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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.

Genesis 24

24
Isaac and Rebekah.#The story of Abraham and Sarah is drawing to a close. The promises of progeny (21:1–7) and land (chap. 23) have been fulfilled and Sarah has died (23:1–2). Abraham’s last duty is to ensure that his son Isaac shares in the promises. Isaac must take a wife from his own people (vv. 3–7), so the promises may be fulfilled. The extraordinary length of this story and its development of a single theme contrast strikingly with the spare style of the preceding Abraham and Sarah stories. It points ahead to the Jacob and Joseph stories.The length of the story is partly caused by its meticulous attention to the sign (vv. 12–14), its fulfillment (vv. 15–20), and the servant’s retelling of sign and fulfillment to Rebekah’s family to win their consent (vv. 34–49). 1Abraham was old, having seen many days, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. 2#Gn 47:29. Abraham said to the senior servant of his household, who had charge of all his possessions: “Put your hand under my thigh,#Put your hand under my thigh: the symbolism of this act was apparently connected with the Hebrew concept of children issuing from their father’s “thigh” (the literal meaning of “direct descendants” in 46:26; Ex 1:5). Perhaps the man who took such an oath was thought to bring the curse of sterility on himself if he did not fulfill his sworn promise. Jacob made Joseph swear in the same way (Gn 47:29). In both these instances, the oath was taken to carry out the last request of a man upon his death. 3and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live,#Gn 24:37; 28:1–2; Jgs 14:3; Tb 4:12. 4but that you will go to my own land and to my relatives to get a wife for my son Isaac.” 5The servant asked him: “What if the woman is unwilling to follow me to this land? Should I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” 6Abraham told him, “Never take my son back there for any reason! 7The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and the land of my relatives, and who confirmed by oath the promise he made to me, ‘I will give this land to your descendants’—he will send his angel before you, and you will get a wife for my son there.#Gn 12:7; Ex 6:8; Tb 5:17; Gal 3:16. 8If the woman is unwilling to follow you, you will be released from this oath to me. But never take my son back there!” 9So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore to him concerning this matter.
10The servant then took ten of his master’s camels, and bearing all kinds of gifts from his master, he made his way to the city of Nahor#Nahor: it is uncertain whether this is the place where Abraham’s brother Nahor (11:27) had lived or whether it is the city Nahur, named in the Mari documents (nineteenth and eighteenth centuries B.C.), near the confluence of the Balikh and Middle Euphrates rivers. Aram Naharaim: lit., “Aram between the two rivers,” is the Yahwist designation for Terah’s homeland. The two rivers are the Habur and the Euphrates. The Priestly designation for the area is Paddan-aram, which is from the Assyrian padana, “road or garden,” and Aram, which refers to the people or land of the Arameans. in Aram Naharaim. 11Near evening, at the time when women go out to draw water, he made the camels kneel by the well outside the city. 12Then he said: “Lord, God of my master Abraham, let it turn out favorably for me#Let it turn out favorably for me: let me have a favorable sign; cf. end of v. 14. today and thus deal graciously with my master Abraham. 13While I stand here at the spring and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water, 14if I say to a young woman, ‘Please lower your jug, that I may drink,’ and she answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels, too,’ then she is the one whom you have decided upon for your servant Isaac. In this way I will know that you have dealt graciously with my master.”
15#Gn 22:23. He had scarcely finished speaking when Rebekah—who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor—came out with a jug on her shoulder. 16The young woman was very beautiful, a virgin, untouched by man. She went down to the spring and filled her jug. As she came up, 17the servant ran toward her and said, “Please give me a sip of water from your jug.” 18“Drink, sir,” she replied, and quickly lowering the jug into her hand, she gave him a drink. 19When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels, too, until they have finished drinking.” 20With that, she quickly emptied her jug into the drinking trough and ran back to the well to draw more water, until she had drawn enough for all the camels. 21The man watched her the whole time, silently waiting to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful. 22When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose-ring weighing half a shekel, and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels for her wrists. 23Then he asked her: “Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please. And is there a place in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” 24She answered: “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor. 25We have plenty of straw and fodder,” she added, “and also a place to spend the night.” 26The man then knelt and bowed down to the Lord, 27saying: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not let his kindness and fidelity toward my master fail. As for me, the Lord has led me straight to the house of my master’s brother.”
