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A Wife for Isaac

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A WIFE FOR ISAAC
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Abraham Seeks a Wife for Isaac

As Abraham nears the end of his life, he is concerned that his son Isaac might be drawn away from Canaan – ‘the land of promise’ – back to Mesopotamia in order to find a wife from among their kinsfolk at Haran. So Abraham arranges for his chief steward to go back to Haran to seek a wife for Isaac.
In due course, the steward sets out for Aram Naharaim (‘Aram of the Rivers’ in north west Mesopotamia).

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Rebekah: Haran to Hebron

Rebekah returns to Hebron with Abraham’s servant.

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Rebekah Meets Isaac

When Rebekah arrives, Isaac has just returned with the flocks from the wilderness of Beer Lahai Roi (‘The well of the Living One who sees me’ - see Genesis 16:13). Isaac falls in love with Rebekah and later marries her.

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Isaac Moves to Gerar

Famine strikes the semi-arid uplands of southern Canaan, so Isaac moves to the more fertile territory of the Philistines on the coastal plain. He settles in the Philistine city of Gerar where he pretends that Rebekah is his sister so the Philistines don’t kill him.

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Isaac Forced to Move

Isaac is forced by the Philistines to move to Beersheba. God renews his covenant promise and Isaac’s servants dig another well. Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, makes peace and Isaac prepares a feast. The new well is called Shibah (‘Promise’).

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Haran

Haran is one of the oldest cities on earth that is still inhabited today. Founded by settlers migrating west from Mesopotamia in the 18th century BC, the city was at its peak during the Hittite Empire, based on Central Anatolia in the 12th century BC. It was already centuries old when the Hittites fought Ramesses II of Egypt at the Battle of Kadesh in 939 BC.

Modern travellers to Harran (Haran), near Altinbaşak in eastern Turkey, can sense the antiquity of the settlement when they encounter its decaying walls, the ruins of the ancient 11th century citadel, and the remains of the Old Mosque. Haran is famous for its unique beehive-shaped mudbrick houses that originated in the 3rd century BC and which have been rebuilt in the same style many times during the intervening centuries.

Traditional bee-hive shaped houses at Harran  (Glumik)

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