From the Christian Fiction: Biblical section

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A Novel

by Jill Eileen Smith


Price: £8.99
Publisher:Revell imprint of Baker Pub from Lion
Published:March 2013
How beautifully Jill Eileen Smith crafts her novel around the bare bones of the biblical story of Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, in the book of Genesis, chapters 24 to 27, staying as close as she can to the original text, which she actually quotes at the start of each part of the book. Not much to go on really, but her fictional additions do ring true. There's Rebekah's devotion to her father, and her brother, both named Bethuel, and the tension between her and her mother, Nuriah, and other brother, Laban. There's the passionate love between Rebekah and Isaac, and her affection for Isaac's father, Abraham. But there's also the deep and lasting scar on Isaac's, and his mother Sarah's relationship with Abraham, following Abraham's "binding" of his son, when he takes Isaac up a mountain, believing it is God's will that he should sacrifice him, a fate only averted at the last minute, thanks to the providential appearance of a ram for sacrifice. It is a long time before Isaac can understand, let alone forgive, his father's action. Years later comes the long and profound estrangement between Isaac and Rebekah, when Isaac shows a preference for one of their twin sons, Esau, while Rebekah favours the other twin, Jacob. Isaac is unable to accept the truth of Rebekah's earlier vision pointing to Jacob as the superior one. The perils of Rebekah's over-possessiveness show when she masterminds the deception that gains Jacob's blessing from Isaac when it should have been given to Esau. Rebekah is not perfect in this novel! Finally, in the book's last four pages, Isaac and Rebekah are reconciled, in their old age. "'We have each other', Isaac said. 'Yes, we do.' She kissed his cheek. And for now, that was enough." Jill comments that this was a hard book to write. "I stressed and prayed over every scene, certain I would never pull the story together." But God, in His grace, helped her to finish it. "I am in awe of a heavenly Father who used a difficult story to tell me much about Himself, about His character. May I never stop trusting Him." Hard to write but thoroughly enjoyable to

Reviewer: Barry Vendy   (03/07/13)

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