Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well

Hans Bol (1534-1593), Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well, engraving, c 1575 [signed and inscribed Rebecca Gen 24 in the plate]. References: Van de Kellen 7, Hollstein 7, first state (of 2).  Trimmed to thread margins outside of the circular borderline, various defects including prior folds, reinforcements verso (some showing through), diameter 177 mm., 6 15/16-7 inches.

A fairly good impression, on old laid paper, before the address of Mariette.

The illustration is from Genesis 24:15. Eliezer was sent by his master Abraham to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son. He went to a well where “the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water” (Gen. 24:13). His test: that he would ask a woman for some water, she’d offer it to him and volunteer to get some for his camels too.  He came upon Rebecca, who “went down to the well, she filled her pitcher, and then ascended. And the servant (Eliezer) ran to greet her and said, ‘let me sip please, a little water from your pitcher. And she said, ‘drink my master’, and she rushed and took down the pitcher from her shoulder and gave him to drink. And when he finished drinking, she said ‘I will also draw for your camels until they finish drinking’. And she rushed and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and she ran yet again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels.”

In Bol’s engraving, we see Eliezer drinking from Rebecca’s pitcher in the lower left, and coming down a hillside path upper left are various women (one resembling Rebecca) carrying pitchers.  Towards the right camels and their riders mingle around the well, and in the background we can make out a tiny Durer-like town.