A Wife for Isaac
1Abraham was now very old. The Lord had blessed him in every way. 2Abraham’s oldest servant was in charge of everything Abraham owned. Abraham called that servant to him and said, “Put your hand under my leg.# This showed that a person would keep the promise. 3Make a promise to me before the Lord, the God of heaven and earth. Don’t get a wife for my son from the Canaanite girls who live around here. 4Instead, go back to my country, to the land of my relatives. Get a wife for my son Isaac from there.”
5The servant said to him, “What if this woman does not want to return with me to this land? Then, should I take your son with me back to your homeland?”
6Abraham said to him, “No! Don’t take my son back there. 7The Lord is the God of heaven. He brought me from the home of my father and the land of my relatives. But the Lord promised me, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ The Lord will send his angel before you. The angel will help you get a wife for my son there. 8But if the girl won’t come back with you, you will be free from this promise. But you must not take my son back there.” 9So the servant put his hand under his master’s leg. He made a promise to Abraham about this.
10The servant took ten of Abraham’s camels and left. He carried with him many different kinds of beautiful gifts. He went to Northwest Mesopotamia to Nahor’s city. 11He made the camels kneel down at the well outside the city. It was in the evening when the women come out to get water.
12The servant said, “Lord, you are the God of my master Abraham. Allow me to find a wife for his son today. Please show this kindness to my master Abraham. 13Here I am, standing by the spring of water. The girls from the city are coming out to get water. 14I will say to one of the girls, ‘Please put your jar down so I can drink.’ Then let her say, ‘Drink, and I will also give water to your camels.’ If that happens, I will know she is the right one for your servant Isaac. And I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
15Before the servant had finished praying, Rebekah came out of the city. She was the daughter of Bethuel. (Bethuel was the son of Milcah and Nahor, Abraham’s brother.) Rebekah was carrying her water jar on her shoulder. 16She was very pretty. She was a virgin; she had never had physical relations with a man. She went down to the spring and filled her jar. Then she came back up. 17The servant ran to her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
18Rebekah said, “Drink, sir.” She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and gave him a drink. 19After he finished drinking, Rebekah said, “I will also pour some water for your camels.” 20So she quickly poured all the water from her jar into the drinking trough for the camels. Then she kept running to the well until she had given all the camels enough to drink.
21The servant quietly watched her. He wanted to be sure the Lord had made his trip successful. 22After the camels had finished drinking, he gave Rebekah a gold ring weighing one-fifth of an ounce. He also gave her two gold arm bracelets weighing about four ounces each. 23The servant asked, “Who is your father? Is there a place in his house for me and my men to spend the night?”
24Rebekah answered, “My father is Bethuel. He is the son of Milcah and Nahor.” 25Then she said, “And, yes, we have straw for your camels. We have a place for you to spend the night.”
26The servant bowed and worshiped the Lord. 27He said, “Blessed is the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. The Lord has been kind and truthful to him. He has led me to my master’s relatives.”
28Then Rebekah ran and told her mother’s family about all these things. 29She had a brother named Laban. He ran out to Abraham’s servant, who was still at the spring. 30Laban had heard what she had said. And he had seen the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms. So he ran out to the well. And there was the man standing by the camels at the spring. 31Laban said, “Sir, you are welcome to come in. You don’t have to stand outside. I have prepared the house for you and also a place for your camels.”
32So Abraham’s servant went into the house. Laban unloaded the camels and gave them straw and food. Then Laban gave water to Abraham’s servant so he and the men with him could wash their feet. 33Then Laban gave the servant food. But the servant said, “I will not eat until I have told you why I came.”
So Laban said, “Then tell us.”
34He said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35The Lord has greatly blessed my master in everything. My master has become a rich man. The Lord has given him many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. He has given Abraham silver and gold, male and female servants, camels and horses. 36Sarah, my master’s wife, gave birth to a son when she was old. My master has given everything he owns to that son. 37My master had me make a promise to him. He said, ‘Don’t get a wife for my son from the Canaanite girls who live around here. 38Instead you must go to my father’s people and to my family. There you must get a wife for my son.’ 39I said to my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’ 40But he said, ‘I serve the Lord. He will send his angel with you and will help you. You will get a wife for my son from my family and my father’s people. 41Then you will be free from the promise. Or if they will not give you a wife for my son, you will be free from this promise.’
42“Today I came to this spring. I said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, please make my trip successful. 43Look, I am standing by this spring of water. I will wait for a young woman to come out to get water. Then I will say, “Please give me water from your jar to drink.” 44Then let her say, “Drink this water. I will also get water for your camels.” By this I will know the Lord has chosen her for my master’s son.’
45“Before I finished my silent prayer, Rebekah came out of the city. She had her water jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and got water. I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder. She said, ‘Drink this. I will also get water for your camels.’ So I drank, and she gave water to my camels also. 47Then I asked her, ‘Who is your father?’ She answered, ‘My father is Bethuel son of Milcah and Nahor.’ Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48At that time I bowed my head and thanked the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. I thanked him because he led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49Now, tell me, will you be kind and truthful to my master? And if not, tell me so. Then I will know what I should do.”
50Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is clearly from the Lord. We cannot change what must happen. 51Rebekah is yours. Take her and go. Let her marry your master’s son as the Lord has commanded.”
52When Abraham’s servant heard these words, he bowed facedown on the ground before the Lord. 53Then the servant gave Rebekah gold and silver jewelry and clothes. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and mother. 54The servant and the men with him ate and drank. And they spent the night there. When they got up the next morning, the servant said, “Now let me go back to my master.”
55Rebekah’s mother and her brother said, “Let Rebekah stay with us at least ten days. After that she may go.”
56But the servant said to them, “Do not 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?”
She said, “Yes, I do.”
59So they allowed Rebekah and her nurse to go with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60They blessed Rebekah and said,
“Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of people.
And may your descendants capture the cities of their enemies.”
61Then Rebekah and her servant girls got on the camels and followed the servant and his men. So the servant took Rebekah and left.
62At this time Isaac had left Beer Lahai Roi. He was living in southern Canaan. 63One evening he went out to the field to think. As he looked up, he saw camels coming. 64Rebekah looked and saw Isaac. Then she jumped down from the camel. 65She asked the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?”
The servant answered, “That is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil.
66The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 67Then Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent of Sarah, his mother. And she became his wife. Isaac loved her very much. So he was comforted after his mother’s death.
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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.
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