Chapter 24

  1. A Wife for Isaac

    • When Abraham was getting to be very old, he had his oldest servant who managed his household to place his hand under his thigh and swear by the Lord that he wouldn’t choose a Canaanite wife for Isaac. Instead he told him to go to his homeland and choose a wife for Isaac from his own family.

    • His servant asked, “What if the woman won’t come back with me? Should Isaac go back to your homeland?”

    • Abraham replied, “No, don’t let Isaac go back to my homeland. God took me from my homeland and swore to give this land to my descendants. God will send His angel before you and enable you to find a wife for Isaac. If she’s not willing to come back with you, then you are free from this oath.”

      • “Isaac, the son of promise, never once left the Promised Land.” (Guzik)

    • So Abraham’s servant set out for the town of Nahor with 10 camels and all kinds of expensive gifts from Abraham. When he arrived he had the camels kneel beside the water well just outside of town where the women came out to draw water in the evening.

    • Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, please make my mission successful. I’m here where the women are coming to draw water. Let this be the sign by which I’ll know the right woman for Isaac: When I say, ‘Please lower your water jug so I can drink,’ to which she will respond, ‘Drink and I’ll get your camels water too.’”

      • A note from Guzik regarding “signs” in our own lives, “Generally speaking, circumstances alone can be a dangerous way to discern God’s will. We have a way of ignoring circumstances that speak against our desired outcome (or we attribute those circumstances to the devil), while focusing on the circumstances that speak for our desired outcome.” Of course, as Guzik says, he is speaking generally here.

      • “Eliezer (the servant) was wise enough to ask for a sign that was remarkable, but (in human terms) possible. He didn’t tempt God by asking for fire to fall from heaven or for protection as he leapt from an unsafe height.” (Guzik)

    • Before he had even finished his prayer, the very beautiful Rebekah came down to fill her jug at the well. He ran to her and asked if he could have some water from her jug.

    • She quickly lowered her jug and allowed him to drink. When he had finished she replied that she would also water his camels.

    • While he watched, Rebekah drew water for all of his camels.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible Commentary, “Abraham’s future daughter-in-law manifested hospitality and industry like Abraham. Ten thirsty camels could drink 250 gallons of water, so a woman who would work that hard for a stranger was certainly not lazy, but generous and hospitable.”

    • When the servant asked who her father was, she replied that her father was Bethuel and that Nahor was her grandfather. So, he gave her a golden nose ring and bracelets and she offered him feed for his camels and a place to spend the night.

    • He bowed and worshiped the Lord for making his mission a success.

    • Rebekah ran back home and told her family what had happened. Her brother Laban ran to the servant at the spring and told him to come back home with him, they had prepared a place for him to stay. So the servant returned with Laban; the camels were fed, and they washed his feet.

    • They also prepared a meal, but before he ate he said, “I can’t eat until I say what I’ve come to say.”

    • Laban told him to continue, so Abraham’s servant began, “I am Abraham’s servant. My master is very blessed by God and is very rich. His son Isaac will inherit everything. He then explained everything that had happened afterword: the oath that he had sworn to Abraham, how his prayer at the well was immediately answered by God, and how he worshiped the Lord for answering his prayer. He then asked, “Will Rebekah come back with me and marry Isaac or should I go somewhere else?”

    • Laban and Bethuel respond, “This is obviously the Lord’s will, so how could we refuse? Take Rebekah and she will marry Isaac.”

    • Upon hearing this, the servant bowed and worshiped the Lord. Then he gave silver and gold and fine clothing to Rebekah and expensive gifts to her brother and mother also. They all ate and the servant stayed the night.

      • “When an agreement of marriage had been made, it was customary for the bridegroom (or his representative) to give the family of the bride gifts as a dowry to demonstrate his financial ability to provide for the bride.” (Guzik)

    • The next morning the servant was ready to set out for home, but Laban and Rebekah’s mother (Milcah) asked if they would stay for 10 days before leaving. The servant said he really needed to return home, but the others said, “Let’s ask Rebekah what she would rather do.”

    • Rebekah responded that she would leave to go to Isaac that day, so they sent her nurse to accompany her, and blessed her saying, “May you become the mother of millions and your descendants be strong and conquer their enemies.”

– “Rebekah’s decision to leave immediately to be with her new husband settled the impasse. Rebekah submitted to the Lord’s obvious leading. Young women were normally eager to marry (not to marry was a catastrophe), and later accounts of Laban suggest why Rebekah preferred to leave (Genesis 31:14-15). Rebekah displayed faithful love to the servant by, Abraham’s family, and Isaac by going to be Isaac’s wife.” (NLT Illustrated Study Bible)

    • They then departed for home.

    • Isaac was living in the Negev region, and as he was meditating and walking in the field one evening he looked up and saw all the camels heading his way.

    • When Rebekah saw Isaac, she dismounted her camel and asked the servant who the man in the field was. When he told her that it was Isaac, she covered herself with her veil.

      • “The covering with a veil signified chastity, modesty, and submission. This was how Rebekah wanted to meet her bridegroom.” (Guzik)

    • The servant told Isaac everything that had happened.

    • Isaac took her to his mother’s tent and they were married. Isaac loved Rebekah very much and she was a special comfort to him when Sarah died.