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"Coffee & Croissant" is a daily short commentary on one or two verses. This is a five-minute exercise aimed at increasing your knowledge of the wider and deeper meanings of individual words or phrases found in the Bible. So much of our lives have been spent simply repeating the same spiritual words without really digging into them. This quick study will give you a word to think about, a word that has vital importance to your life right now.
Today's Word by Author Skip Moen of At God's Table
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; Genesis 24:67
Took – It’s symptomatic of our Greek cultural ethos that we immediately think of the Hebrew word laqah from the perspective of eros. When the text says that Isaac took Rebekah, we filter the description through the Greek idea of possessive attraction (eros). We see this in relation to power. One takes, the other gives. Master and slave. Controller and controlled. Our view of marriage is so Greek that we fail to recognize what is really happening here.
The pictograph for the Hebrew laqah helps us correct this misogynic view of marriage. What does laqah really describe? It is the picture of what comes from control with an open hand. This is not about power. It is about benevolent authority. Isaac does not dominate Rebekah. He does not demand, compel or require. He provides authority with an open hand. He protects. He honors. He guides. He gives. This kind of laqah leads directly to the summation, “he loved her.”
The initial Hebrew consonants (Lamed-Qof) describe control with an open hand. They stand in opposition to the usual idea of taking something or someone. Below the surface, Hebrew suggests that taking is related to benevolence and stewardship, not power and decree. To take is really to receive from the Lord by governing with an open palm. But this word is not a two consonant construction. It adds the final consonant Hey, meaning “what comes from” or “behold.” There is something amazing about taking. “Behold, control with an open palm.” Control that comes from an open palm is God’s way. No clenched fist of power permeates the heavenly realm. God rules in gentle persuasion. He has no hidden agenda. He rules by invitation, not constraint. His definition of taking is an oxymoron in this world. This sign of heaven on earth is possession without power. This is open marriage; marriage that does not rely on a hierarchy or a dictator but on stewardship and surrender.
The more we examine the vocabulary of marriage, the more we encounter the framework of God’s relationship with all human beings. Isaac, the Old Testament typology of Yeshua, accepts the responsibility of stewardship over his bride, brought to him by his father. He governs with benevolence and devotion. Rebekah, the virgin bride redeemed from a far land for her husband, surrenders to him because, as the Scripture says, “he loved her.” It all foreshadows another marriage; one that is still to be completed.
Is this the kind of marriage you enjoy? Does this story from the Torah describe your relationship with the coming King? In both physical and spiritual realms, does your relationship breathe the air of benevolence and devotion, of purity and submission? Or are you a confused Greek, trying to build a house on the sand of eros (possession) by exercising power?
Topical Index: Marriage