Genesis 24 | ERV Bible | YouVersion
Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 24

24
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.

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.