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Genesis 24

24
Genesis 24
1¶ And Abraham was old and well stricken in age, and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
2And Abraham said unto his eldest slave of his house, who ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh,
3and I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of the heavens and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell;
4but thou shalt go unto my country and to my kindred and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
5And the slave said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land, must I therefore bring thy son again unto the land from which thou didst come?
6And Abraham said unto him, Beware that thou not bring my son there again.
7The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred and who spoke unto me and swore unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from there.
8And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be free from this my oath; only do not bring my son there again.
9Then the slave put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning that matter.
10¶ And the slave took ten camels of the camels of his master and departed with the best of what his master had in his hand; and he arose and went to Aram-naharaim, unto the city of Nahor.
11And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
12And he said, O Lord, God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, to have a good encounter this day and show mercy unto my master Abraham.
13Behold, I stand here by the fountain of water, and the daughters of the men of the city come out for water:
14And 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 to drink also; let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy slave Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shown mercy unto my master.
15And it came to pass before he had done speaking that, behold, Rebekah came out (who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother) with her pitcher upon her shoulder.
16And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known; and she went down to the fountain and filled her pitcher and was coming back up.
17Then the slave ran to meet her and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
18And she said, Drink, my lord, and she hastened to let down her pitcher upon her hand and gave him drink.
19And when she had finished giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also until they have finished drinking.
20And she hastened and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water and drew for all his camels.
21And the man marveled at her in silence, to see whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not.
22And it came to pass as the camels had finished drinking that the man took a golden pendant of half a shekel weight and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold
23and said, Whose daughter art thou? Tell me, I pray thee; is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in?
24And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she gave birth unto Nahor.
25She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and fodder enough and room to lodge in.
26Then the man bowed down his head and worshipped the Lord.
27And he said, Blessed be the Lord, God of my master Abraham, who has not lifted his mercy and his truth from my master, the Lord leading me in the way to the house of my master’s brethren.
28And the damsel ran and told those of her mother’s house these things.
29¶ And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban; and Laban ran out unto the man to the fountain.
30And it came to pass when he saw the pendant and the bracelets upon his sister’s hands, she said, Thus spoke the man unto me; then he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the fountain.
31And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; why dost thou stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and the place for the camels.
32Then the man came into the house, and Laban ungirded his camels and gave straw and fodder for the camels and water to wash his feet and the men’s feet that were with him.
33And they set food before him to eat, but he said, I will not eat until I have told my errand. And he said unto him, Speak on.
34And he said, I am Abraham’s slave.
35And the Lord has blessed my master greatly, and he is become great; and he has given him flocks and herds and silver and gold and menslaves and maidslaves and camels and asses.
36And Sarah, my master’s wife, bore a son to my master when she was old, unto whom he has given all that he has.
37And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell;
38but thou shalt go unto my father’s house and to my kindred and take from there a wife for my son.
39And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.
40And he said unto me, The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my lineage and of my father’s house;
41then shalt thou be free from this my oath, when thou hast come unto my lineage; and if they give her not unto thee, thou shalt be free from my oath.
42And I came this day unto the fountain and said, O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if now thou dost prosper my way by which I go,
43behold, I stand by the fountain of water; let it come to pass, therefore, that the virgin who comes forth to draw water unto whom I say, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;
44and if she shall say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels, let the same be the woman whom the Lord has prepared for my master’s son.
45And before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder, and she went down unto the fountain and drew water, and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.
46And she made haste and let down her pitcher from her shoulder and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also; so I drank, and she gave to drink unto the camels also.
47And I asked her and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore unto him. Then I put the pendant over her nose and the bracelets upon her hands.
48And I bowed down my head and worshipped the Lord and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of the truth to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son.
49And now if ye will deal in mercy and truth with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.
50Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceeds from the Lord; we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.
51Behold, Rebekah is before thee; take her and go and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the Lord has spoken.
52And it came to pass that when Abraham’s slave heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth.
53And the slave brought forth vessels of silver and vessels of gold and raiment and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother.
54¶ And they ate and drank, he and the men that were with him, and slept; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.
55Then her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.
56And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord has prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.
