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 forever. 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 25.20; 28.2,6; 31.18,20; 33.18; 35.23-26; 46.8-15 where CEV translates “Paddan-Aram” as “northern Syria”; and 48.7 where CEV translates “Paddan” as “northern Syria”). 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 jewelry 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.” At once 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 jewelry, 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#24.63-65 walking: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. out in the fields, when suddenly he saw a group of people approaching on camels. So he started toward 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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B'resheet (Gen) 24
1By now Avraham was old, advanced in years; and Adonai had blessed Avraham in everything. 2Avraham said to the servant who had served him the longest, who was in charge of all he owned, “Put your hand under my thigh; 3because I want you to swear by Adonai, God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from among the women of the Kena‘ani, among whom I am living; 4but that you will go to my homeland, to my kinsmen, to choose a wife for my son Yitz’chak.” 5The servant replied, “Suppose the woman isn’t willing to follow me to this land. Must I then bring your son back to the land from which you came?” 6Avraham said to him, “See to it that you don’t bring my son back there. 7Adonai, the God of heaven — who took me away from my father’s house and away from the land I was born in, who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘I will give this land to your descendants’ — he will send his angel ahead of you; and you are to bring a wife for my son from there. 8But if the woman is unwilling to follow you, then you are released from your obligation under my oath. Just don’t bring my son back there.” 9The servant put his hand under the thigh of Avraham his master and swore to him concerning the matter.
(iii) 10Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and all kinds of gifts from his master, got up and went to Aram-Naharayim, to Nachor’s city. 11Toward evening, when the women go out to draw water, he had the camels kneel down outside the city by the well. 12He said, “Adonai, God of my master Avraham, please let me succeed today; and show your grace to my master Avraham. 13Here I am, standing by the spring, as the daughters of the townsfolk come out to draw water. 14I will say to one of the girls, ‘Please lower your jug, so that I can drink.’ If she answers, ‘Yes, drink; and I will water your camels as well,’ then let her be the one you intend for your servant Yitz’chak. This is how I will know that you have shown grace to my master.”
15Before he had finished speaking, Rivkah the daughter of B’tu’el son of Milkah the wife of Nachor Avraham’s brother, came out with her jug on her shoulder. 16The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, never having had sexual relations with any man. She went down to the spring, filled her jug and came up. 17The servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a sip of water from your jug to drink.” 18“Drink, my lord,” she replied, and immediately lowered her jug onto her arm and let him drink. 19When she was through letting him drink, she said, “I will also draw water for your camels until they have drunk their fill.” 20She quickly emptied her jug into the trough, then ran again to the well to draw water, and kept on drawing water for all his camels. 21The man gazed at her in silence, waiting to find out whether Adonai had made his trip successful or not.
22When the camels were done drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing one-fifth of an ounce and two gold bracelets weighing four ounces 23and asked, “Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” 24She answered, “I am the daughter of B’tu’el the son Milkah bore to Nachor,” 25adding, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, and room for staying overnight.” 26The man bowed his head and prostrated himself before Adonai. (iv) 27Then he said, “Blessed be Adonai, God of my master Avraham, who has not abandoned his faithful love for my master; because Adonai has guided me to the house of my master’s kinsmen.” 28The girl ran off and told her mother’s household what had happened.
29-30Rivkah had a brother named Lavan. When he saw the nose-ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists besides, and when he heard his sister Rivkah’s report of what the man had said to her, he ran out to the spring and found the man standing there by the camels. 31“Come on in,” he said, “you whom Adonai has blessed! Why are you standing outside when I have made room in the house and prepared a place for the camels?” 32So the man went inside, and while the camels were being unloaded and provided straw and fodder, water was brought for him to wash his feet and the feet of the men with him.
33But when a meal was set before him, he said, “I won’t eat until I say what I have to say.” Lavan said, “Speak.” 34He said, “I am Avraham’s servant. 35Adonai has greatly blessed my master, so that he has grown wealthy. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. 36Sarah my master’s wife bore my master a son when she was old, and he has given him everything he has. 37My master made me swear, saying, ‘You are not to choose a wife for my son from among the women of the Kena‘ani, among whom I am living; 38rather, you are to go to my father’s house, to my kinsmen, to choose a wife for my son.’ 39I said to my master, ‘Suppose the woman isn’t willing to follow me.’ 40Avraham answered me, ‘Adonai, in whose presence I live, will send his angel with you to make your trip successful; and you are to pick a wife for my son from my kinsmen in my father’s house; 41this will release you from your obligation under my oath. But if, when you come to my kinsmen, they refuse to give her to you, this too will release you from my oath.’
42“So today, I came to the spring and said, ‘Adonai, God of my master Avraham, if you are causing my trip to succeed in its purpose, 43then, here I am, standing by the spring. I will say to one of the girls coming out to draw water, “Let me have a sip of water from your jug.” 44If she answers, “Yes, drink; and I will water your camels as well,” then let her be the woman you intend for my master’s son.’ 45And even before I had finished speaking to my heart, there came Rivkah, going out with her jug on her shoulder; she went down to the spring and drew water. When I said to her, ‘Please let me have a drink,’ 46she immediately lowered the jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels as well.’ So I drank, and she had the camels drink too.
47“I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ and she answered, ‘The daughter of B’tu’el son of Nachor, whom Milkah bore to him.’ Then I put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists, 48bowed my head, prostrated myself before Adonai and blessed Adonai, God of my master Avraham, for having led me in the right way to obtain my master’s brother’s [grand]daughter for his son.
49“So now if you people intend to show grace and truth to my master, tell me. But if not, tell me, so that I can turn elsewhere.”
50Lavan and B’tu’el replied, “Since this comes from Adonai, we can’t say anything to you either bad or good. 51Rivkah is here in front of you; take her and go. Let her be your master’s son’s wife, as Adonai has said.” 52When Avraham’s servant heard what they said, he prostrated himself on the ground to Adonai. (v) 53Then the servant brought out silver and gold jewelry, together with clothing, and gave them to Rivkah. He also gave valuable gifts to her brother and mother. 54He and his men then ate and drank and stayed the night.
In the morning they got up; and he said, “Send me off to my master.” 55Her brother and mother said, “Let the girl stay with us a few days, at least ten. After that, she will go.” 56He answered them, “Don’t delay me, since Adonai has made my trip successful, but let me go back to my master.” 57They said, “We will call the girl and see what she says.” 58They called Rivkah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” and she replied, “I will.”
59So they sent their sister Rivkah away, with her nurse, Avraham’s servant and his men. 60They blessed Rivkah with these words: “Our sister, may you be the mother of millions, and may your descendants possess the cities of those who hate them.” 61Then Rivkah and her maids mounted the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rivkah and went on his way.
62Meanwhile, Yitz’chak, one evening after coming along the road from Be’er-Lachai-Ro’i — he was living in the Negev — 63went out walking in the field; and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64Rivkah too looked up; and when she saw Yitz’chak, she quickly dismounted the camel. 65She said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” When the servant replied, “It’s my master,” she took her veil and covered herself.
66The servant told Yitz’chak everything he had done. 67Then Yitz’chak brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent and took Rivkah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. Thus was Yitz’chak comforted for the loss of his mother.
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