One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: a holder of the degree of Rebekah, an honorary rank established in 1851 to be conferred upon the wives or daughters of members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Later: a member of the Rebekahs, the female counterpart to the Odd Fellows which developed from this. Occasionally attributive, as "Rebekah lodge".
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Odd-Fellows' Offering 1854. From Rebekah, the form, in the King James Bible, of the name Rebecca, used in allusion to Genesis 24:60, ‘And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them’.
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