57Then they said, We will call the damsel and enquire at her mouth.
58And they called Rebekah and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
59So they sent away Rebekah, their sister, and her nurse and Abraham’s slave and his men.
60And they blessed Rebekah and said unto her, Thou art our sister; be thou the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed possess the gate of those who hate them.
61And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels and followed the man; and the slave took Rebekah and went away.
62¶ And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the land of the Negev.
63And Isaac had gone out to pray in the field at the evening hour; and he lifted up his eyes and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
64And Rebekah also lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
65For she had asked the slave, What man is this that walks in the field to meet us? And the slave had said, This is my master; therefore she took a veil and covered herself.
66Then the slave told Isaac all the things that he had done.
67And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent and took Rebekah as his wife; and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
24
1Abraham by now was old, really old, and the Lord had blessed him in every possible way. 2At that time Abraham told his oldest servant who was in charge of his whole household, “Put your hand under my thigh,#24:2. A customary action of the time when swearing an oath. 3and swear an oath by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you won't arrange for my son to marry any daughter of the these Canaanite people that I'm living among. 4Instead, go to my homeland where my relatives live, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.”
5“What if the woman refuses to come back with me to this country?” the servant asked. “Should I take your son back to the country you came from?”
6“No, you mustn't take my son back there,” Abraham replied. 7“The Lord, the God of heaven, took me from my family home and my own country. He spoke to me and swore an oath to me in which he promised, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ He is the one who will send his angel ahead of you so that you can find a wife there for my son. 8However, if the woman refuses to return here with you, then you are released from this oath. But make sure you don't take my son back there.”
9The servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to do as he had been told. 10Then the servant arranged for ten of his master's camels to carry all kinds of valuable gifts from Abraham and left for the town of Nahor in Aram-naharaim.#24:10. “Aram-naharaim”: or “Mesopotamia.” 11Arriving in the evening, he had the camels kneel down by the spring that was outside the town. This was the time when women went out to fetch water.
12He prayed, “Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please let me be successful today, and please show your faithfulness#24:12. “Faithfulness”: this word, often translated “trustworthy love,” in this setting is really to do with “loyalty,” “commitment,” even “kindness.” to my master Abraham. 13Look, I'm standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming to get water. 14May it happen like this. The young woman that I ask, ‘Please hold your water jar so I can have a drink,’ and she replies, ‘Please drink, and I'll give your camels water too’ —may she be the one you've chosen as a wife for your servant Isaac. This way I'll know that you've shown your faithfulness to my master.”
15He hadn't even finished praying when he saw Rebekah coming to get water, carrying her water jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milkah. Milkah was the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor. 16She was very beautiful, a virgin—no one had slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came back up. 17The servant ran over to meet her and asked, “Please let me drink a few sips of water from your jar.”
18“Please drink, my lord,” she replied. She quickly lifted the jar down from her shoulder and held it for him to drink. 19After she finished giving him a drink, she said, “Let me get water for your camels too until they've had enough.”
20She quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran back to the spring to get more water. She brought enough for all his camels.
21The man observed her in silence to see if the Lord had made his journey successful or not. 22Once the camels had finished drinking, he gave her a gold nose-ring and two heavy gold bracelets for her wrists.#24:22. The weights are given as a half-shekel for the nose-ring, and ten shekels for the bracelets. Since the price of gold at the time is not known, it is impossible to estimate their value. However, they were significant gifts.
23Then he asked her, “Whose daughter are you? Also could you tell me, is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?”
24She replied, “I'm the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah and Nahor.” Then she added, “We have plenty of straw and food for the camels, 25and yes, we have room for you to spend the night.”
26The man kneeled down and bowed in worship to the Lord. 27“Thank you Lord, the God of my master Abraham,” he prayed. “You have not forgotten your commitment and faithfulness to my master. And Lord, you have led me directly to the home of my master's relatives!”
28She ran to her mother's house and told her family what had happened. 29Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he ran out to meet the man who had remained at the spring. 30He'd noticed the nose-ring and the bracelets she was wearing, and he'd heard his sister Rebekah explaining, “This is what the man told me.” When he arrived the man was still there, standing with his camels beside the spring.
