Abraham Seeks a Wife for Isaac
1Now, Yahweh had wonderfully blessed Abraham in every way, and he became a very old man, well advanced in years. # 24:1 Or “gone in days,” a figure of speech for saying Abraham was very old and had little time left. Perhaps the Hebrew phrase ba bayamim is saying that Abraham “lived every day to its fullest.” 2One day, Abraham called for his trusted head servant, # 24:2 Or “oldest servant.” Many scholars conclude this was Eliezer. See Gen. 15:2. He becomes a type of the Holy Spirit, who finds and draws a bride for the Son of God by revealing him as Savior. who was in charge of all that he had, and said “Please, put your hand here under my thigh, # 24:2 Abraham is euphemistically referring to his private parts, his “family jewels.” The servant touching his private parts while making this oath was acknowledging that if he broke his solemn promise, Abraham’s seed (offspring) had the right to avenge him of this sin. In Western society, we raise our right hand and swear, but in this episode, the servant put his hand on Abraham’s reproductive power to give life. 3and I will make you swear by Yahweh, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not acquire a wife for my son among the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I am living. 4Promise me you will go instead to my relatives in my native land and find a wife among them for my son Isaac.”
5The servant asked him, “Suppose the woman is not willing to come back with me to this land. Should I then take your son back to your native land?”
6“Absolutely not,” Abraham answered, “make sure that you do not take my son back there. 7For Yahweh, the God of heaven, took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth. He spoke to me and solemnly promised that he would give this land to my descendants. I know he will send his angel before you # 24:7 That is, the angel of God would lead Abraham’s servant to the right woman for his son. See Ex. 23:20; 32:34; Num. 20:16. so that you can find a wife for my son from there. 8And if for any reason the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you are released from this oath that you swear to me. But no matter what, do not take my son back there!” 9So, the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to carry out his wishes. # 24:9 We can see a picture here of the Father releasing the Holy Spirit to seek out a bride for his Son, Jesus Christ. It is the Father who brings the bride to Jesus as his love-gift to the Son (see John 17:24). In picture form, the details of this chapter point us to the heavenly scene of gathering a bride for Jesus from the nations of the earth. The church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife (see Rev. 21:9). His ministers are friends of the Bridegroom who are sent to awaken bridal love in the nations as they persuade souls to espouse their hearts to him (see Matt. 9:15; John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2). Only the trusted Servant, the Holy Spirit, is capable of drawing hearts to the Son, imparting endless love for him. Although unnamed here, the servant is elsewhere named Eliezer (see Gen. 15:2), which means “the God of help” or “the God of comfort.” Is not the Holy Spirit our Helper, our Comforter (see 2 Cor. 1:3)? He desires a willing bride for the heavenly “Isaac.” She will be willing to leave all to follow this Prince. She will be willing to follow the Holy Spirit as he leads her back to her Bridegroom.
The Woman at the Well
10So the servant took ten of his master’s camels, loaded them with all sorts of gifts, some of the best things his master owned, and journeyed toward the distant land of Mesopotamia # 24:10 Or “Aram Naharaim,” which means “two rivers” and refers to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in modern Iraq. until he got to the village where Abraham’s brother Nahor had lived. # 24:10 From Canaan to Mesopotamia was a journey of at least five hundred miles (eight hundred kilometers). 11He had his camels kneel by a well outside the village. It was evening, the time when the women came out to draw water. 12He prayed: “Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, let my journey here be a success and show your gracious love to my master Abraham. 13I am standing here by this well, and the young women of the village are coming out to draw water. Give me a sign. 14I will say to one of the girls, # 24:14 Or “virgins” (LXX). ‘Please, lower your jar and give me a drink.’ And if she is the right one, the girl whom you have chosen to be a wife for your servant Isaac, then let her say to me, ‘Drink, and I will also draw water for your camels.’ By this sign I will know that you have shown your gracious love to my master.” # 24:14 Would the girl be willing to give ten thirsty camels water from the well? The woman’s willingness to serve water showed that she had a true servant-spirit. What work to draw water for these thirsty camels! She had to lower her bucket down the well many times, for one camel can drink twenty gallons—all for a stranger! It was evening, and it would have been dark after she was done. Only an exceptional woman would do something like this. She is a picture of the servant-bride of Jesus Christ.
