Questions to Consider
1. Who are the three women named in verses 1-18? What was the relationship of each to Abraham? To the Abrahamic Covenant? Based on your answers to these questions, why don’t we hear anything else about the sons of Keturah and Hagar after Genesis 25? Why does the Bible follow the story of Abraham’s lineage through Sarah (Isaac) instead?
2. Why, in terms of inheritance and the Abrahamic Covenant, would Abraham have sent the sons of Keturah and Hagar away from Isaac? (6)
3. Briefly describe Sarah’s, Keturah’s, and Hagar’s “callings” in life. Did Hagar and Keturah have less intrinsic value as people in God’s eyes than Sarah did simply because their roles in Old Testament history were different from hers? Does the fact that God calls different people to different roles in life mean that He values or loves people with “important” roles more? Who places or allows people to be in the roles or life circumstances they’re in? Does God view our status in life the same way people do?
4. Do you see some similarities between Sarah and Rebekah in this chapter?
🍼 What is the first similarity we see in verse 21 (compare with 11:29-30)?
🍼🍼 Compare Isaac’s age when he married Rebekah (20) to his age when Jacob and Esau were born (26). How long did Isaac and Rebekah wait for God to open her womb? How long did Abraham and Sarah wait (compare 12:1-4 with 21:5)?
🍼🍼🍼 After opening their wombs, how many sons of the Covenant did Sarah have? How sons of the Covenant did Rebekah (24) have?
🍼🍼🍼🍼 How did Rebekah (23) and Sarah (17:19) find out about these Covenant sons?
5. Consider Rebekah’s possible concerns and emotional state at being barren for so long, and then bearing only two sons, when God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be “as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore”. How might God have used these circumstances in her life to teach her to trust Him? (22-23)
6. How do the motifs of barrenness, miraculous conception, and the one, promised, long-awaited son of the Covenant foreshadow the birth of Christ?
7. How does the story of Esau despising his birthright and Jacob redeeming it further confirm what God told Rebekah in verse 23 – that Jacob would be the son of the Abrahamic Covenant?
Think about the roles and statuses God has placed you in. Are you famous? Unknown? Do you wield a lot of power and influence, or very little? Are you wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between?
Read the Parable of the Talents. “Talents” were units of money the master entrusted to his servants to invest. What kinds of blessings, influence, resources, and abilities has God entrusted to you? Your marriage? Your singleness? Your home? The position you serve in at church? Money? Your children? Your job? Your relationships with friends?
What matters to God – how many of these things He has blessed you with, or how you steward them for His glory (see verses 21 &23)? List three ways you can faithfully make the most of the roles and statuses God has called you to for His glory.
Suggested Memory Verse
And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”