Genesis Chapter Twenty-Four
Read Genesis 24:1-9 – Isaac Needs a Wife
v.1 “And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.”
Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born, Sarah was 90. Sarah died at age 127 when Abraham was 137 years old. Whether time has passed between the burial of Sarah and the beginning of this chapter we’re not told; so Abraham is at least 137 years old.
Abraham has been greatly blessed by God; he is as the one described by the Psalmist:
Psalms 112:1-3 “PRAISE YE THE LORD. BLESSED is THE MAN that FEARTH THE LORD, that DELIGHTETH GREATLY IN HIS COMMANDMENTS. HIS SEED SHALL BE MIGHTY UPON EARTH: THE GENERATION OF THE UPRIGHT SHALL BE BLESSED. WEALTH AND RICHES shall be IN HIS HOUSE: AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURETH FOR EVER.”
v.2 “And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:”
We were told back in Genesis 15:2 that Eliezer of Damascus is the chief steward of Abraham. If old age has not claimed him that is probably the same man that is called Abraham’s “ELDEST SERVANT” here.
v.3 “And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, 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:”
Isaac is now at least
37 years old, still unmarried, and it is time or even past time for him to take
a wife. But Abraham has the same
concerns that God did about his people, the children of
Deuteronomy 7:3-4 “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4For they will turn away thy son from following me that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.”
When the Israelite intermarried with the Canaanites this is exactly what happened. They forsook God and were punished for it. Abraham does not want Isaac to be placed in this kind of position, so he seeks to arrange a marriage from his own family.
v.4 “But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.”
Abraham wants his steward
to find a wife and arrange a marriage with someone from his family left behind
v.5-6 “And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? 6And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.”
Abraham’s steward has
some reservations about this assignment.
A young woman might not want to follow him halfway across the
v. 7 “The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware 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 thence.”
God, who has made the promises to Abraham, who has given Abraham this land for his seed, has now given Abraham instruction regarding a wife for Isaac as well. He is to send back to his father’s family for a wife.
v.8-9 “And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. 9And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.”
If the woman chosen will not follow Abraham’s servant then he is released from his oath. But God is directing this activity as he has others in the life of Abraham. If an oath or promise given is broken through no fault of the one who promised then he is not held accountable. This is consistent with God’s dealings with man and we can find another example in the oath given to Rahab. If Rahab did not keep her part of the oath then neither must the spies of Joshua.
Joshua “And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear.”
Read Genesis 24:10-31 – The Servant Meets Rebekah
v.10 “And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.”
Abraham’s servant makes
his preparation and goes on his journey.
The city of
v.11 “And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.”
When Abraham’s servant
“Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.” Exodus 2:16-17
v.12 “And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham.”
As would be expected of the most trusted servant of a man of God, the servant is also a man of God, and one that prays as well. He addresses God as Abraham’s servant rather than as a man with his own right and privilege to do so. He needs help at his point in his quest to serve his master and he needs God’s help. So he exercises his faith and does as the Psalmist tells us we should do:
“COMMIT THY WAY UNTO THE LORD; TRUST ALSO IN HIM; AND HE SHALL BRING it TO PASS.” Psalms 37:5
v.13-14 “Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw 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 drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master.”
Abraham’s servant wants God to give him a sign. He wants a sign that will tell him which of these young maidens that will visit the well that God had chosen to be Isaac’s bride. She is to give him water to drink when he asks and in addition to volunteer to draw water as well for his ten camels. Then he will know that this maiden is worthy of his master’s son.
v.15 “And 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.”
The prayer of Abraham’s
servant is answered before he completes praying. Rebekah, a grand-niece of Abraham, cousin of
Isaac comes to draw water for her family.
We remember Milcah as Nahor’s
wife even before they left the city of
“And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.” Genesis
v.16 “And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.”
Rebekah is the perfect marriage candidate for the son of God’s servant. She is probably as beautiful as her great-aunt Sarah, Abraham’s wife, pure and eligible. In fact she was so beautiful that Isaac was trapped in the same kind of deception as his father was with Sarah.
