because, like Sarah
before her and Rachel after her, Rebekah had to wait for years for the
divine gift of fertility.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the b-hebrew