Genesis 25:21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

23The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”

First Isaac prayed to God on behave of Rebekah. God answered and she became pregnant.

Then, instead of praying to God for her pregnancy trouble, she inquired God. God answered her with a detailed answer.

This was hundreds of years before Moses organizing the Hebrew religion. How were Rebekah's inquiry and answer accomplished? Did she use ancient divination?

  • 1
    The question needs some clarity and detail. Isaac prayed yet you did not ask whether he used 'ancient divination' (since Moses had not yet 'organised' the Hebrew religion). Isaac prayed and was answered. Rebekah inquired and was answered. And Moses received revelation from God. What exactly is your question about ? – Nigel J Feb 22 at 15:31
  • Shem the son of Noach was still alive at age 538. - Rivqah may have inquired of Shem. – חִידָה Feb 22 at 16:59
  • Why cannot someone inquire through prayer? Isaac prayed to ask a blessing; Rebekah prayed to ask a question. – Hold To The Rod Feb 22 at 22:25

How were Rebekah's inquiry and answer accomplished?

The expression "inquire of God" seems to be a technical term. It appears in 1 Samuel 9:9

Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquire of God, they would say, "Come, let us go to the seer," because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.

Did she use ancient divination?

I don't think so. She was the wife of Issac who was chosen by God to be separate from other peoples of the earth. She consulted a seer.

Benson Commentary

Probably she consulted Melchizedek, or some other holy person, who was favoured with divine revelations: or perhaps the expression only means that she addressed herself to God in prayer.

Pulpit expresses similar sentiments.

either through a prophet, - Shem (Luther), Melchisedeck (Jewish interpreters), Heber (Lyra); more likely Abraham (Grotius, Ainsworth, Wordsworth, Kalisch, 'Speaker's Commentary'), or Isaac, the prophet nearest her (Lange), - or through herself by prayer,


In Genesis 25:22 - Did רִבְקָ֥ה Rivqah go to [a] נָּבִ֜יא Prophet? (How did Rebekah לִדְר֥שׁ אֶת־יְהֹוָֽה "inquire of YHVH"?)

  • Shem the son of Noach was still alive at age 538. - Rivqah may have inquired of Shem, since he did live to be 600 years old [Genesis 11:10-11].

  • Commentary by Chizkuni on Bereishit 25:22 quoting וַתֵּ֖לֶךְ לִדְרֹ֥שׁ אֶת־יְהוָֽה suggests there were many Nevi'im / Prophets of YHVH . -- Yet the name of the Navi' that רִבְקָ֥ה Rivqah went to is not mentioned :

'ותלך לדרוש את ה, “she went to obtain an answer to her problem from one of the prophets in her time.” (Rash’bam) The answer she sought was why the fetuses inside her were engaged in a fight. She was well aware that her term of pregnancy had not yet been completed. She was afraid that after all these pains she might miscarry.


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