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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.

Genesis 24

24
A Bride for Isaac
1Now Abraham #Gen. 18:11; 21:5was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord #Gen. 12:2; 13:2; 24:35; Ps. 112:3; Prov. 10:22; (Gal. 3:9)had blessed Abraham in all things. 2So Abraham said #Gen. 15:2to the oldest servant of his house, who #Gen. 24:10; 39:4–6ruled over all that he had, “Please, #Gen. 47:29; 1 Chr. 29:24put your hand under my thigh, 3and I will make you #Gen. 14:19, 22swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that #Gen. 26:35; 28:2; Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3; 2 Cor. 6:14–17you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; 4#Gen. 28:2but you shall go #Gen. 12:1; Heb. 11:15to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
5And the servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?”
6But Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there. 7The Lord God of heaven, who #Gen. 12:1; 24:3took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, #Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 15:18; 17:8; Ex. 32:13; Deut. 1:8; 34:4; Acts 7:5‘To your descendants I give this land,’ #Gen. 16:7; 21:17; 22:11; Ex. 23:20, 23; 33:2; Heb. 1:4, 14He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then #Josh. 2:17–20you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there.” 9So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.
10Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, #Gen. 24:2, 22for all his master’s goods were in his hand. And he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to #Gen. 11:31, 32; 22:20; 27:43; 29:5the city of Nahor. 11And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time #Ex. 2:16; 1 Sam. 9:11when women go out to draw water. 12Then he #Gen. 24:27, 42, 48; 26:24; 32:9; Ex. 3:6, 15said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please #Gen. 27:20; Neh. 1:11; Ps. 37:5give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13Behold, here #Gen. 24:43I stand by the well of water, and #Ex. 2:16the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And #Judg. 6:17, 37; 1 Sam. 14:10; 16:7; 20:7; 2 Kin. 20:9; Prov. 16:33; Acts 1:26by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”
15And it happened, #Is. 65:24before he had finished speaking, that behold, #Gen. 24:45; 25:20Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of #Gen. 22:20, 23Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16Now the young woman #Gen. 12:11; 26:7; 29:17was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17And the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.”
18#Gen. 24:14, 46; (1 Pet. 3:8, 9)So she said, “Drink, my lord.” Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” 20Then she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. 21And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether #Gen. 24:12–14, 27, 52the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.
22So it was, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden #Gen. 24:47; Ex. 32:2, 3; Is. 3:19–21nose ring weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels of gold, 23and said, “Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please, is there room in your father’s house for us to lodge?”
24So she said to him, #Gen. 22:23; 24:15“I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah’s son, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25Moreover she said to him, “We have both straw and feed enough, and room to lodge.”
26Then the man #Gen. 24:48, 52; Ex. 4:31bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord. 27And he said, #Gen. 24:12, 42, 48; Ex. 18:10; Ruth 4:14; 1 Sam. 25:32, 39; 2 Sam. 18:28; Luke 1:68“Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken #Gen. 32:10; Ps. 98:3His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord #Gen. 24:21, 48led me to the house of my master’s brethren.” 28So the young woman ran and told her mother’s household these things.
29Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was #Gen. 29:5, 13Laban, and Laban ran out to the man by the well. 30So it came to pass, when he saw the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he heard the words of his sister Rebekah, saying, “Thus the man spoke to me,” that he went to the man. And there he stood by the camels at the well. 31And he said, “Come in, #Gen. 26:29; Judg. 17:2; Ruth 3:10; Ps. 115:15O blessed of the Lord! Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels.”
32Then the man came to the house. And he unloaded the camels, and #Gen. 43:24; Judg. 19:21provided straw and feed for the camels, and water to #Gen. 19:2; John 13:5, 13–15wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33Food was set before him to eat, but he said, #Job 23:12; John 4:34; Eph. 6:5–7“I will not eat until I have told about my errand.”
And he said, “Speak on.”
34So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35The Lord #Gen. 13:2; 24:1has blessed my master greatly, and he has become great; and He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36And Sarah my master’s wife #Gen. 21:1–7bore a son to my master when she was old; and #Gen. 21:10; 25:5to him he has given all that he has. 37Now my master #Gen. 24:2–4made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell; 38#Gen. 24:4but you shall go to my father’s house and to my family, and take a wife for my son.’ 39#Gen. 24:5And I said to my master, ‘Perhaps the woman will not follow me.’ 40#Gen. 24:7But he said to me, ‘The Lord, #Gen. 5:22, 24; 17:1; 1 Kin. 8:23before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father’s house. 41#Gen. 24:8You will be clear from this oath when you arrive among my family; for if they will not give her to you, then you will be released from my oath.’
42“And this day I came to the well and said, #Gen. 24:12‘O Lord God of my master Abraham, if You will now prosper the way in which I go, 43#Gen. 24:13behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass that when the virgin comes out to draw water, and I say to her, “Please give me a little water from your pitcher to drink,” 44and she says to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also,”—let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’
45#Gen. 24:15“But before I had finished #1 Sam. 1:13speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah, coming out with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down to the well and drew water. And I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 46And she made haste and let her pitcher down from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels a drink also.’ So I drank, and she gave the camels a drink also. 47Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the nose ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 48#Gen. 24:26, 52And I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to #Gen. 22:23; 24:27; Ps. 32:8; 48:14; Is. 48:17take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49Now if you will #Gen. 47:29; Josh. 2:14deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. And if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.”
50Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, #Ps. 118:23; Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:11“The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot #Gen. 31:24, 29speak to you either bad or good. 51#Gen. 20:15Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the Lord has spoken.”
52And it came to pass, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, that #Gen. 24:26, 48he worshiped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth. 53Then the servant brought out #Gen. 24:10, 22; Ex. 3:22; 11:2; 12:35jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave #2 Chr. 21:3; Ezra 1:6precious things to her brother and to her mother.
54And he and the men who were with him ate and drank and stayed all night. Then they arose in the morning, and he said, #Gen. 24:56, 59; 30:25“Send me away to my master.”
55But her brother and her mother said, “Let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least ten; after that she may go.”
56And he said to them, “Do not hinder me, since the Lord has prospered my way; send me away so that I may go to my master.”
57So they said, “We will call the young woman and ask her personally.” 58Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?”
And she said, “I will go.”
59So they sent away Rebekah their sister #Gen. 35:8and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60And they blessed Rebekah and said to her:
“Our sister, may you become
#Gen. 17:16The mother of thousands of ten thousands;
#Gen. 22:17; 28:14 And may your descendants possess
The gates of those who hate them.”
61Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.
62Now Isaac came from the way of #Gen. 16:14; 25:11Beer Lahai Roi, for he dwelt in the South. 63And Isaac went out #Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2; 77:12; 119:15, 27, 48; 143:5; 145:5to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. 64Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when #Josh. 15:18she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; 65for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?”
The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself.
66And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he #Gen. 25:20; 29:20; Prov. 18:22took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac #Gen. 23:1, 2; 38:12was comforted after his mother’s death.