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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© British and Foreign Bible Society 2012
1¶ And Abraham was old and well stricken in age, and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
2And Abraham said unto his eldest slave of his house, who ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh,
3and I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of the heavens and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell;
4but thou shalt go unto my country and to my kindred and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
5And the slave said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land, must I therefore bring thy son again unto the land from which thou didst come?
6And Abraham said unto him, Beware that thou not bring my son there again.
7The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred and who spoke unto me and swore unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from there.
8And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be free from this my oath; only do not bring my son there again.
9Then the slave put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning that matter.
10¶ And the slave took ten camels of the camels of his master and departed with the best of what his master had in his hand; and he arose and went to Aram-naharaim, unto the city of Nahor.
11And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
12And he said, O Lord, God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, to have a good encounter this day and show mercy unto my master Abraham.
13Behold, I stand here by the fountain of water, and the daughters of the men of the city come out for water:
14And let it come to pass that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels to drink also; let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy slave Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shown mercy unto my master.
15And it came to pass before he had done speaking that, behold, Rebekah came out (who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother) with her pitcher upon her shoulder.
16And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known; and she went down to the fountain and filled her pitcher and was coming back up.
17Then the slave ran to meet her and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
18And she said, Drink, my lord, and she hastened to let down her pitcher upon her hand and gave him drink.
19And when she had finished giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also until they have finished drinking.
20And she hastened and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water and drew for all his camels.
21And the man marveled at her in silence, to see whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not.
22And it came to pass as the camels had finished drinking that the man took a golden pendant of half a shekel weight and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold
23and said, Whose daughter art thou? Tell me, I pray thee; is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in?
24And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she gave birth unto Nahor.
25She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and fodder enough and room to lodge in.
26Then the man bowed down his head and worshipped the Lord.
27And he said, Blessed be the Lord, God of my master Abraham, who has not lifted his mercy and his truth from my master, the Lord leading me in the way to the house of my master’s brethren.
28And the damsel ran and told those of her mother’s house these things.
29¶ And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban; and Laban ran out unto the man to the fountain.
30And it came to pass when he saw the pendant and the bracelets upon his sister’s hands, she said, Thus spoke the man unto me; then he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the fountain.
31And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; why dost thou stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and the place for the camels.
32Then the man came into the house, and Laban ungirded his camels and gave straw and fodder for the camels and water to wash his feet and the men’s feet that were with him.
33And they set food before him to eat, but he said, I will not eat until I have told my errand. And he said unto him, Speak on.
34And he said, I am Abraham’s slave.
35And the Lord has blessed my master greatly, and he is become great; and he has given him flocks and herds and silver and gold and menslaves and maidslaves and camels and asses.
36And Sarah, my master’s wife, bore a son to my master when she was old, unto whom he has given all that he has.
37And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell;
38but thou shalt go unto my father’s house and to my kindred and take from there a wife for my son.
39And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.
40And he said unto me, The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my lineage and of my father’s house;
41then shalt thou be free from this my oath, when thou hast come unto my lineage; and if they give her not unto thee, thou shalt be free from my oath.
42And I came this day unto the fountain and said, O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if now thou dost prosper my way by which I go,
43behold, I stand by the fountain of water; let it come to pass, therefore, that the virgin who comes forth to draw water unto whom I say, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;
44and if she shall say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels, let the same be the woman whom the Lord has prepared for my master’s son.
45And before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder, and she went down unto the fountain and drew water, and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.
46And she made haste and let down her pitcher from her shoulder and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also; so I drank, and she gave to drink unto the camels also.
47And I asked her and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore unto him. Then I put the pendant over her nose and the bracelets upon her hands.
48And I bowed down my head and worshipped the Lord and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of the truth to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son.
49And now if ye will deal in mercy and truth 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, The thing proceeds from the Lord; we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.
51Behold, Rebekah is before thee; take her and go and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the Lord has spoken.
52And it came to pass that when Abraham’s slave heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth.
53And the slave brought forth vessels of silver and vessels of gold and raiment and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother.
54¶ And they ate and drank, he and the men that were with him, and slept; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.
55Then her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.
56And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord has prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.
57Then they said, We will call the damsel and enquire at her mouth.
58And they called Rebekah and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
59So they sent away Rebekah, their sister, and her nurse and Abraham’s slave and his men.
60And they blessed Rebekah and said unto her, Thou art our sister; be thou the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed possess the gate of those who hate them.
61And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels and followed the man; and the slave took Rebekah and went away.
62¶ And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the land of the Negev.
63And Isaac had gone out to pray in the field at the evening hour; and he lifted up his eyes and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
64And Rebekah also lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
65For she had asked the slave, What man is this that walks in the field to meet us? And the slave had said, This is my master; therefore she took a veil and covered herself.
66Then the slave told Isaac all the things that he had done.
67And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent and took Rebekah as his wife; and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
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