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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Rebekah

Biblical, exact dates uncertain, ancient Israel

The Old Testament relates that Rebekah was a young girl from the countryside who married Isaac, son of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham. She and Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob, and it was prophesied that the older of the two (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob). At the end of Isaac’s life, Rebekah, remembering the prophecy, tricked her husband into blessing Jacob as his heir instead of Esau, as he had intended. When Esau vowed to kill Jacob for stealing his patrimony, Rebekah sent her favorite into the countryside to wait out Esau’s anger. During this time, he met the sisters Leah and Rachel and married both of them.

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. Rebeccah at the Well, 18th century. Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

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