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Genesis 24

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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.
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A Wife for Isaac
1Abraham lived to be a very old man. The Lord blessed him and everything he did. 2Abraham’s oldest servant was in charge of everything he owned. Abraham called that servant to him and said, “Put your hand under my leg.#24:2 Put your hand under my leg This was a sign of a very important promise that Abraham trusted his servant to keep. 3Now I want you to make a promise to me. Promise to me before the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry a girl from Canaan. We live among these people, but don’t let him marry a Canaanite girl. 4Go back to my country, to my own people, to find a wife for my son Isaac. Bring her here to him.”
5The servant said to him, “Maybe this woman will not want to come back with me to this land. If that happens, should I take your son with me to your homeland?”
6Abraham said to him, “No, don’t take my son to that place. 7The Lord, the God of heaven, brought me from my homeland to this place. That place was the home of my father and the home of my family, but he promised that this new land would belong to my family. May he send his angel before you so that you can choose a wife for my son. 8If the girl refuses to come with you, you will be free from this promise. But you must not take my son back to that place.”
9So the servant put his hand under his master’s leg and made the promise.
The Search Begins
10The servant took ten of Abraham’s camels and left that place. The servant carried with him many different kinds of beautiful gifts. He went to Mesopotamia, to Nahor’s city. 11In the evening, when the women come out to get water, he went to the water well outside the city. He made the camels kneel down at the well.
12The servant said, “Lord, you are the God of my master Abraham. Please show your kindness to my master by helping me find a wife for his son Isaac. 13Here I am, standing by this well of water, and the young women from the city are coming out to get water. 14I will say to one of them, ‘Please put your jar down so that I can drink.’ Let her answer show whether she is the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. If she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give water to your camels,’ I will know that she is the right one. It will be proof that you have shown kindness to my master.”
A Wife Is Found
15Before the servant finished praying, a young woman named Rebekah came to the well. She was the daughter of Bethuel. (Bethuel was the son of Milcah and Nahor, Abraham’s brother.) Rebekah came to the well with her water jar on her shoulder. 16She was very pretty. She was a virgin; no man had ever had sexual relations with her. She went down to the well and filled her jar. 17Then the servant ran to her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.”
18Rebekah quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and gave him a drink. She said, “Drink this, sir.” 19As soon as she finished giving him something to drink, Rebekah said, “I will also pour some water for your camels.” 20So Rebekah quickly poured all the water from her jar into the drinking trough for the camels. Then she ran to the well to get more water, and she gave water to all the camels.
21The servant quietly watched her. He wanted to be sure that the Lord had given him an answer and had made his trip successful. 22After the camels finished drinking, he gave Rebekah a gold ring that weighed 1/4 ounce.#24:22 1/4 ounce Literally, “1 beka” (5.75 g). He also gave her two gold arm bracelets that weighed 2 ounces#24:22 2 ounces Literally, “5 measures” (57.5 g). each. 23The servant asked, “Who is your father? And is there a place in your father’s house for me and my men to sleep?”
24Rebekah answered, “My father is Bethuel, the son of Milcah and Nahor.” 25Then she said, “Yes, we have straw and other food for your camels and a place for you to sleep.”
26The servant bowed and worshiped the Lord. 27He said, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. The Lord has been kind and loyal to him by leading me to his own people.”
28Then Rebekah ran and told her family about all these things. 29-30She had a brother named Laban. She told him what the man had said to her. Laban was listening to her. And when he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, he ran out to the well. There the man was, standing by the camels at the well. 31Laban said, “Sir, you are welcome to come in!#24:31 Sir, you are welcome to come in Literally, “Come in, blessed of the Lord!” You don’t have to stand outside here. I have prepared a room for you to sleep in and a place for your camels.”
32So Abraham’s servant went into the house. Laban unloaded his camels and gave them straw and feed. Then he gave Abraham’s servant water so that he and the men with him could wash their feet. 33Laban then gave him food to eat, but the servant refused to eat. He said, “I will not eat until I have told you why I came.”
So Laban said, “Then tell us.”
Bargaining for Rebekah
34The servant said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35The Lord has greatly blessed my master in everything. My master has become a great man. The Lord has given him many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. He has much silver and gold and many servants. He has many camels and donkeys. 36Sarah was my master’s wife. When she was very old, she gave birth to a son, and my master has given everything he owns to that son. 37My master forced me to make a promise to him. He said to me, ‘You must not allow my son to marry a girl from Canaan. We live among these people, but I don’t want him to marry one of the Canaanite girls. 38So you must promise to go to my father’s country. Go to my family and choose a wife for my son.’ 39I said to my master, ‘Maybe the woman will not come back to this place with me.’ 40But my master said to me, ‘I serve the Lord, and he will send his angel with you and help you. You will find a wife for my son among my people there. 41But if you go to my father’s country, and they refuse to give you a wife for my son, you will be free from this promise.’
42“Today I came to this well and said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, please make my trip successful. 43I will stand by this well and wait for a young woman to come to get water. Then I will say, “Please give me water from your jar to drink.” 44The right woman will answer in a special way. She will say, “Drink this water, and I will also get water for your camels.” That way I will know that she is the one the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
45“Before I finished praying, Rebekah came out to the well to get water. She had her water jar on her shoulder as she went to get water from the well. I asked her to give me some water. 46She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and poured me some water. Then she said, ‘Drink this, and I’ll get some water for your camels.’ So I drank the water, and she gave water to my camels. 47Then I asked her, ‘Who is your father?’ She answered, ‘My father is Bethuel the son of Milcah and Nahor.’ Then I gave her the ring and bracelets for her arms. 48I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. I thanked him for leading me straight to the granddaughter of my master’s brother. 49Now, tell me, will you be kind and loyal to my master and give him your daughter? Or will you refuse to give her to him? Tell me so that I will know what I should do.”
50Then Laban and Bethuel answered, “We see that this is from the Lord, so there is nothing we can say to change it. 51Here is Rebekah. Take her and go. Let her marry your master’s son. This is what the Lord wants.”
52When Abraham’s servant heard this, he bowed to the ground before the Lord. 53Then he gave Rebekah the gifts he brought. He gave her beautiful clothes and gold and silver jewelry. He also gave expensive gifts to her mother and brother. 54Then he and his men had something to eat and drink, and they spent the night there. Early the next morning they got up and the servant said, “Now we must go back to my master.”
55Rebekah’s mother and her brother said, “Let Rebekah stay with us for a short time. Let her stay with us ten days. After that she can go.”
56But the servant said to them, “Don’t make me wait. The Lord has made my trip successful. Now let me go back to my master.”
57Rebekah’s brother and mother said, “We will call Rebekah and ask her what she wants to do.” 58They called her and asked her, “Do you want to go with this man now?”
Rebekah said, “Yes, I will go.”
59So they allowed Rebekah to go with Abraham’s servant and his men. Her nurse also went with them. 60While Rebekah was leaving they said to her,
“Our sister, may you be
the mother of millions of people,
and may your descendants defeat
their enemies and take their cities.”
61Then Rebekah and her nurse got on the camels and followed the servant and his men. So the servant took Rebekah and left.
62Isaac had left Beer Lahai Roi and was now living in the Negev. 63One evening he went out to the field to think.#24:63 think Or “to go for a walk.” He looked up and saw the camels coming from far away.
64Rebekah also looked and saw Isaac. Then she jumped down from the camel. 65She said to the servant, “Who is that young man walking in the field to meet us?”
The servant said, “That is my master’s son.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil.
66The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 67Then Isaac brought the girl into his mother’s tent. Rebekah became his wife that day. Isaac loved her very much. So he was comforted after his mother’s death.