Like brother like sister – Tracing the roots of Laban and Rebekah, Masters of Deception 👿

Genesis 11:26-31; 15:7; 24:10, 15; 2 Chronicles 36:17; Acts 7:2-3; Revelation 18:1-4

It’s quite surprising how the siblings, Laban and Rebekah, were so innately deceptive. In fact, Rebekah’s deceptive spirit was so deeply engrained in her heart that when Jacob worried that his father could find out about their trick, she said “Let your curse be upon me, my son…” 😮 I therefore wondered where she could have picked up this terrible heart of deception from. 🤔

I started by looking back at the story in Gen. 24 about how she was found by Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, as wife for Isaac. Her father was Bethuel the Syrian, whose mother was Milcah, daughter of Haran. Haran was Abraham’s brother, and Lot was Haran’s son. Bethuel’s father was Nahor i.e. Milcah’s husband, and Nahor was Abraham’s brother. Basically, Abraham, Nahor and Haran were brothers – all from the same father, Terah. Therefore, Nahor married his brother (Haran’s) daugher, Milcah. 

Abraham’s Geneology from Noah

This part of the story reveals that their parents were perhaps also deceitful. Gen 24:50 & 55 – it appears Laban and His father Bethuel had sly tongues. What did they mean by “we cannot speak to you either bad or good”? 🙄 We also see here the foundation of Laban’s future trickery of not letting Jacob go with Rachel after promising her to him – he and his mother didn’t want to let Rebekah go with Eliezer despite having promised to let her go the night before. A family of deceitful people! 😒

However, it gets more interesting when in Gen 24:10, it says Eliezer found Rebekah in “Mesopotamia, the city of Nahor”. So what does the Bible tell us about this country:

  • Acts 2:9 – The Medes dwelt there. If your recall, these wicked people ruled the world with the Persians at some point i.e. Medo-Persia, after Babylon.
  • Deut 23:4 – Balaam the greedy and false prophet, was from Mesopotamia.
  • Judg 3:8 – God delivered the Israelites into the hand of Cushan-Rishthaim, a King of Mesopotamia, for 8 years.
  • 1 Chr 19:6-7 – The Ammonites, enemies of Israel, hired horsemen and chariots from Mesopotamia.
  • Mesopotamia was the land that Abraham’s father took him out of. 
  • In Acts 7:2-4, Mesopotamia is also called Ur of the Chaldeans. This was also corroborated in Gen 15:7. 
  • The Chaldeans were also called the Babylonians – recall Nebuchadnezzar was their King. He took Daniel, Ezekiel and others captive; and destroyed the first temple of Israel (Read 2 Chr 36).

Basically, Mesopotamia was an evil land and God didn’t want His son of promise, Abraham, abiding anywhere near there. Abraham also didn’t ever want his son Isaac returning there (Gen 24:6). Coincidentally, the story of Abraham moving out of this land comes just after the Tower of Babel story in the same chapter (Gen 11) and we know that Babel is the source name for Babylon. As mentioned earlier, the Bible lets us know that the Chaldeans are same as the Babylonians, and Gen 11:28 tells us that this was the native land of Abraham.

To summarize, given all we know about the land in which Rebekah and Laban grew up in (NB: Sarah, Abraham’s wife who encouraged him to sleep with her maid, appears to also have been a daugher of Mesopotamia as Abraham seemingly found her there), we shouldn’t be much surprised that Abraham getting a wife for Isaac from an evil land led to some problems (though perhaps not as bad as if Isaac hadn’t married from his father’s family, or if he’d married a woman from the corrupt land of Canaan). Laban (who deceived Jacob after working to marry his daughter) and Rebekah (who caused her son Jacob to deceive his father) grew up amidst all sorts of evil and clearly learnt a lot of deception from their time there. The experience of Lot and his family in Sodom and Gomorrah is instructive here.

It is also striking that just as Abraham was called by God to leave the land of deception, Mesopotmia/Ur of the Chaldeans/Babylon (Gen 12, Acts 7:2), God’s children are in these end times also called to “come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues”. Rev 18:1-4. Wow – the Bible is indeed one well crafted and spiritually inspired book!

The question we should be asking is what is spiritual Babylon today? No matter how long God’s children have spent in Babylon’s deceptions, God is still willing to accept them before it’s too late, just like Jacob was rescued from the great deceptions of his mother and uncle. It however also required great effort on his part, a genuine desire to leave. 😇🙏🏾

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