“And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: 7And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.” Genesis 26:6-7
v.17-18 “And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.”
So Abraham’s servant exercises the strategy that he had proposed to God. He asks her to provide him with water to drink and Rebekah does so. She is of the same mind that the Holy Spirit tells us we must be as Christians:
I Peter 4:9 “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”
I Peter 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:”
v.19-20 “And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 20And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.”
Rebekah went beyond just offering the servant of Abraham water to drink. Without him even asking she draws water for his camels as well. He has ten of them. Arab.net tells us that they will drink 20-25 gallon if they have been working so we’re talking about a major task to draw water for 10 camels with a container that you can carry on our shoulder. In addition the well is apparently down below ground level because the scripture speaks of her going “DOWN TO THE WELL.”
v.21 “And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.”
Abraham’s servant is amazed, he’s wondering about this young maiden but he holds his peace. This must seem to be all too easy. He asked God for his help and even before he has finished asking he’s getting an amazing result. He knows now that his journey has been prosperous, his mission will be accomplished.
v.22 -23 “And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring 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?”
First Abraham’s servant gives Rebekah a golden earring and two golden bracelets in appreciation for her assistance. In terms of today’s dollars on today’s gold bullion market, after converting shekels to troy ounces, these gifts would be worth about $3,200. This would make a handsome reward in any time or age. He then asks whose daughter she is and if there is lodging available in her father’s house.
v.24-25 “And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor. 25She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.”
When Rebekah identified
herself, the servant of Abraham knows that he has found Abraham’s family in
v.26-27 “And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. 27And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.”
Abraham’s servant now knows without any doubt that God has guided him to Rebekah, his prayer has been answered. So what is his first response? He bows in prayer again and worships God. When we have bad things happen to us we are willing to fall on our knees and petition God. But, how many times do we fall on our knees and petition God with our thanksgiving when the good things happen to us? Or do we take those things for granted as our just due and just go on about our business? This man does without hesitation, seemingly without thinking what we as Christians are urged to do on a regular basis.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
We are to in “EVERY THING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION WITH THANKSGIVING” pray, make our requests known to God. We who are “ROOTED AND BUILT UP” in Christ and “ESTABLISHED IN THE FAITH” are to abound “WITH THANKSGIVING” toward God. “
v.28 “And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things.
Rebekah goes now and reports her encounter at her mother’s house.
v.29-30 “And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. 30And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.”
Laban, the brother of Rebekah hears of her encounter, the gifts of gold and goes to see this man who she had met. Abraham’s servant is waiting patiently at the well.
v.31 “And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.”
Rebekah has observed the servant of Abraham worship God and has apparently conveyed that observation to her mother’s household. Now he is given the same kind of hospitality by the entire household that he had enjoyed from Rebekah earlier. Why are you standing our here? He is asked. The house and room for his animals has been prepared and is waiting.
Read Genesis 24:32-49 – Abraham’s Servant Explains His Mission
Since much of what is in this section is repeating earlier events, verses and thoughts already covered in this chapter our observations and study will be brief.
v.32 “And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him.”
As is appropriate for any good steward, manager or leader of men Abraham’s servant first duty is to take care of his animals and see that the needs of his men are provided for as well.
v.33 “And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.”
Abraham’s servant is committed to his purpose. He is focused only on his duty to his master and refused food until he has had an opportunity to present Laban and the household of this purpose. He is practicing with complete dedication that which we are commanded in the law of Christ; attending to our Master’s will first:
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:” Ephesians 6:5-7
v.34-35 “And he said, I am Abraham’s servant. 35And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.”
First he tells of God’s
great blessing to Abraham. The city of
v.36 “And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath.”
Next he tells of Isaac being born to Sarah in her old age and that he is the sole heir of Abraham. Ishmael and Hagar have been given their portion of Abraham’s wealth and sent to establish their own place in this world as have the sons of Abraham and Keturah.
v.37-38 “And 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 a wife unto my son.”