28Then the young woman ran off and told her mother’s household what had happened. 29#Gn 27:43. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban. Laban rushed outside to the man at the spring. 30#Laban becomes hospitable only when he sees the servant’s rich gifts, which is in humorous contrast to his sister’s spontaneous generosity toward the servant. Laban’s opportunism points forward to his behavior in the Jacob stories (31:14–16). When he saw the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms and when he heard Rebekah repeating what the man had said to her, he went to him while he was standing by the camels at the spring. 31He said: “Come, blessed of the Lord! Why are you standing outside when I have made the house ready, as well as a place for the camels?” 32The man then went inside; and while the camels were being unloaded and provided with straw and fodder, water was brought to bathe his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33But when food was set before him, he said, “I will not eat until I have told my story.” “Go ahead,” they replied.
34“I am Abraham’s servant,” he began. 35“The Lord has blessed my master so abundantly that he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys. 36My master’s wife Sarah bore a son to my master in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns. 37My master put me under oath, saying: ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I live; 38instead, you must go to my father’s house, to my own family, to get a wife for my son.’ 39When I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not follow me?’ 40he replied: ‘The Lord, in whose presence I have always walked, will send his angel with you and make your journey successful, and so you will get a wife for my son from my own family and my father’s house.#Tb 5:17; 10:13. 41Then you will be freed from my curse. If you go to my family and they refuse you, then, too, you will be free from my curse.’#Curse: this would be the consequence of failing to carry out the oath referred to in v. 3.
42“When I came to the spring today, I said: ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, please make successful the journey I am on. 43While I stand here at the spring, if I say to a young woman who comes out to draw water, ‘Please give me a little water from your jug,’ 44and she answers, ‘Drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too—then she is the woman whom the Lord has decided upon for my master’s son.’
45“I had scarcely finished saying this to myself when Rebekah came out with a jug on her shoulder. After she went down to the spring and drew water, I said to her, ‘Please let me have a drink.’ 46She quickly lowered the jug she was carrying and said, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels, too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also. 47When I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ she answered, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor, borne to Nahor by Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 48Then I knelt and bowed down to the Lord, blessing the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. 49Now, if you will act with kindness and fidelity toward my master, let me know; but if not, let me know that too. I can then proceed accordingly.”
50#Tb 7:11–12. Laban and Bethuel said in reply: “This thing comes from the Lord; we can say nothing to you either for or against it. 51Here is Rebekah, right in front of you; take her and go, that she may become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has said.” 52When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed to the ground before the Lord. 53Then he brought out objects of silver and gold and clothing and presented them to Rebekah; he also gave costly presents to her brother and mother. 54After he and the men with him had eaten and drunk, they spent the night there.
When they got up the next morning, he said, “Allow me to return to my master.”#Tb 7:14; 8:20. 55Her brother and mother replied, “Let the young woman stay with us a short while, say ten days; after that she may go.” 56But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has made my journey successful; let me go back to my master.” 57They answered, “Let us call the young woman and see what she herself has to say about it.” 58So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” She answered, “I will.”#Marriages arranged by the woman’s father did not require the woman’s consent, but marriages arranged by the woman’s brother did. Laban is the brother and Rebekah is therefore free to give her consent or not. 59At this they sent off their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60They blessed Rebekah and said:
“Sister, may you grow
into thousands of myriads;
And may your descendants gain possession
of the gates of their enemies!”#Gn 22:17.
61Then Rebekah and her attendants started out; they mounted the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and went on his way.
62Meanwhile Isaac had gone from Beer-lahai-roi and was living in the region of the Negeb.#Gn 16:13–14; 25:11. 63One day toward evening he went out to walk in the field, and caught sight of camels approaching. 64Rebekah, too, caught sight of Isaac, and got down from her camel. 65She asked the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking through the fields toward us?” “That is my master,” replied the servant. Then she took her veil and covered herself.
66The servant recounted to Isaac all the things he had done. 67Then Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent of his mother Sarah. He took Rebekah as his wife. Isaac loved her and found solace after the death of his mother.