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Genesis 24

24
A Wife for Isaac
1Abraham was now a very old man. The Lord had made him rich, and he was successful in everything he did. 2One day, Abraham called in his most trusted servant and said to him, “Solemnly promise me 3in the name of the Lord, who rules heaven and earth, that you won't choose a wife for my son Isaac from the people here in the land of Canaan. 4Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for him from among my relatives.”
5But the servant asked, “What if the young woman I choose refuses to leave home and come here with me? Should I send Isaac there to look for a wife?”
6“No!” Abraham answered. “Don't ever do that, no matter what. 7The Lord who rules heaven brought me here from the land where I was born and promised that he would give this land to my descendants forever. When you go back there, the Lord will send his angel ahead of you to help you find a wife for my son. 8If the woman refuses to come along, you don't have to keep this promise. But don't ever take my son back there.” 9So the servant gave Abraham his word that he would do everything he had been told to do.
10Soon after that, the servant loaded ten of Abraham's camels with valuable gifts. Then he set out for the city in northern Syria,#24.10 northern Syria: The Hebrew text has “Aram-Naharaim,” probably referring to the land around the city of Haran (see also 25.20; 28.2,6; 31.18,20; 33.18; 35.23-26; 46.8-15 where CEV translates “Paddan-Aram” as “northern Syria”; and 48.7 where CEV translates “Paddan” as “northern Syria”). where Abraham's brother Nahor lived.
11When he got there, he let the camels rest near the well outside the city. It was late afternoon, the time when the women came out for water. 12The servant prayed:
You, Lord, are the God my master Abraham worships. Please keep your promise to him and let me find a wife for Isaac today. 13The young women of the city will soon come to this well for water, 14and I'll ask one of them for a drink. If she gives me a drink and then offers to get some water for my camels, I'll know she is the one you have chosen and that you have kept your promise to my master.
15-16While he was still praying, a beautiful unmarried young woman came by with a water jar on her shoulder. She was Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife Milcah. Rebekah walked past Abraham's servant, then went over to the well, and filled her water jar. When she started back, 17Abraham's servant ran to her and said, “Please let me have a drink of water.”
18“I'll be glad to,” she answered. Then she quickly took the jar from her shoulder and held it while he drank. 19-20After he had finished, she said, “Now I'll give your camels all the water they want.” She quickly poured out water for them, and she kept going back for more, until his camels had drunk all they wanted. 21Abraham's servant did not say a word, but he watched everything Rebekah did, because he wanted to know for certain if this was the woman the Lord had chosen.
22The servant had brought along an expensive gold ring and two large gold bracelets. When Rebekah had finished bringing the water, he gave her the ring for her nose#24.22 ring for her nose: Nose-rings were popular jewelry items, as were earrings. and the bracelets for her arms. 23Then he said, “Please tell me who your father is. Does he have room in his house for me and my men to spend the night?”
24She answered, “My father is Bethuel, the son of Nahor and Milcah. 25We have a place where you and your men can stay, and we also have enough straw and feed for your camels.”
26Then the servant bowed his head and prayed, 27“I thank you, Lord God of my master Abraham! You have led me to his relatives and kept your promise to him.”
28Rebekah ran straight home and told her family everything. 29-30Her brother Laban heard her tell what the servant had said, and he saw the ring and the bracelets she was wearing. So Laban ran out to Abraham's servant, who was standing by his camels at the well. 31Then Laban said, “The Lord has brought you safely here. Come home with me. There's no need for you to keep on standing outside. I have a room ready for you in our house, and there's also a place for your camels.”
32Abraham's servant went home with Laban, where Laban's servants unloaded his camels and gave them straw and feed. Then they brought water into the house, so Abraham's servant and his men could wash their feet. 33After that, they brought in food. But the servant said, “Before I eat, I must tell you why I have come.”
“Go ahead and tell us,” Laban answered.
34The servant explained:
I am Abraham's servant. 35The Lord has been good to my master and has made him very rich. He has given him many sheep, goats, cattle, camels, and donkeys, as well as a lot of silver and gold, and many slaves. 36Sarah, my master's wife, didn't have any children until she was very old. Then she had a son, and my master has given him everything. 37I solemnly promised my master that I would do what he said. And he told me, “Don't choose a wife for my son from the women in this land of Canaan. 38Instead, go back to the land where I was born and find a wife for my son from among my relatives.”
39I asked my master, “What if the young woman refuses to come with me?”
40My master answered, “I have always obeyed the Lord, and he will send his angel to help you find my son a wife from among my own relatives. 41But if they refuse to let her come back with you, then you are freed from your promise.”
