Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 24

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.

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.