31“Please come home with me, you who are blessed by the Lord,” said Laban. “What are you standing out here for? I've got a room at home ready for you, and a place for the camels to stay.”
32So the man went home with him. Laban unloaded the camels and gave them straw and food to eat. He also provided water for the man to wash his feet, as well as for the men who were with him. 33Then Laban had food brought in.
But the man told him, “I'm not going to eat until I've explained why I'm here.”
“Please explain,” Laban replied.
34“I'm Abraham's servant,” the man began. 35“The Lord has blessed my master so much, and now he is a wealthy and powerful man. The Lord has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36His wife Sarah has had a son for my master even in her old age, and my master has given him everything he owns. 37My master made me swear an oath, saying, ‘You must not arrange for my son to marry any daughter of the Canaanite people in whose land I'm living. 38Instead, go to my family home where my relatives live, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.’
39I said to my master, ‘What if the woman refuses to come back with me?’
40He told me, ‘The Lord, in whose presence I have lived my life, will send his angel with you, and he will make your journey successful—you will find a wife for my son from my relatives, from my father's family. 41You will be released from the oath you swear to me if, when you go to my family, they refuse to let her return with you.’
42Today when I arrived at the spring, I prayed, Lord, God of my master Abraham, please let the journey I have taken be successful. 43Look, I'm standing here beside this spring. May it happen like this. If a young woman comes to get water, and I say, ‘Please give me a few sips of water to drink,’ 44and she says to me, ‘Please drink, and I'll get water for your camels too’ —may she be the one you've chosen as a wife for your servant Isaac.”
45“I hadn't even finished praying silently when I saw Rebekah coming to get water, carrying her water jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring to get water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46She quickly lifted the jar down from her shoulder and she said, ‘Please drink, and I'll get water for your camels too.’ So I drank, and she got water for the camels.
47I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘I'm the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah and Nahor.’ So I put the ring in her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists.
48Then I kneeled down and bowed in worship to the Lord. I thanked the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, for he led me directly to find my master's niece for his son. 49So please tell me now, will you show commitment and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no so I can decide what to do next.”
50Laban and Bethuel replied, “Clearly all this is from the Lord, so we can't argue one way or the other. 51Rebekah's here, you can take her and leave. She can become the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has decided.”
52As soon as Abraham's servant heard their decision, he bowed down in worship to the Lord. 53Then he unpacked silver and gold jewelry and expensive clothes and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave valuable presents to her brother and her mother. 54He and the men with him ate and drank, and spent the night there. When they got up in the morning, he said, “Let me leave now and go home to my master.”
55But her brother and her mother said, “Let her stay with us for another ten days or so. She can leave after that.”
56“Please don't delay me,” he told them. “The Lord has made my journey successful, so let me leave and go back to my master.”
57“Let's call Rebekah and find out what she wants to do,” they suggested.
58They called Rebekah in and asked her, “Do you want to go with this man now?”
“Yes, I'll go,” she replied.
59So they let Laban's sister Rebekah leave with Abraham's servant and his men, together with the woman who had nursed her as a child. 60They asked a blessing on her, saying, “Our dear sister, may you become the mother to thousands and thousands of descendants, and may they conquer their enemies.” 61Then Rebekah and her servant girls got on the camels. They followed Abraham's servant and left.
62Meanwhile Isaac, who was living in the Negev, had just come back from Beer-lahai-roi. 63He went out into the fields one evening to think things over.#24:63. “Think things over”: often translated “meditate,” the word's meaning is uncertain. However, Isaac must have known that possibly his bride-to-be would soon be arriving, an event of considerable importance in his life. He looked into the distance and saw camels coming.
64Rebekah was also keeping a look out. When she saw Isaac, she got down from her camel. 65She asked the servant, “Who is this walking through the fields to meet us?”
“He's my master, Isaac,”#24:65. Isaac is not specifically identified in the text here, however the servant simply says, “He's my master,” which would normally mean Abraham. he replied. So she put on her veil to cover herself.
66The servant told Isaac everything he'd done. 67Isaac took Rebekah into his mother Sarah's tent, and he married her. He loved her, and she brought him comfort after his grief over his mother's death.