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Genesis 24

24
CHAPTER 24
1Forsooth Abraham was eld [or old], and of many days, and the Lord had blessed him in all things.
2And he said to the elder servant of his house, that was sovereign on all things that he had, Put thou thine hand under mine hip,
3that I conjure or adjure thee by the Lord God of heaven and of earth, that thou take not a wife to my son of the daughters of Canaan, among which I dwell;
4but that thou go to my land and kindred, and thereof take a wife to my son Isaac.
5The servant answered, If the woman will not come with me into this land, whether I owe to lead again thy son to the place, from which thou wentest out?
6Abraham said, Beware, lest any time thou lead again thither my son;
7the Lord God of heaven that took me from the house of my father, and from the land of my birth, which spake to me, and swore, and said, I shall give this land to thy seed, he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take from thence a wife to my son;
8forsooth if the woman will not follow thee, thou shalt not be holden by the oath; nevertheless lead not again my son thither.
9Therefore the servant putted his hand under the hip of Abraham, his lord, and swore to him on this word.
10And he took ten camels of the flock of his lord, and went forth, and bare with him of all the goods of his lord; and he went forth, and came to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.
11And when he had made the camels to rest without the city, beside a pit or well of water, in the eventide, in that time in which women be wont to go out to draw water,
12he said, Lord God of my lord Abraham, I beseech, meet with me today, and do mercy with my lord Abraham.
13Lo! I stand nigh the well of water, and the daughters of the dwellers of this city shall go out to draw water;
14therefore the damsel to which I shall say, Bow down thy water pot that I drink, and [she] shall answer, Drink thou, but also I shall give drink to thy camels, that it is which thou hast made ready to thy servant Isaac; and by this I shall understand that thou hast done mercy to my lord Abraham.
15And he had not yet [full-]filled the words within himself, and lo! Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, wife of Nahor, brother of Abraham, went out, having a water pot in her shoulder;
16a damsel full comely/full shapely, and fairest virgin, and unknown of man. Soothly she came down to the well, and filled the water pot, and turned again.
17And the servant met her, and said, Give thou to me a little of the water of thy pot to drink.
18Which answered, Drink thou, my lord. And anon she did down the water pot on her shoulder, and gave drink to him.
19And when he had drunk, she said, But also I shall draw water to thy camels, till all have drunk.
20And she poured out the water pot in[to] troughs, and ran again to the pit, to draw water, and she gave water drawn to all the camels.
21Soothly he beheld her privily, and would wit whether the Lord had sped his way, or nay.
22Therefore after that the camels had drunk, the man brought forth golden earrings, weighing two shekels, and as many bands of the arm, in the weight of ten shekels.
23And he said to her, Whose daughter art thou? show thou to me, is [there] any place in the house of thy father to dwell in?
24Which answered, I am the daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor, whom Milcah childed to him.
25And she added, saying, Also full much of provender and of hay is at us, and a large place to dwell in.
26The man bowed himself, and worshipped the Lord,
27and said, Blessed be the Lord God of my lord Abraham, which took not away his mercy and truth from my lord, and led me by the right way, into the house of the brother of my lord.
28And so the damsel ran, and told in the house of her mother all things which she had heard.
29Soothly Rebecca had a brother, Laban by name, which went out hastily to the man, where he was withoutforth.
30And when he had seen the earrings, and bands of the arm in the hands of his sister, and had heard all the words of her, telling, The man spake to me these things, he came to the man that stood beside the camels, and nigh the well of water,
31and said to him, Enter thou, the blessed of the Lord; why standest thou withoutforth? I have made ready the house, and a place to thy camels.
32And he brought him into the inn, and unsaddled the camels, and gave provender, and hay, and water to wash the feet of the camels, and of men that came with him.
33And bread was set forth in his sight, the which said, I shall not eat till I speak my words. He answered to the man, Speak thou.
