Rebecca and Eliezer

Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Rebecca and Eliezer, 1650. Oil on canvas, Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682) was a Spanish Baroque painter who often translated biblical stories into genre (scenes of everyday life) painting. In this work Murillo takes the story of Rebecca and Eliezer from the book of Genesis and sets it in a typical Spanish Andalusian town. Eliezer, shown drinking from the bucket, has traveled a great distance to find a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac. Four women with charming expressions surround the well, curious about the stranger in their midst. Rebecca, who stands out in a bright red garment, offers Eliezer a drink as his camels rest in the background. Eliezer chooses Rebecca for Isaac’s wife because she offered such kindness to the weary travelers. Murillo depicts all the women as beautiful and graceful, stressing the point that Eliezer’s decision was based on kindness, not beauty. In the story, in order to secure her approval for the marriage, Eliezer offers Rebecca valuable jewels, which she accepts.

Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Rebecca and Eliezer. Oil on canvas, 1650. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Before the Common Era; a notation used in place of B.C. ("before Christ") for years before the current calendar era.

A category or type, often of literary work.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.