42When I came to the well today, I silently prayed, “You, Lord, are the God my master Abraham worships, so please lead me to a wife for his son 43while I am here at the well. When a young woman comes out to get water, I'll ask her to give me a drink. 44If she gives me a drink and offers to get some water for my camels, I'll know she is the one you have chosen.”
45Even before I had finished praying, Rebekah came by with a water jar on her shoulder. When she had filled the jar, I asked her for a drink. 46She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and said, “Have a drink. Then I'll get water for your camels.” So I drank, and after that she got some water for my camels. 47I asked her who her father was, and she answered, “My father is Bethuel the son of Nahor and Milcah.” At once I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48Then I bowed my head and gave thanks to the God my master Abraham worships. The Lord had led me straight to my master's relatives, and I had found a wife for his son.
49Now please tell me if you are willing to do the right thing for my master. Will you treat him fairly, or do I have to look for another young woman?
50Laban and Bethuel answered, “The Lord has done this. We have no choice in the matter. 51Take Rebekah with you; she can marry your master's son, just as the Lord has said.” 52Abraham's servant bowed down and thanked the Lord. 53Then he gave clothing, as well as silver and gold jewelry, to Rebekah. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and her mother.
54Abraham's servant and the men with him ate and drank, then spent the night there. The next morning they got up, and the servant told Rebekah's mother and brother, “I would like to go back to my master now.”
55“Let Rebekah stay with us for a week or ten days,” they answered. “Then she may go.”
56But he said, “Don't make me stay any longer. The Lord has already helped me find a wife for my master's son. Now let us return.”
57They answered, “Let's ask Rebekah what she wants to do.” 58They called her and asked, “Are you willing to leave with this man at once?”
“Yes,” she answered.
59So they agreed to let Rebekah and an old family servant woman#24.59 old family servant woman: Probably Deborah, who had taken care of Rebekah from the time she was born (see 35.8). leave immediately with Abraham's servant and his men. 60They gave Rebekah their blessing and said, “We pray that God will give you many children and grandchildren and that he will help them defeat their enemies.” 61Afterwards, Rebekah and the young women who were to travel with her prepared to leave. Then they got on camels and left with Abraham's servant and his men.
62At that time Isaac was living in the southern part of Canaan near a place called “The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.”#24.62 Who Sees Me: Or “I Have Seen.” 63-65One evening he was walking#24.63-65 walking: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. out in the fields, when suddenly he saw a group of people approaching on camels. So he started toward them. Rebekah saw him coming; she got down from her camel, and asked, “Who is that man?”
“He is my master Isaac,” the servant answered. Then Rebekah covered her face with her veil.#24.63-65 covered … veil: Since the veiling of a bride was part of the wedding ceremony, this probably means that she was willing to become the wife of Isaac.
66The servant told Isaac everything that had happened.
67Isaac took Rebekah into the tent#24.67 took … tent: This shows that Rebekah is now the wife of Isaac and the successor of Sarah as the leading woman in the tribe. where his mother had lived before she died, and Rebekah became his wife. He loved her and was comforted over the loss of his mother.
24
Isaac marries Rebekah
1As the days went by and Abraham became older, the LORD blessed Abraham in every way. 2Abraham said to the oldest servant of his household, who was in charge of everything he owned, “Put your hand under my thigh. 3By the LORD, God of heaven and earth, give me your word that you won’t choose a wife for my son from the Canaanite women among whom I live. 4Go to my land and my family and find a wife for my son Isaac there.”
5The servant said to him, “What if the woman doesn’t agree to come back with me to this land? Shouldn’t I take your son back to the land you left?”
6Abraham said to him, “Be sure you don’t take my son back there. 7The LORD, God of heaven—who took me from my father’s household and from my family’s land, who spoke with me and who gave me his word, saying, ‘I will give this land to your descendants’—he will send his messenger in front of you, and you will find a wife for my son there. 8If the woman won’t agree to come back with you, you will be free from this obligation to me. Only don’t take my son back there.” 9So the servant put his hand under his master Abraham’s thigh and gave him his word about this mission.
10The servant took ten of his master’s camels and all of his master’s best provisions, set out, and traveled to Nahor’s city in Aram-naharaim. 11He had the camels kneel down outside the city at the well in the evening, when women come out to draw water. 12He said, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make something good happen for me today and be loyal to my master Abraham. 13I will stand here by the spring while the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water. 14When I say to a young woman, ‘Hand me your water jar so I can drink,’ and she says to me, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels water too,’ may she be the one you’ve selected for your servant Isaac. In this way I will know that you’ve been loyal to my master.” 15Even before he finished speaking, Rebekah—daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother—was coming out with a water jar on her shoulder. 16The young woman was very beautiful, old enough to be married, and hadn’t known a man intimately. She went down to the spring, filled her water jar, and came back up.
17The servant ran to meet her and said, “Give me a little sip of water from your jar.”
