A Wife for Isaac
1Abraham lived to be a very old man. The Lord blessed him and everything he did. 2Abraham’s oldest servant was in charge of everything he owned. Abraham called that servant to him and said, “Put your hand under my leg.#24:2 Put your hand under my leg This was a sign of a very important promise that Abraham trusted his servant to keep. 3Now I want you to make a promise to me. Promise to me before the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry a girl from Canaan. We live among these people, but don’t let him marry a Canaanite girl. 4Go back to my country, to my own people, to find a wife for my son Isaac. Bring her here to him.”
5The servant said to him, “Maybe this woman will not want to come back with me to this land. If that happens, should I take your son with me to your homeland?”
6Abraham said to him, “No, don’t take my son to that place. 7The Lord, the God of heaven, brought me from my homeland to this place. That place was the home of my father and the home of my family, but he promised that this new land would belong to my family. May he send his angel before you so that you can choose a wife for my son. 8If the girl refuses to come with you, you will be free from this promise. But you must not take my son back to that place.”
9So the servant put his hand under his master’s leg and made the promise.
The Search Begins
10The servant took ten of Abraham’s camels and left that place. The servant carried with him many different kinds of beautiful gifts. He went to Mesopotamia, to Nahor’s city. 11In the evening, when the women come out to get water, he went to the water well outside the city. He made the camels kneel down at the well.
12The servant said, “Lord, you are the God of my master Abraham. Please show your kindness to my master by helping me find a wife for his son Isaac. 13Here I am, standing by this well of water, and the young women from the city are coming out to get water. 14I will say to one of them, ‘Please put your jar down so that I can drink.’ Let her answer show whether she is the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. If she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give water to your camels,’ I will know that she is the right one. It will be proof that you have shown kindness to my master.”
A Wife Is Found
15Before the servant finished praying, a young woman named Rebekah came to the well. She was the daughter of Bethuel. (Bethuel was the son of Milcah and Nahor, Abraham’s brother.) Rebekah came to the well with her water jar on her shoulder. 16She was very pretty. She was a virgin; no man had ever had sexual relations with her. She went down to the well and filled her jar. 17Then the servant ran to her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.”
18Rebekah quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and gave him a drink. She said, “Drink this, sir.” 19As soon as she finished giving him something to drink, Rebekah said, “I will also pour some water for your camels.” 20So Rebekah quickly poured all the water from her jar into the drinking trough for the camels. Then she ran to the well to get more water, and she gave water to all the camels.
21The servant quietly watched her. He wanted to be sure that the Lord had given him an answer and had made his trip successful. 22After the camels finished drinking, he gave Rebekah a gold ring that weighed 1/4 ounce.#24:22 1/4 ounce Literally, “1 beka” (5.75 g). He also gave her two gold arm bracelets that weighed 2 ounces#24:22 2 ounces Literally, “5 measures” (57.5 g). each. 23The servant asked, “Who is your father? And is there a place in your father’s house for me and my men to sleep?”
24Rebekah answered, “My father is Bethuel, the son of Milcah and Nahor.” 25Then she said, “Yes, we have straw and other food for your camels and a place for you to sleep.”
26The servant bowed and worshiped the Lord. 27He said, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. The Lord has been kind and loyal to him by leading me to his own people.”
28Then Rebekah ran and told her family about all these things. 29-30She had a brother named Laban. She told him what the man had said to her. Laban was listening to her. And when he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, he ran out to the well. There the man was, standing by the camels at the well. 31Laban said, “Sir, you are welcome to come in!#24:31 Sir, you are welcome to come in Literally, “Come in, blessed of the Lord!” You don’t have to stand outside here. I have prepared a room for you to sleep in and a place for your camels.”
32So Abraham’s servant went into the house. Laban unloaded his camels and gave them straw and feed. Then he gave Abraham’s servant water so that he and the men with him could wash their feet. 33Laban then gave him food to eat, but the servant refused to eat. He said, “I will not eat until I have told you why I came.”
So Laban said, “Then tell us.”
Bargaining for Rebekah
34The servant said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35The Lord has greatly blessed my master in everything. My master has become a great man. The Lord has given him many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. He has much silver and gold and many servants. He has many camels and donkeys. 36Sarah was my master’s wife. When she was very old, she gave birth to a son, and my master has given everything he owns to that son. 37My master forced me to make a promise to him. He said to me, ‘You must not allow my son to marry a girl from Canaan. We live among these people, but I don’t want him to marry one of the Canaanite girls. 38So you must promise to go to my father’s country. Go to my family and choose a wife for my son.’ 39I said to my master, ‘Maybe the woman will not come back to this place with me.’ 40But my master said to me, ‘I serve the Lord, and he will send his angel with you and help you. You will find a wife for my son among my people there. 41But if you go to my father’s country, and they refuse to give you a wife for my son, you will be free from this promise.’
42“Today I came to this well and said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, please make my trip successful. 43I will stand by this well and wait for a young woman to come to get water. Then I will say, “Please give me water from your jar to drink.” 44The right woman will answer in a special way. She will say, “Drink this water, and I will also get water for your camels.” That way I will know that she is the one the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
45“Before I finished praying, Rebekah came out to the well to get water. She had her water jar on her shoulder as she went to get water from the well. I asked her to give me some water. 46She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and poured me some water. Then she said, ‘Drink this, and I’ll get some water for your camels.’ So I drank the water, and she gave water to my camels. 47Then I asked her, ‘Who is your father?’ She answered, ‘My father is Bethuel the son of Milcah and Nahor.’ Then I gave her the ring and bracelets for her arms. 48I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. I thanked him for leading me straight to the granddaughter of my master’s brother. 49Now, tell me, will you be kind and loyal to my master and give him your daughter? Or will you refuse to give her to him? Tell me so that I will know what I should do.”
50Then Laban and Bethuel answered, “We see that this is from the Lord, so there is nothing we can say to change it. 51Here is Rebekah. Take her and go. Let her marry your master’s son. This is what the Lord wants.”
52When Abraham’s servant heard this, he bowed to the ground before the Lord. 53Then he gave Rebekah the gifts he brought. He gave her beautiful clothes and gold and silver jewelry. He also gave expensive gifts to her mother and brother. 54Then he and his men had something to eat and drink, and they spent the night there. Early the next morning they got up and the servant said, “Now we must go back to my master.”
55Rebekah’s mother and her brother said, “Let Rebekah stay with us for a short time. Let her stay with us ten days. After that she can go.”
56But the servant said to them, “Don’t make me wait. The Lord has made my trip successful. Now let me go back to my master.”
57Rebekah’s brother and mother said, “We will call Rebekah and ask her what she wants to do.” 58They called her and asked her, “Do you want to go with this man now?”
Rebekah said, “Yes, I will go.”
59So they allowed Rebekah to go with Abraham’s servant and his men. Her nurse also went with them. 60While Rebekah was leaving they said to her,
“Our sister, may you be
the mother of millions of people,
and may your descendants defeat
their enemies and take their cities.”
61Then Rebekah and her nurse got on the camels and followed the servant and his men. So the servant took Rebekah and left.
62Isaac had left Beer Lahai Roi and was now living in the Negev. 63One evening he went out to the field to think.#24:63 think Or “to go for a walk.” He looked up and saw the camels coming from far away.
64Rebekah also looked and saw Isaac. Then she jumped down from the camel. 65She said to the servant, “Who is that young man walking in the field to meet us?”
The servant said, “That is my master’s son.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil.
66The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 67Then Isaac brought the girl into his mother’s tent. Rebekah became his wife that day. Isaac loved her very much. So he was comforted after his mother’s death.
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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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