Abraham’s son is not to take a wife from the Canaanite people with whom they dwell but is to seek a wife from Abraham’s kindred. Abraham’s servant has sworn an oath to comply with his master’s direction.
v.39-41 “And 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 kindred, and of my father’s house: 41Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath.”
Now he tells of how he
asked Abraham what he was to do if there was no one among his kindred that
would want to leave her home and go to the south of
v.42-44 “And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: 43Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master’s son.”
He now tells of how he prayed and devised a test to determine which of the maidens that came to the well he should chose.
v.45-46 “And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, 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 made the camels drink also.”
He tells of how before he had finished praying that Rebekah appeared and did exactly as the one that God had chosen would do.
v.47 “And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.”
He tells how that Rebekah confirmed that she was indeed of the household of Abraham’s kindred. A requirement given by Abraham for him to use to chose a maiden for Isaac. He then had given her the gifts prepared for that purpose.
v.48 “And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son.”
He then tells how he gave God thanksgiving for providing his master’s niece as the one to become a wife to his master’s son.
v.49 “And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.”
He then asks Laban and Bethuel, the father of Rebekah to deal kindly with him; to give him an answer to that he will know what to do next.
Read Genesis 24:50-60 – Rebekah’s Decision
v.50-51 “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken.
Laban and Bethuel are like the psalmist:
“THIS IS THE LORD’S DOING, IT is MARVELLOUS IN OUR EYES.” Psalms 118:23
They recognize that this is the will of God. They will not speak good or bad about the Lord’s work. Let Rebekah go to be the wife of Abraham’s son.
v.52-53 “And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth. 53And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.”
The response of
Abraham’s servant to the family’s agreement that Rebekah should go to
Also in keeping with the tradition of the times, as we have studied in earlier chapters, gifts are given to confirm and seal the covenant that has just been made.
v.54 “And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.”
Abraham’s servant, his
v.55 “And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.”
Things are happening too fast for the family, however, specifically Rebekah’s mother and brother. They want to wait for a while, at least ten days before they allow Rebekah to leave.
v.56-57 “And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. 57And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth.”
insists that the time for him to leave is now.
He is on a mission for his master, God has been with him, guided and
protected him, facilitated his success; he wants to press on. Also there are traps that he might fall into
if he stays are there not? He is a
simple shepherd, a herder from southern
v.58-59 “And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. 59And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men.”
Rebekah makes the
decision. She will go with this man,
Abraham’s servant immediately. The
family honors her decision and makes preparation for them to leave
v.60 “60And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.”
The family of Bethuel give Rebekah their blessing, make expressions of wishes of good fortune and send them on their way. Isaac now has a maiden pledged to be his wife from the family of his father.
Read Genesis 24:61-67 – The Return Journey
v.61 “And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.”
In verse 59 the
scripture says that Rebekah’s nurse accompanied her,
here we see that she also had damsels, female servants as well. We aren’t told of their relationship with
God, but considering the faithfulness of Abraham it is likely that they also
were blessed. The contact between these
two families will continue as Jacob will also return to
v.62 “And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.”
Isaac, meanwhile, is still living in
the southern part of
Genesis “Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”
So Isaac and Abraham are still
living in the very southern portion of what was to become
v.63 “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.”
Isaac is walking in his field; he is practicing something that men of God do and need to do on a regular basis; as the Psalmist reminds us:
“BLESSED is THE MAN THAT WALKETH NOT IN THE COUNSEL OF THE UNGODLY, NOR STANDETH IN THE WAY OF SINNERS, NOR SITTETH IN THE SEAT OF THE SCORNFUL. BUT HIS DELIGHT is IN THE LAW OF THE LORD; AND HIS LAW DOTH HE MEDIATE DAY AND NIGHT.” Psalms 1:1-2
v.64-65 “And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. 65For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself.”
When he saw the caravan Isaac apparently started to walk to meet it perhaps even wondering if it was Abraham’s servant returning. Rebekah sees him, asks the servant who it is and when she is told she dismounts, and veils herself as would appropriate in that time and according to their custom.
v.66-67 “And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. 67And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”
The first order of business, just as
it had been in