As far as the Israelites were concerned I guess the first born males had it quite bad in the pre-anaesthetic department (I'm thinking foreskins and flint) but can anyone shed light on how you get a nose ring through a total stranger's nostril on meeting her at the local well? This is Rebekah's story and she seems a remarkably together young woman to leave everything at a moment's notice for a life of wifely obedience in Cana (the fact that she turns out to be quite a dab hand at wheeling and dealing herself comes later...)
You really have to get into Ancient mindset here. It's not so much 'Would you like to leave your family and come away to a foreign land to marry a man more than twice your age, whom you have never met?' more 'It would seem you have been divinely chosen to be honoured with wealth, status and marriage to your first cousin once removed, not to mention receiving a whacking piece of gold through your nose.'
Amazingly for a society where ownership of women was an entirely normal concept, there does appear to be some leeway offered to her with regards to the wife-hunting project: 'Let's call the girl and ask her about it' (Genesis 24:57). But she is game and off she goes.
Now I'm a terrible romantic, so here's how the episode ends:
The camels, weary from the long journey, slow to a halt as they approach the field where Isaac, fresh from the Negev, is 'meditating' ('Gosh, I'll need a bath sometime...') Rebekah, getting down from her camel, spots him walking across the field (a bit like the end of the Kiera Knightly Pride and Prejudice film...swelling music...) Rebekah asks the servant 'Is that HIM?' and when told yes, veils herself, being a modest young woman. Isaac is quickly informed, 'By the way, this is your bride.' And the text says 'Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother, Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.' (Gen. 24:67).