A Fine 19th century White Marble Sculpture of “Rebecca at The Well” depicting a Classical maiden wearing a robe, with one breast semi-exposed, standing next to a well holding a water urn. Probably Italian Carrara Marble. Artist unknown. Circa: 1880-1890.
Note: The base of the sculpture bears the inscription 'Edmonia Lewis', however we do not believe nor represent that this sculpture is by Lewis, as we believe the inscription is spurious and was added later. This is most likely an Italian school 19th century sculpture.
Height 40 3/4 inches (103.5 cm)
Width 20 inches (50.8 cm)
Depth: 13 1/2 inches (34.3 cm)
Ref.: A2037 - Lot 11107
Rebecca appears in the Hebrew Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. According to biblical tradition, Rebecca's father was Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram, also called Aram-Naharaim. Rebecca's brother was Laban the Aramean, and she was the granddaughter of Milcah and Nahor, the brother of Abraham. Rebecca and Isaac were one of the four couples that some believe are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs, the other three being Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Leah.
After the Binding of Isaac, Sarah died. After taking care of her burial, Abraham went about finding a wife for his son Isaac, who was already 37 years old. He commanded his servant (whom the Torah commentators identify as Eliezer of Damascus) to journey to his birthplace of Aram Naharaim to select a bride from his own family, rather than engage Isaac to a local Canaanite girl. Abraham sent along expensive jewelry, clothing and dainties as gifts to the bride and her family. If the girl had refused to follow him, Abraham stated that Eliezer would be absolved of his responsibility.
The servant devised a test in order to find the right wife for Isaac. As he stood at the central well in Abraham's birthplace with his men and ten camels laden with goods, he prayed to God:
'And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.'
— Genesis 24:14
To his surprise, a young girl immediately came out and offered to draw water for him to drink, as well as water to fill the troughs for all his camels. Rebecca continued to draw water until all the camels were sated, proving her kind and generous nature and her suitability for entering Abraham's household.
The servant immediately gave her a golden nose ring and two golden bracelets (Genesis 24:22), which Rebecca hurried to show her mother. Seeing the jewelry, Rebecca's brother Laban ran out to greet the guest and bring him inside. The servant recounted the oath he made to Abraham and all the details of his trip to and meeting with Rebecca in fine detail, after which her brother Laban and her father Bethuel agreed that she could return with him. After hosting the party overnight, however, the family tried to keep Rebecca with them longer. The servant insisted that they ask the girl herself, and she agreed to go immediately. Her family sent her off with her nurse, Deborah (according to Rashi), and blessed her, "Our sister, may you come to be thousands of myriads, and may your offspring inherit the gate of its foes."
Rebecca at the Well by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
As Rebecca and her entourage approached Abraham's home, they spied Isaac from a distance in the fields of Beer-lahai-roi. The Talmud and the Midrash explain that Isaac was praying, as he instituted Mincha, the afternoon prayer. Seeing such a spiritually exalted man, Rebecca immediately dismounted from her camel and asked the accompanying servant who he was. When she heard that this was her future husband, she modestly covered herself with a veil. Isaac brought her into the tent of his deceased mother Sarah, married her, and loved her.
According to Rashi, the three miracles that characterized Sarah's tent while she was alive, and that disappeared with her death, reappeared when Rebecca entered the tent. These were: A lamp burned in her tent from Shabbat eve to Shabbat eve, there was a blessing in her dough, and a cloud hovered over her tent (symbolizing the Divine Presence).