18She said, “Drink, sir.” Then she quickly lowered the water jar with her hands and gave him some water to drink. 19When she finished giving him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw some water for your camels too, till they’ve had enough to drink.” 20She emptied her water jar quickly into the watering trough, ran to the well again to draw water, and drew water for all of the camels. 21The man stood gazing at her, wondering silently if the LORD had made his trip successful or not.
22As soon as the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold ring, weighing a half shekel,#24.22 Heb beqa and two gold bracelets for her arms, weighing ten shekels. 23He said, “Please tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24She responded, “I’m the daughter of Bethuel, who is the son of Milcah and Nahor.” 25She continued, “We have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and a place to spend the night.”
26The man bowed down and praised the LORD: 27“Bless the LORD, God of my master Abraham, who hasn’t given up his loyalty and his faithfulness to my master. The LORD has shown me the way to the household of my master’s brother.”
28The young woman ran and told her mother’s household everything that had happened. 29Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and Laban ran to the man outside by the spring. 30When he had seen the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and when he had heard his sister Rebekah say, “This is what the man said to me,” he went to the man, who was still standing by the spring with his camels. 31Laban said, “Come in, favored one of the LORD! Why are you standing outside? I’ve prepared the house and a place for the camels.” 32So the man entered the house. Then Laban unbridled the camels, provided straw and feed for them and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men with him, 33and set out a meal for him.
But the man said, “I won’t eat until I’ve said something.”
Laban replied, “Say it.”
34The man said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35The LORD has richly blessed my master, has made him a great man, and has given him flocks, cattle, silver, gold, men servants, women servants, camels, and donkeys. 36My master’s wife Sarah gave birth to a son for my master in her old age, and he’s given him everything he owns. 37My master made me give him my word: ‘Don’t choose a wife for my son from the Canaanite women, in whose land I’m living. 38No, instead, go to my father’s household and to my relatives and choose a wife for my son.’ 39I said to my master, ‘What if the woman won’t come back with me?’ 40He said to me, ‘The LORD, whom I’ve traveled with everywhere, will send his messenger with you and make your trip successful; and you will choose a wife for my son from my relatives and from my father’s household. 41If you go to my relatives, you will be free from your obligation to me. Even if they provide no one for you, you will be free from your obligation to me.’
42“Today I arrived at the spring, and I said, ‘LORD, God of my master Abraham, if you wish to make the trip I’m taking successful, 43when I’m standing by the spring and the young woman who comes out to draw water and to whom I say, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jar,” 44and she responds to me, “Drink, and I will draw water for your camels too,” may she be the woman the LORD has selected for my master’s son.’ 45Before I finished saying this to myself, Rebekah came out with her water jar on her shoulder and went down to the spring to draw water. And I said to her, ‘Please give me something to drink.’ 46She immediately lowered her water jar and said, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels something to drink too.’ So I drank and she also gave water to the camels. 47Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son whom Milcah bore him.’ I put a ring in her nose and bracelets on her arms. 48I bowed and worshipped the LORD and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who led me in the right direction to choose the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49Now if you’re loyal and faithful to my master, tell me. If not, tell me so I will know where I stand either way.”
50Laban and Bethuel both responded, “This is all the LORD’s doing. We have nothing to say about it. 51Here is Rebekah, right in front of you. Take her and go. She will be the wife of your master’s son, just as the LORD said.” 52When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed low before the LORD. 53The servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. To her brother and to her mother he gave the finest gifts. 54He and the men with him ate and drank and spent the night.
When they got up in the morning, the servant said, “See me off to my master.”
55Her brother and mother said, “Let the young woman stay with us not more than ten days, and after that she may go.”
56But he said to them, “Don’t delay me. The LORD has made my trip successful. See me off so that I can go to my master.”
57They said, “Summon the young woman, and let’s ask her opinion.” 58They called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?”
She said, “I will go.”
59So they sent off their sister Rebekah, her nurse, Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60And they blessed Rebekah, saying to her,
“May you, our sister, become
thousands of ten thousand;
may your children possess
their enemies’ cities.”
61Rebekah and her young women got up, mounted the camels, and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.
62Now Isaac had come from the region of#24.62 Heb uncertain; LXX through the desert of Beer-lahai-roi and had settled in the arid southern plain. 63One evening, Isaac went out to inspect the pasture,#24.63 Heb uncertain; possibly to walk around in the pasture or to meditate in the pasture and while staring he saw camels approaching. 64Rebekah stared at Isaac. She got down from the camel 65and said to the servant, “Who is this man walking through the pasture to meet us?”
The servant said, “He’s my master.” So she took her headscarf and covered herself. 66The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 67Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent. He received Rebekah as his wife and loved her. So Isaac found comfort after his mother’s death.