15Suddenly, before he had finished praying, there was Rebekah approaching the well with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel and the granddaughter of Milcah and Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16The young woman was strikingly beautiful, unmarried, and still a virgin. She walked down to the well, filled her jar, and came back up. 17Abraham’s servant hurried over to meet her and said, “Please, lower your jar and give me a little drink.” 18She responded, “Drink, my lord.” She then quickly lowered her jar to give him a drink. 19Then, after she had finished giving him a drink, she added, “I will also draw water for your camels until they have finished drinking.” 20She quickly emptied her jar into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw more water, until she had watered all the camels. # 24:20 This one act of service qualified Rebekah to be Isaac’s bride and to be brought into the line of Christ and his inheritance. We often do not realize how one act of humble service will affect the world and bring promotion to our own life (see Matt. 10:42).
21Meanwhile, the servant stared at her, silently pondering whether Yahweh had indeed made his journey successful. 22After the camels had finished drinking, he took a costly gold nose ring weighing a half shekel # 24:22 That is, approximately ¼ ounce or 6 grams. and two solid gold bracelets weighing ten shekels, # 24:22 That is, approximately 5 ounces or 110 grams. and gave them to Rebekah. 23Then he asked her, “Tell me, who is your father? Is there room in your father’s house for me and my men to stay tonight?”
24She replied, “My father’s name is Bethuel, and my grandparents are Milcah and Nahor.” # 24:24 Rebekah was Isaac’s second cousin. 25She went on, “There is room for you to spend the night at our home, and plenty of straw and food for the camels.” 26Upon hearing this, the servant bowed down and worshiped Yahweh, 27saying, “Praised be Yahweh, the God of Abraham, for you have faithfully kept your promise to my master and displayed your wonderful kindness and love. Yahweh, you led me straight to the very place of my master’s relatives!”
Rebekah’s Family Agrees to the Marriage Arrangement
28Then the girl quickly ran # 24:28 What energy Rebekah had! After filling many buckets of water, she then ran home to tell her household what had taken place. to inform her mother and family about all that had happened. 29-30Now Rebekah had an older brother named Laban, # 24:29–30 Rebekah’s brother Laban saw her running home wearing gold jewelry and knew something good must have happened (see Prov. 18:16). Laban means “white.” It is also used poetically for the moon. See Song. 6:10; Isa. 24:23; 30:26. and when he heard everything the man had told his sister and saw her gold nose ring and the costly bracelets dangling on her wrists, Laban ran out to meet the man waiting at the well—and there he was standing beside his camels.
31Then Laban said to the man, “Friend, Yahweh has wonderfully blessed you; please, come to my home. Why are you standing out here when I have prepared the house for you and a place for your camels?” 32So the man came into the house, and his camels were unloaded and given straw and feed. The servants brought water to wash the man’s feet and the feet of the men with him.
33But when they set food before him, he said, “I won’t eat until I tell you why I’m here.”
“Please, tell us,” Laban said.
34“I am Abraham’s servant,” he began. 35“Yahweh has wonderfully blessed my master, and he has become extremely wealthy. # 24:35 Or “great” or “powerful.” Yahweh has given him flocks and herds, camels and donkeys, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants. 36And my master’s wife, Sarah, has miraculously borne him a son in her old age, and my master’s son is the sole heir of his fortune. 37My master has put me under an oath saying, ‘Do not get a wife for my son from among the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I am living. 38Instead, go to my relatives in my native land and find a wife among them for my son.’ 39In reply I said to my master, ‘Suppose the woman refuses to return with me.’ 40He answered me, ‘Yahweh, in whose presence I have walked all these years, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. You will find a wife for my son from among my relatives, my father’s family. 41If you go to my relatives, and they will not give her to you, then and only then will you be released from this oath.’ # 24:41 Or “from my adjuration.” The Hebrew implies that only if the girl’s family refused to release her would the servant be absolved from the curse and penalty for breaking his oath. 42So, when I arrived at the well today, I prayed, ‘O Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, make my mission a success. 43I’m here standing at this well. May the right girl for my master’s son come out to draw water. And when she does, I will say to her “Please give me a little drink from your jar.” 44And if she replies, saying, “Drink, and I will also draw water for your camels,” then I might know that she is the young woman Yahweh has chosen for my master’s son.’
