A wife for Isaac
1Abraham was now a very old man. The Lord had blessed him in every way. 2Abraham had an important servant in his house. He had authority over everything that belonged to Abraham. Abraham said to him, ‘Come here and make a promise to me. Put your hand between my legs to show that I can trust you. #24:2 At that time, the people used this practice. It showed that a person was making a serious promise to another person. 3You must make a serious promise to me in front of the Lord. He is the God who rules both heaven and earth. I am living among the Canaanite people, but you must promise this to me: Do not get a Canaanite woman to be a wife for my son. 4Instead, you must go to my own country. Go to my family there to find a wife for my son Isaac.’
5The servant asked Abraham, ‘What should I do if the woman will not agree? Maybe she will not come back with me to this land? Must I then take your son to the country that you came from?’
6Abraham replied, ‘No! You must never take my son back there. 7The Lord, the God of heaven, took me away from there. He took me out of my father's house. He took me away from the land where my family lives. God made a serious promise to me. He said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” Because God has promised this, he will send his angel to go in front of you. When you arrive there, you will find a woman to marry my son. 8But perhaps the woman will not agree to come back here with you. If that happens, you do not have to keep this promise. But do not take my son back to that land.’ 9So the servant put his hand between Abraham's legs. The servant promised that he would do everything that Abraham had told him.
10After that, Abraham's servant left to go on his journey. He took with him ten of his master's camels. He also took many different kinds of valuable gifts that Abraham had given to him. #24:10 The gifts were for the family of the woman who would agree to marry Isaac. He travelled towards Aram Naharaim. He arrived in the town of Nahor. #24:10 This was the place where Abraham's brother Nahor had lived. It was in Mesopotamia.
11Abraham's servant stopped outside the town. He made the camels go down on their knees near a well. It was the evening time, when women came to the well to get water. 12The servant prayed to God. He prayed, ‘Lord, God of Abraham, my master, please be my guide today. Be kind to my master Abraham, as you have promised him. 13See, I am standing here near this well. The daughters of the people who live in the town will come to get water from the well. 14I will say to one of the young women, “Please let me have a drink of water from your pot.” If she is the right woman for your servant Isaac to marry, please may she say, “Yes, drink. Then I will give water to your camels also”. If that happens, then I will know that you have kept your promise to my master.’
15The servant was still praying when Rebekah came to the well. She had her pot on her shoulder. Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Milcah. Milcah was the wife of Abraham's brother, Nahor. 16The young woman was very beautiful. She had not had sex with any man. She went down to the well. She filled her pot with water and she came back up again. 17Abraham's servant hurried to meet her. He said, ‘Please give me a little water to drink from your pot.’ 18She replied, ‘Yes sir, please drink.’ She quickly took the pot down from her shoulders. She held the pot with her hands and gave him a drink. 19After she had done that, she said, ‘Now I will get some water for your camels too. I will do this until they have drunk as much water as they want.’ 20So Rebekah quickly poured the water from her pot into the place where the animals drank. She ran back to the well to get more water. She did this until the camels had drunk enough. 21Abraham's servant watched the girl, but he did not say anything. He wanted to know if the Lord had helped him to find a wife for Isaac.
22The camels finished drinking. Then Abraham's servant took out a valuable gold nose ring. It weighed one half shekel. He also took out two large gold rings for Rebekah's arms. They weighed 10 shekels each.
23The servant gave them to Rebekah and he asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there a room in your father's house for me and my men to sleep there tonight?’
24Rebekah replied ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel. Nahor is his father, and Milcah is his mother. 25We have plenty of grass and food for the camels. And there is a room for you to stay with us for the night.’
26Then the man turned his face towards the ground. He worshipped the Lord. 27He said, ‘I praise the Lord who is the God of my master, Abraham. He has been very kind to my master. He has done what he promised to do for him. The Lord has been kind to me too. He has led me here to the house of my master's family.’
28Rebekah quickly ran back home. She told her mother and her family about what had happened.
29Rebekah had a brother. His name was Laban. 30Laban saw the nose ring and the arm rings that Rebekah was wearing. Rebekah told him what the man had said to her. So Laban went out quickly to the well to meet the servant. He found him standing near the well, together with his camels. 31Laban said to him, ‘The Lord has blessed you! You should not continue to stand out here. Come with me. I have prepared a room for you in my house. There is also a place for your camels.’
32So Abraham's servant went with Laban to the house. They took the luggage off the camels. Someone brought grass and food for the camels. They also brought water so that Abraham's servant and his men could wash their feet. 33They prepared food for the servant but he said, ‘I will not eat yet. First I must tell you why I have come here.’ Laban said, ‘Please tell us.’
