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 Abraham was old, and well advanced in age. The LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please put your hand under my thigh. 3I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live. 4But you shall go to my country, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant said to him, “What if the woman isn’t willing to follow me to this land? Must I bring your son again to the land you came from?”
6 Abraham said to him, “Beware that you don’t bring my son there again. 7The LORD, the God of heaven—who took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my birth, who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, ‘I will give this land to your offspring—he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8If the woman isn’t willing to follow you, then you shall be clear from this oath to me. Only you shall not bring my son there again.”
9 The servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter. 10The servant took ten of his master’s camels, and departed, having a variety of good things of his master’s with him. He arose, and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water. 12He said, “LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13Behold, I am standing by the spring of water. The daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14Let it happen, that the young lady to whom I will say, ‘Please let down your pitcher, that I may drink,’ then she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink,’—let her be the one you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16The young lady was very beautiful to look at, a virgin. No man had known her. She went down to the spring, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17The servant ran to meet her, and said, “Please give me a drink, a little water from your pitcher.”
18 She said, “Drink, my lord.” She hurried, and let down her pitcher on her hand, and gave him a drink. 19When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will also draw for your camels, until they have finished drinking.” 20She hurried, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again to the well to draw, and drew for all his camels.
21 The man looked steadfastly at her, remaining silent, to know whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not. 22As the camels had done drinking, the man took a golden ring of half a shekel#24:22 A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces. weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold, 23and said, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there room in your father’s house for us to stay?”
24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25She said moreover to him, “We have both straw and feed enough, and room to lodge in.”
26 The man bowed his head, and worshiped the LORD. 27He said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his loving kindness and his truth toward my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the way to the house of my master’s relatives.”
28 The young lady ran, and told her mother’s house about these words. 29Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban. Laban ran out to the man, to the spring. 30When he saw the ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, “This is what the man said to me,” he came to the man. Behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. 31He said, “Come in, you blessed of the LORD. Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.”
32 The man came into the house, and he unloaded the camels. He gave straw and feed for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33Food was set before him to eat, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told my message.”
Laban said, “Speak on.”
34 He said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35The LORD has blessed my master greatly. He has become great. The LORD has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male servants and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36Sarah, my master’s wife, bore a son to my master when she was old. He has given all that he has to him. 37My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, 38but you shall go to my father’s house, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.’ 39I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not follow me?’ 40He said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you, and prosper your way. You shall take a wife for my son from my relatives, and of my father’s house. 41Then you will be clear from my oath, when you come to my relatives. If they don’t give her to you, you shall be clear from my oath.’ 42I came today to the spring, and said, ‘The LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now you do prosper my way which I go— 43behold, I am standing by this spring of water. Let it happen, that the maiden who comes out to draw, to whom I will say, “Please give me a little water from your pitcher to drink,” 44then she tells me, “Drink, and I will also draw for your camels,”—let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’ 45Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. She went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 46She hurried and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink.’ So I drank, and she also gave the camels a drink. 47I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her hands. 48I bowed my head, and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter for his son. 49Now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. If not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.”
50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered, “The thing proceeds from the LORD. We can’t speak to you bad or good. 51Behold, Rebekah is before you. Take her, and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the LORD has spoken.”
52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth to the LORD. 53The servant brought out jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and her mother. 54They ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and stayed all night. They rose up in the morning, and he said, “Send me away to my master.”
55 Her brother and her mother said, “Let the young lady stay with us a few days, at least ten. After that she will go.”
56 He said to them, “Don’t hinder me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.”
57 They said, “We will call the young lady, and ask her.” 58They called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?”
She said, “I will go.”
59 They sent away Rebekah, their sister, with her nurse, Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60They blessed Rebekah, and said to her, “Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let your offspring possess the gate of those who hate them.”
61 Rebekah arose with her ladies. They rode on the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he lived in the land of the South. 63Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the evening. He lifted up his eyes and looked. Behold, there were camels coming. 64Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she got off the camel. 65She said to the servant, “Who is the man who is walking in the field to meet us?”
The servant said, “It is my master.”
She took her veil, and covered herself. 66The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife. He loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
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