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In Genesis 24 55-59 it says the following:

55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you may go.”

56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”

57 Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”

“I will go,” she said.

59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men.

Why would it say they (mother and brother) sent their sister away? Rebecca is not a sister to her mother.

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If one is a son, grandson, or great-grandson or beyond, the word "son" applies in Biblical reckoning. The same is true of daughters. This is easy to demonstrate, given the passages surrounding Rebekah.

45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.... 47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, the daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. (Genesis 24:45,47, KJV)

Notice that Rebekah tells Eliezer that she is the daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son. That means she was the granddaughter of Nahor. Now look at the next verse.

And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son. (Genesis 24:48, KJV)

Abraham and Nahor were brothers (see Genesis 11:26; 22:23). But Rebekah was not the daughter of Abraham's brother (to our reckoning), she was his granddaughter--yet Eliezer refers to her as Nahor's "daughter."

This shows that generational gaps were lightly regarded when considering family ties.

However, there is another possible phenomenon here. No mention is made of Rebekah's father interacting with Eliezer or the family at this time. Apparently, he has already passed away, for if he had been living, Abraham's servant would surely have asked permission of the lady's father to take her with him to Isaac.

In the society of that time, with their father having already passed away, Laban, the only son mentioned, is now man of the house. As the patriarch of the family, he is the authority figure, even though he is young. So it is his prerogative to decide the case of his sister, and therefore the focus of "they" (Rebekah's family members) falls centrally to him. This would help to explain why "sister" applies.

But supposing the text had said "sister and daughter" or something of this nature; would that not cause the reader to think that two persons were involved in place of one? Evidently, Moses expected the reader to be intelligent enough to understand the story without superfluous explanations of this nature. The use of "sister" suffices.

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  • An unbeliever would not understand why a mother would send her sister away. Even though there’s an entire back story as to why it would still not resonate with an unbeliever. An answer instead of a rude comment would suffice. Answers are what this website is for if your intelligent enough to know that.
    – Nat
    Mar 22, 2023 at 15:41

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