34And the man said, I am the servant of Abraham,
35and the Lord hath blessed my lord greatly, and he is made great; and God gave to him sheep, and oxen, silver, and gold, servants, and handmaids, and camels, and asses.
36And Sarah, my lord’s wife, childed a son to my lord in his eld age, and Abraham, my lord, hath given all things that he had to that son.
37And my lord charged me greatly, and said, Thou shalt not take to my son a wife of the daughters of Canaan, in whose land I dwell,
38but thou shalt go to the house of my father, and of my kindred thou shalt take a wife to my son.
39Forsooth I answered to my lord, What if the woman will not come with me?
40He said, The Lord, in whose sight I go, shall send his angel with thee, and shall dress thy way; and thou shalt take a wife to my son of my kindred, and of my father’s house.
41Thou shalt be innocent from my curse, when thou comest to my kins-men, and they give not her to thee.
42Therefore I came today to the well of water, and said, Lord God of my lord Abraham, if thou hast dressed my way in which I go now,
43lo! I stand beside the well of water, and the maid[en] that shall go out to draw water, heareth me say to her, Give thou to me a little of water to drink of thy pot,
44and she say to me, And thou drink, and I shall draw water to thy camels, that is the woman which the Lord hath made ready to the son of my lord.
45While I turned in thought these things with me, Rebecca appeared, coming with a pot which she bare in her shoulder; and she went down to the well, and drew water. And I said to her, Give thou a little to me to drink;
46and she hasted, and did down the pot off the shoulder, and said to me, And thou drink, and I shall give drink to thy camels; I drank, and she watered the camels.
47And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? Which answered, I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, whom Milcah childed to him. And so I hanged earrings to adorn her face, and I put bands of the arm in her hands,
48and low-like I worshipped the Lord, and I blessed the Lord God of my lord Abraham, which God led me by the right way, that I should take the daughter of the brother of my lord to his son.
49Wherefore if ye do mercy and truth with my lord, show ye to me; else if other thing pleaseth, also say ye this, that I go to the right side or to the left side.
50Laban and Bethuel answered, The word is gone out of the Lord; we may not speak any other thing with thee without his pleasance [or pleasing].
51Lo! Rebecca is before thee; take thou her, and go forth, and be she [the] wife of the son of thy lord, as the Lord spake.
52And when the servant of Abraham had heard this, he felled down, and worshipped the Lord in earth.
53And when vessels of silver, and of gold, and clothes were brought forth, he gave those to Rebecca for a gift, and he gave gifts to her brethren, and mother.
54And when a feast was made, they ate and drank together, and dwelled there. Forsooth the servant rose early, and said, Deliver ye me, that I go to my lord.
55Her brethren and mother answered, The damsel dwell namely ten days at us, and afterward she shall go forth.
56The servant said, Do not ye hold me, for the Lord hath dressed my way; deliver ye me, that I go to my lord.
57And they said, Call we the damsel, and ask we her will.
58And when she was called, and came, they asked her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I shall go.
59Therefore they delivered her, and her nurse, and the servant of Abraham, and his fellows,
60and wished prosperities to their sister, and said, Thou art our sister, increase thou into a thousand thousands, and thy seed wield the gates of his enemies.
61Therefore Rebecca and her damsels ascended [or went up] on the camels, and pursued [or followed] the man, which turned again hastily to his lord.
62In that time Isaac walked by the way that leadeth to the pit or well, whose name is of him that liveth and seeth; for he dwelled in the south land.
63And he went out to think in the field, for the day was bowed [down] then; and when he had raised [up] his eyes, he saw camels coming from afar.
64And when Isaac was seen, Rebecca lighted down off the camel,
65and said to the servant, Who is that man that cometh by the field into the meeting of us? And the servant said to her, It is my lord. And she took soon a mantle, and covered herself.
66Forsooth the servant told to his lord Isaac all things which he had done;
67Isaac led her into the tabernacle of Sarah, his mother, and took her to wife; and so much he loved her, that he assuaged the sorrow which befell to him of the death of his mother.
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.