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A Tanzanian women’s Bible study about Rebekah

This weekend I participated in a Zoom Bible study (audio only) with women graduates of TAFES. It was facilitated by an Associate of TAFES who runs a life coaching business. It was about Rebekah, an example of a woman who saw through her plans which succeeded even in a problematic situation, and what women today can learn from her.

The leader started with some facts about Rebekah from Genesis 24 and 25 and then some information of her virtues and shortcomings. I think there was also a discussion of Rebekah’s infertility but I missed it because I was interrupted by a child. Her virtues included that she was a virgin when she became engaged to Isaac, that she was a hard worker and that she was a go-getter. Her shortcomings included deceiving her husband and favouring one child over another.

The main point of discussion the leader wanted us to see was about Rebekah as God’s helper, the one who helped to bring about his purposes. His plan all along had been to bless Jacob; it was through Rebekah’s actions that this was accomplished as she gave Jacob the plan to get the blessing from Isaac. In this sense, she was the enabler of God’s purposes. So, the point of application we discussed was how women today can also be co-labourers with God, like Rebekah working to bring about his purposes.

I totally loved this perspective! Rebekah’s relationship to her husband was on view, and we discussed whether she should have deceived Isaac (unsurprisingly, the consensus was no) but her story was not mined for lessons about how to be a helper to your husband, but how to be a helper to God. It was not Isaac’s purposes that Rebekah was driven by but God’s.

The answers about how to co-labour with God were expressed in typically feminine roles, for example, to raise children well. In the case of Esau and Jacob, one can definitely see how this kind of work can have wide-ranging effects and consequences, since they were to become ‘two nations’.

The Bible study will continue in the coming weeks I’m told, so I’m looking forward to continuing to be involved.

Categories: Tanzanian culture Woman Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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