34So the servant said, ‘I am Abraham's servant. 35The Lord has blessed my master very much, so that he has become very rich. The Lord has given him sheep and cows, and silver and gold. He has also given him male servants and female servants, camels and donkeys. 36Sarah is my master's wife. She has given birth to a son for him, even when she was very old. My master has given his son everything that belongs to him. 37My master told me to make a serious promise to him. He said, “I live as a stranger among the Canaanite people. But you must not get a Canaanite woman to be a wife for my son. 38Instead, go to the land where my father lived and find a wife for my son from among my family there.”
39So I asked my master, “What should I do if the woman will not return with me?” 40My master said “I have lived to please the Lord. He will send his angel to go with you. You will find a wife for my son, because the Lord will help you. You will find a wife for him from among my own family. 41Go to the place where my family group live. If they refuse to let you take her, you will no longer have to keep your promise to me.”
42I arrived at the town well today. I prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, please help me to find a wife for my master's son. This is why I have travelled here. 43See, I am standing here near this well. If a young woman comes to get water, I will say to her, ‘Please let me drink some water from your pot.’ 44If she is the woman that the Lord has chosen to marry my master's son, please may she say to me, ‘Yes, drink. Then I will also get some water for your camels to drink.’ ”
45While I was still praying quietly, Rebekah came to the well. She carried her pot on her shoulder. She went down to the well, and got some water. Then I said to her “Please give me some water to drink.” 46She quickly took her pot down from her shoulder. She said, “Drink. Then I will get water for your camels too.” So I drank. And she also gave water to the camels.
47I asked her, “Whose daughter are you?” She said, “I am the daughter of Bethuel. Nahor is his father and Milcah is his mother.” When I heard that, I put the ring in her nose. I put the rings on her arms. 48I turned my face towards the ground and I worshipped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham. The Lord led me to the right place so that I met the granddaughter of my master's brother. The Lord has led me to her, for my master's son. 49So tell me what you will say. If you will show true love to my master, then please say, “Yes.” But if not, then tell me. Then I will know what to do.’
50Laban and Bethuel replied, ‘We know that the Lord has caused all this to happen. So what we ourselves say is not important. 51Here is Rebekah. Take her with you to become the wife of your master's son. That is what the Lord has shown to be right.’
52When Abraham's servant heard their answer, he turned his face towards the ground to thank the Lord. 53He brought his master's gifts to give them to Rebekah. They were valuable things made from gold and silver, as well as beautiful clothes. He also gave valuable things to her brother and to her mother.
54After that, the servant ate a meal. The men who were with him also ate and drank. They stayed there for the night.
When they woke up the next morning, the servant said, ‘Let me leave now so that I can go back to my master.’ 55Rebekah's brother and her mother replied, ‘Please let Rebekah stay with us for a few more days. After about ten days, she can go with you.’ 56But the servant said, ‘Do not make me stay longer. The Lord has given me what I came here for. Let me leave now so that I can go back to my master.’ 57Rebekah's brother and mother said, ‘Let us call the girl. We can ask her what she wants to do.’ 58So they called Rebekah to come. They asked her, ‘Will you go with this man now?’ Rebekah said, ‘Yes, I will go.’
59So they agreed to let their sister Rebekah go. Her nurse went with her. They left there with Abraham's servant, and his men. 60As Rebekah was leaving, her brother and her mother blessed her. They said,
‘Our sister, may you become the mother of millions of descendants.
May your descendants win against their enemies,
and may they go into their enemies' cities.’ #24:60 Rebekah's mother and her brother are asking God that he will bless Rebekah. They want her to have many children.
61Then Rebekah and her female servants left there, together with Abraham's servant. They took camels to ride on. That was how the servant took Rebekah and left.
62At this time Isaac had returned from Beer Lahai Roi. #24:62 Beer Lahai Roi is a well. See Genesis 16:14. He was now living in the Negev.
63It was evening time. Isaac went out to walk in the fields. He looked up and he saw some camels. They were coming towards him.
64Rebekah also looked up and she saw Isaac. She got down from her camel. 65She asked Abraham's servant, ‘I see a man in the field who is coming towards us. Who is he?’ The servant replied, ‘He is my master’. Rebekah covered her face with a piece of cloth. #24:65 She covered her face because she was not yet a married woman.
66Then the servant told Isaac everything that happened. 67Isaac took Rebekah into the tent that his mother Sarah had lived in. Rebekah became Isaac's wife. And Isaac loved Rebekah. So Isaac was happy again, after the death of his mother.
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Rebekah, 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 for ever. 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 “Paddan-Aram” in 25.20; 28.2,6; 31.18,20; 33.18; 35.23-26; 46.8-15; and “Paddan” in 48.7). 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 jewellery 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.” Straight away 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 jewellery, 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 out in the fields, when suddenly he saw a group of people approaching on camels. So he started towards 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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