Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 24

24
1Now Abraham was old, and advanced in age: and the Lord had blessed him in all things.
2And he said to the elder servant of his house, who was ruler over all he had: Put thy hand under my thigh,
3That I may make thee swear by the Lord the God of heaven and earth, that thou take not a wife for my son of the daughters of the Chanaanites, among whom I dwell:
4But that thou go to my own country and kindred, and take a wife from thence for my son Isaac.
5The servant answered: If the woman will not come with me into this land, must I bring thy son back again to the place, from whence thou camest out?
6And Abraham said: Beware, thou never bring my son back again thither.
7The Lord God of heaven, who took me out of my father's house, and out of my native country, who spoke to me, and swore to me, saying: To thy seed will I give this land; he will send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take from thence a wife for my son.
8But if the woman will not follow thee, thou shalt not be bound by the oath; only bring not my son back thither again.
9The servant therefore put his hand under the thigh of Abraham, his lord, and swore to him upon this word.
10And he took ten camels of his master's herd, and departed, carrying something of all his goods with him; and he set forth and went on to Mesopotamia to the city of Nachor.
11And when he had made the camels lie down without the town near a well of water in evening, at the time when women are wont to come out to draw water, he said:
12O Lord the God of my master Abraham, meet me to-day, I beseech thee, and shew kindness to my master Abraham.
13Behold, I stand nigh the spring of water, and the daughters of the inhabitants of this city will come out to draw water.
14Now, therefore, the maid to whom I shall say: Let down thy pitcher that I may drink: and she shall answer, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: Let it be the same whom thou hast provided for thy servant Isaac. And by this I shall understand, that thou hast shown kindness to my master.
15He had not yet ended these words within himself, and, behold, Rebecca came out, the daughter of Bathuel, son of Melcha, wife to Nachor the brother of Abraham, having a pitcher on her shoulder.
16An exceedingly comely maid, and a most beautiful virgin, and not known to man: and she went down to the spring, and filled her pitcher and was coming back.
17And the servant ran to meet her, and said: Give me a little water to drink of thy pitcher.
18And she answered: Drink, my lord. And quickly she let down the pitcher upon her arm, and gave him drink.
19And when he had drunk, she said: I will draw water for thy camels also, till they all drink.
20And pouring out the pitcher into the troughs, she ran back to the well to draw water: and having drawn she gave to all the camels.
21But he, musing, beheld her with silence, desirous to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.
22And after that the camels had drunk, the man took out golden earrings, weighing two sicles: and as many bracelets of ten sicles weight.
23And he said to her: Whose daughter art thou? Tell me: Is there any place in thy father's house to lodge?
24And she answered: I am the daughter of Bathuel, the son of Melcha, whom she bore to Nachor.
25And she said moreover to him: We have good store of both straw and hay, and a large place to lodge in.
26The man bowed himself down, and adored the Lord,
27Saying: Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not taken away his mercy and truth from my master, and hath brought me the straight way into the house of my master's brother.
28Then the maid ran, and told in her mother's house, all that she had heard.
29And Rebecca had a brother named Laban, who went out in haste to the man, to the well.
30And when he had seen the earrings and bracelets in his sister's hands, and had heard all that she related, saying: Thus and thus, the man spoke to me. He came to the man who stood by the camels, and near to the spring of water,
31And said to him: Come in, thou blessed of the Lord: why standest thou without? I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels.
32And he brought him in into his lodging: and he unharnessed the camels; and gave straw and hay, and water to wash his feet, and the feet of the men that were come with him.
33And bread was set before him. But he said: I will not eat, till I tell my message. He answered him: Speak.
34And he said: I am the servant of Abraham.
35And the Lord hath blessed my master wonderfully, and he is become great: and he hath given him sheep and oxen, silver and gold, men-servants and women-servants, camels and asses.
36And Sara, my master's wife hath borne my master a son in her old age: and he hath given him all that he had.
37And my master made me swear, saying: Thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the Chanaanites, in whose land I dwell.
38But thou shalt go to my father's house, and shalt take a wife of my own kindred for my son.
39But I answered my master: What if the woman will not come with me?
40The Lord, said he, in whose sight I walk, will send his angel with thee, and will direct thy way. And thou shalt take a wife for my son of my own kindred, and of my father's house.
41But thou shalt be clear from my curse, when thou shalt come to my kindred, if they will not give thee one.
42And I came to-day to the well of water, and said: O Lord God of my master Abraham, if thou hast prospered my way, wherein I now walk,
43Behold, I stand by the well of water, and the virgin, that shall come out to draw water, who shall hear me say: Give me a little water to drink of thy pitcher:
44And shall say to me: Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: Let the same be the woman, whom the Lord hath prepared for my master's son.
45And whilst I pondered these things secretly with myself, Rebecca appeared, coming with a pitcher, which she carried on her shoulder: and she went down to the well and drew water. And I said to her: Give me a little to drink.
46And she speedily let down the pitcher from her shoulder, and said to me: Both drink thou, and to thy camels I will give drink. I drank, and she watered the camels.
47And I asked her, and said: Whose daughter art thou? And she answered: I am the daughter of Bathuel, the son of Nachor, whom Melcha bore to him. So I put earrings on her to adorn her face, and I put bracelets on her hands.
48And falling down, I adored the Lord, blessing the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath brought me the straight way to take the daughter of my master's brother for his son.
49Wherefore, if you do according to mercy and truth with my master, tell me: but if it please you otherwise, tell me that also, that I may go to the right hand, or to the left.
50And Laban and Bathuel answered: The word hath proceeded from the Lord; we cannot speak any other thing to thee but his pleasure.
51Behold, Rebecca is before thee: Take her and go thy way; and let her be the wife of thy master's son, as the Lord hath spoken.
52Which when Abraham's servant heard, falling down to the ground, he adored the Lord.
53And bringing forth vessels of silver and gold, and garments, he gave them to Rebecca for a present. He offered gifts also to her brothers, and to her mother.
54And a banquet was made, and they ate and drank together, and lodged there. And in the morning, the servant arose, and said: Let me depart, that I may go to my master.
55And her brother and mother answered: Let the maid stay at least ten days with us, and afterwards she shall depart.
56Stay me not, said he, because the Lord hath prospered my way: send me away, that I may go to my master.
57And they said: Let us call the maid, and ask her will.
58And they called her, and when she was come, they asked: Wilt thou go with this man? She said: I will go.
59So they sent her away, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his company,
60Wishing prosperity to their sister, and saying: Thou art our sister: Mayst thou increase to thousands of thousands, and may thy seed possess the gates of their enemies.
61So Rebecca and her maids, being set upon camels, followed the man: who with speed returned to his master.
62At the same time Isaac was walking along the way to the well, which is called, Of the Living and the Seeing: for he dwelt in the south country.
63And he was gone forth to meditate in the field, the day being now well spent: and when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw camels coming afar off.
64Rebecca also, when she saw Isaac, lighted off the camel,
65And said to the servant: Who is that man who cometh towards us along the field? And he said to her: That man is my master. But she quickly took Her cloak, and covered herself.
66And the servant told Isaac all that he had done.
67Who brought her into the tent of Sara his mother, and took her to wife. And he loved her so much, that it moderated the sorrow which was occasioned by his mother's death.
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.