I have a very unusual request. First, the subject: Genesis 24 consists of the event of the marriage of Isaac, from beginning to end. In Genesis 24:65, Rebekah, upon being informed that the man toward which her entourage was travelling was the man she had come to marry, is recorded as having covered herself with a vail (veil). Second, a little purpose and background for my requestion: My purpose is to determine why Rebekah covered herself with a vail (I will refer to this as 'the basic question'). The reason I have this purpose is so that I can put the conventional interpretations on trial. The reason I want to put them on trial is because I disagree with them. I found myself with the basic question by way of a very unusual route, and have now studied the matter at length in mostly very unusual ways. And, I'm especially looking for this effort to be made by women, not by men. Third, the basic question in a little more detail: When Rebekah was informed that the man up ahead was Isaac (vs. 65), did she assume that he knew what that woman (herself) in the entourage was doing here in his neighborhood? In other words, at the point at which she covered herself with the vail, did Rebekah assume that Isaac assumed he was engaged to her? In still other words, did she assume that he, upon seeing her, had identified her as his bride? Now, my unusual request: I want you to try to look at the basic question as if for the first time. But, I want this effort to be as interpretively pure as possible: First, try to imagine yourself a small child again, with no particular cultural expectations. Then, while you try to look at the basic question in this child-like way, refuse to impute into the problem any ideas that any 'authoritative' source has ever told you about why Rebekah covered herself with the vail. Once you can maintain this simple mental framework, only then examine the claims made by others as to why Rebekah did this. In short, what I'm looking for here is to put the 'authoriative' claims on trial in the purest, most neutral way possible. I think I have done so myself already, but I want people to try to do the same and then to explain to me why they come to the conclusions they come to. --- My most basic assumption is that this was not strickly an 'arranged' marriage, because I reject as unjust the idea that parents have the right to simply decide who their children shall marry and the children have no right to decline their parent's choice. Here are just a few of my working assumptions: 1) Isaac had not been informed by anyone that his father had done anything, per se, to get him a wife. This would parallel what seems to be the case of Adam's own 'arranged' marriage to Eve: God had told Adam nothing about what was going on, and then, when Adam awoke from (deep) sleep, there was Eve walking into his presence. 2) Regardless of 1), when Isaac saw the camel train coming toward him, he had no way to identify which woman, if any, had agreed to marry him. If we assume 1), then, Isaac did not know what that camel train was doing there. Even if we reject 1), we still have the disjunct as to whether Isaac: a)knew, or b)didn't know, what this camel train was doing there. If we assume a), then we still have the further disjunct as to whether Isaac could have: c)identified, or d)could not have identified, his potential bride prior to being informed by Abraham's servant (vs. 66). 3) In keeping with 2), if not also with 1), Rebekah assumed that Isaac had not identifed her as his (potential) bride even at the point at which the servant told her that the man up ahead was the man she had come to marry. 4) The passages in this chapter which seem to say that this was strickly an 'arranged' marriage are only of the same value as those passages in other chapters the nature of those other events of which are much debated amongst Bible apologists. The most striking of those other events is the one that begins with God's request to Abraham to sacrific Isaac (Genesis 22). The debate over the nature of that event is initially centered on the portion of text within that event that seems to say that God had required of Abraham nothing but obedience per se (especially vs. 18). A much lesser of those other events is the one whose text is Genesis 38, and the debate within which is whether Tamar's vail (veil) served as a sign of a prostitute, or as merely a covering to hide Tamar's identity from Judah (vs. 15). 5)Rebekah was surprised to find that the man up ahead was the man she had come to marry. If this was strickly an 'arranged' marriage, then, with the riches that Isaac had, Abraham would have made Isaac ready to meet his bride, by making sure Isaac was washed, clothed richly, etc.. As rich as she knew Isaac must be, from the gifts that had been brought in exchange for a wife for Isaac, Rebekah expected to meet Isaac in some rich setting and dressed in rich clothes. She did not meet him that way at all, and was surprised. Thus, in keeping with 2) and 3), she acted as any modest young woman of her culture would act in the sudden presence of an unmarried man: cover her face with a veil. Upon their meeting, Isaac looked like a dusty servant, dressed in common clothes---just like the way Jesus was when the world first met him face to face.