A Wife for Isaac
1Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in everything he did. 2He said to his oldest servant, who was in charge of all that he had, “Place your hand between my thighs#24.2 Place… thighs: This was the way in which a vow was made absolutely unchangeable. and make a vow. 3I want you to make a vow in the name of the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the people here in Canaan. 4You must go back to the country where I was born and get a wife for my son Isaac from among my relatives.”
5But the servant asked, “What if the young woman will not leave home to come with me to this land? Shall I send your son back to the land you came from?”
6Abraham answered, “Make sure that you don't send my son back there! 7The LORD, the God of heaven, brought me from the home of my father and from the land of my relatives, and he solemnly promised me that he would give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel before you, so that you can get a wife there for my son. 8If the young woman is not willing to come with you, you will be free from this promise. But you must not under any circumstances take my son back there.” 9So the servant put his hand between the thighs of Abraham, his master, and made a vow to do what Abraham had asked.
10The servant, who was in charge of Abraham's property, took ten of his master's camels and went to the city where Nahor had lived in northern Mesopotamia. 11When he arrived, he made the camels kneel down at the well outside the city. It was late afternoon, the time when women came out to get water. 12He prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and keep your promise to my master. 13Here I am at the well where the young women of the city will be coming to get water. 14I will say to one of them, ‘Please, lower your jar and let me have a drink.’ If she says, ‘Drink, and I will also bring water for your camels,’ may she be the one that you have chosen for your servant Isaac. If this happens, I will know that you have kept your promise to my master.”
15Before he had finished praying, Rebecca arrived with a water jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife Milcah. 16She was a very beautiful young woman and still a virgin. She went down to the well, filled her jar, and came back. 17The servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a drink of water from your jar.”
18She said, “Drink, sir,” and quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and held it while he drank. 19When he had finished, she said, “I will also bring water for your camels and let them have all they want.” 20She quickly emptied her jar into the animals' drinking-trough and ran to the well to get more water, until she had watered all his camels. 21The man kept watching her in silence, to see if the LORD had given him success.
22When she had finished, the man took an expensive gold ring and put it in her nose and put two large gold bracelets on her arms. 23He said, “Please tell me who your father is. Is there room in his house for my men and me to spend the night?”
24“My father is Bethuel son of Nahor and Milcah,” she answered. 25“There is plenty of straw and fodder at our house, and there is a place for you to stay.”
26Then the man knelt down and worshipped the LORD. 27He said, “Praise the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has faithfully kept his promise to my master. The LORD has led me straight to my master's relatives.”
28The young woman ran to her mother's house and told the whole story. 29Now Rebecca had a brother named Laban, and he ran outside to go to the well where Abraham's servant was. 30Laban had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister's arms and had heard her say what the man had told her. He went to Abraham's servant, who was standing by his camels at the well, 31and said, “Come home with me. You are a man whom the LORD has blessed. Why are you standing out here? I have a room ready for you in my house, and there is a place for your camels.”
32So the man went into the house, and Laban unloaded the camels and gave them straw and fodder. Then he brought water for Abraham's servant and his men to wash their feet. 33When food was brought, the man said, “I will not eat until I have said what I have to say.”
Laban said, “Go on and speak.”
34“I am the servant of Abraham,” he began. 35“The LORD has greatly blessed my master and made him a rich man. He has given him flocks of sheep and goats, cattle, silver, gold, male and female slaves, camels, and donkeys. 36Sarah, my master's wife, bore him a son when she was old, and my master has given everything he owns to him. 37My master made me promise with a vow to obey his command. He said, ‘Do not choose a wife for my son from the young women in the land of Canaan. 38Instead, go to my father's people, to my relatives, and choose a wife for him.’ 39And I asked my master, ‘What if she will not come with me?’ 40He answered, ‘The LORD, whom I have always obeyed, will send his angel with you and give you success. You will get for my son a wife from my own people, from my father's family. 41There is only one way for you to be free from your vow: if you go to my relatives and they refuse you, then you will be free.’
42“When I came to the well today, I prayed, ‘LORD, God of my master Abraham, please give me success in what I am doing. 43Here I am at the well. When a young woman comes out to get water, I will ask her to give me a drink of water from her jar. 44If she agrees and also offers to bring water for my camels, may she be the one that you have chosen as the wife for my master's son.’ 45Before I had finished my silent prayer, Rebecca came with a water jar on her shoulder and went down to the well to get water. I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels. 47I asked her, ‘Who is your father?’ And she answered, ‘My father is Bethuel son of Nahor and Milcah.’ Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48I knelt down and worshipped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me straight to my master's relative, where I found his daughter for my master's son. 49Now, if you intend to fulfil your responsibility towards my master and treat him fairly, please tell me; if not, say so, and I will decide what to do.”
50Laban and Bethuel answered, “Since this matter comes from the LORD, it is not for us to make a decision. 51Here is Rebecca; take her and go. Let her become the wife of your master's son, as the LORD himself has said.” 52When the servant of Abraham heard this, he bowed down and worshipped the LORD. 53Then he brought out clothing and silver and gold jewellery, and gave them to Rebecca. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and to her mother.
54Then Abraham's servant and the men with him ate and drank, and spent the night there. When they got up in the morning, he said, “Let me go back to my master.”
55But Rebecca's brother and her mother said, “Let her stay with us a week or ten days, and then she may go.”
56But he said, “Don't make us stay. The LORD has made my journey a success; let me go back to my master.”
57They answered, “Let's call her and find out what she has to say.” 58So they called Rebecca and asked, “Do you want to go with this man?”
“Yes,” she answered.
59So they let Rebecca and her old family servant go with Abraham's servant and his men. 60And they gave Rebecca their blessing in these words:
“May you, sister, become the mother of millions!
May your descendants conquer the cities of their enemies!”
61Then Rebecca and her young women got ready and mounted the camels to go with Abraham's servant, and they all started out.
62Isaac had come into the wilderness of#24.62 Some ancient translations into the wilderness of; Hebrew from coming. “The Well of the Living One who Sees Me” and was staying in the southern part of Canaan. 63He went out in the early evening to take a walk in the fields and saw camels coming. 64When Rebecca saw Isaac, she got down from her camel 65and asked Abraham's servant, “Who is that man walking towards us in the field?”
“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her scarf and covered her face.
66The servant told Isaac everything he had done. 67Then Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent that his mother Sarah had lived in, and she became his wife. Isaac loved Rebecca, and so he was comforted for the loss of his mother.
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Good News Bible. Scripture taken from the Good News Bible (r) (Today's English Version Second Edition, UK/British Edition). Copyright © 1992 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.
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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