45“Before I had even finished my heartfelt prayer, there was Rebekah coming out with her water jar on her shoulder! After she went down to the well and filled her jar, I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46She quickly lowered her jar and said, ‘Drink, and I will also draw water for your camels.’ So, I drank, and she also watered the camels. 47Then I asked her, ‘Tell me, who is your father?’ She said, ‘I’m the daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to him.’ When I learned she was of my master’s family, I put a gold ring in her nose and gold bracelets on her wrists, 48and I bowed before Yahweh and worshiped him. I praised Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, who led me perfectly on the right path to find the very daughter of my master’s brother to marry his son. 49Now, if you will show faithful love to my master and do what is right, then give me permission to take Rebekah back to his land. If not, tell me, and I will go on my way.” # 24:49 Or “I will turn to the right or to the left,” which suggests going elsewhere to look for a wife for his master’s son.
50After hearing this, Laban and Bethuel said, “This was all planned by Yahweh! # 24:50 So many times we think the events of our life are happenstance, but they may be a “divine setup” to release the next phase of destiny in our lives. If this is his plan, what can we say? # 24:50 Or “we are not able to speak to you bad or good.” It didn’t matter to Laban and Bethuel what they could add, for they viewed all that happened as God’s will. 51Here stands our Rebekah before you. You may take her and go and let her marry your master’s son and fulfill Yahweh’s plan for her.”
52When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed his face down to the ground and worshiped Yahweh. 53Then he brought expensive jewelry of silver and gold and exquisitely embroidered garments, and gave them all to Rebekah, and he gave costly gifts to her brother and her mother. # 24:53 These “costly gifts” would likely serve as the bride price required by the culture of that day. 54Afterward, the servant and his men ate and drank, and they spent the night in Laban’s home.
First thing in the morning, he said to them, “Allow me now to return to my master.” 55Her brother and mother replied, “Please let Rebekah remain with us a while—for ten days or so, then she may go with you.”
56He responded, “Please, Yahweh has made my mission successful. Send me off with her to my master, don’t make me wait.”
57They answered him, “We will call for Rebekah and see what she wants to do.” 58So they called for Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”
“I will gladly go with him,” she answered. 59So they sent their sister Rebekah away with her servant girls to go with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60As she departed, they blessed her with these words:
“Our dear sister,
may you become thousands of ten thousands! # 24:60 Or “may you be [grow into] thousands of myriads!”
May your descendants gain possession
of the city gates of their foes!” # 24:60 Destiny hung over them that moment as the Spirit of Prophecy fell. The prophetic blessing was this: The seed (descendants) of Rebekah received the same blessing as the seed of Abraham: they would possess the city gates of their enemies. They would take cities! They would possess the places once held by God’s enemies. This is a prophetic promise of a coming anointing that would reach cities. This city-reaching power comes when God’s people walk with a heart like Rebekah. We must become Rebekah’s spiritual seed, so that we may enter into the gate-taking anointing for our cities.
61Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed the servant and his men. # 24:61 Their journey to Isaac’s home would have lasted at least a month.
Isaac Meets Rebekah
62Meanwhile, Isaac, who was living in the southern desert of Canaan, # 24:62 Or “the land of the Negev.” had just come back to his camp from the Well of the Living One Who Watches Over Me. # 24:62 Or “Beer-Lahai-Roi.” See Gen. 16:14. 63Isaac went out in the evening into the field to meditate. # 24:63 Or possibly “to mourn [the loss of his mother].” The Hebrew is uncertain. Some translations have “Isaac went out into the field to take a walk.” He looked up, and saw camels coming in the distance. 64As Rebekah got closer, she raised her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she nearly fell off her camel! # 24:64 The Hebrew phrase is literally “she fell off her camel” or “she collapsed.” One can imagine their eyes met, they locked eyes with each other, and something sparked between them. Some interpretations suggest that Isaac was simply glowing with God’s light and shining with God’s glory from spending time with God. Rashi (a well-known Torah commentator) writes about Rebekah and this initial meeting: “She saw his [Isaac’s] majestic appearance, and she was astounded by him.” 65She whispered to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field toward us?”
“Why, he’s the one about whom I told you, that’s my young master!” the servant said. So Rebekah quickly took her veil and covered her face. 66Then the servant began to explain to Isaac in detail all the amazing things that had happened. 67Isaac fell in love # 24:67 Isaac’s love for Rebekah is the second time in the Bible that love is mentioned between people. The first is Abraham’s love for his son, Isaac. And now we have a man who loves his wife. This speaks of the two most loving bonds among humanity: the love of parents for their children and the love bond between husband and wife. with Rebekah. He took her to be his wife, and they were married, and he brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. # 24:67 With Rebekah coming into Sarah’s tent, we see the matriarchal continuity from Sarah to Rebekah, a fitting successor. In this way, Isaac was greatly comforted after his mother’s death.
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