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A Wife for Isaac (Genesis 24)

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CHAPTER 24 Jan. 13 
Abraham’s Concern about a Wife for Isaac 
Abraham was old, and well stricken in age. Yahweh had blessed Abraham in all things. 2Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that he had, Please put your hand under my thigh. 3I will make you swear by Yahweh, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live. 4But you shall go to my country, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac. 5The servant said to him, What if the woman isn’t willing to follow me to this land? Must I bring your son again to the land you came from? 6Abraham said to him, Beware that you don’t bring my son there again. 7Yahweh, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my birth, who spoke to me, and Who swore to me, saying, ‘I will give this land to your seed’, He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8If the woman isn’t willing to follow you, then you shall be clear from this my oath. Only you shall not bring my son there again. 9The servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter. 10The servant took ten camels of his master’s camels, and departed, having a variety of good things of his master’s with him. He arose, and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the evening time, the time that women go out to draw water. 12He said, Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13Behold, I am standing by the spring of water. The daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14Let it happen, that the young lady to whom I will say, ‘Please let down your pitcher, that I may drink’, and she will say, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. By this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.
Rebekah’s Choice 
15It happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16The young lady was very beautiful to look at, a virgin, neither had any man known her. She went down to the spring, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17The servant ran to meet her and said, Please give me a drink, a little water from your pitcher. 18She said, Drink, my lord. She hurried, and let down her pitcher on her hand, and gave him drink. 19When she had done giving him drink, she said, I will also draw for your camels, until they have done drinking. 20She hurried, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again to the well to draw, and drew for all his camels. 21The man looked at her amazed, remaining silent, to know whether Yahweh had made his journey prosperous or not. 22So it happened, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold, 23and said, Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there room in your father’s house for us to lodge in? 24She said to him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor. 25She said moreover to him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. 26The man bowed his head, and worshiped Yahweh. 27He said, Blessed be Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His loving kindness and His truth toward my master. As for me, Yahweh has led me in the way to the house of my master’s relatives. 28The young lady ran, and told her mother’s house about these words. 29Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban. Laban ran out to the man, to the spring. 30It happened, when he saw the ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, This is what the man said to me, that he came to the man. Behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. 31He said, Come in, you blessed of Yahweh. Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. 32The man came into the house, and he unloaded the camels. He gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33Food was set before him to eat, but he said, I will not eat until I have told my message. He said, Speak on.
Abraham’s Servant Makes a Speech 
34He said, I am Abraham’s servant. 35Yahweh has blessed my master greatly. He has become great. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male servants and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36Sarah, my master’s wife, bore a son to my master when she was old. He has given all that he has to him. 37My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, 38but you shall go to my father’s house, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son’. 39I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not follow me?’ 40He said to me, ‘Yahweh, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you, and prosper your way. You shall take a wife for my son of my relatives, and of my father’s house. 41Then will you be clear from my oath, when you come to my relatives. If they don’t give her to you, you shall be clear from my oath’. 42I came this day to the spring, and said, ‘Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, if now You do prosper my way which I go—43behold, I am standing by this spring of water. Let it happen, that the maiden who comes out to draw, to whom I will say, Please give me a little water from your pitcher to drink, 44and she will tell me, Drink, and I will also draw for your camels—let her be the woman whom Yahweh has appointed for my master’s son’. 45Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. She went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink’. 46She hurried and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’. So I drank, and she also gave the camels a drink. 47I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him’. I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her hands. 48I bowed my head, and worshiped Yahweh, and blessed Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter for his son. 49Now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. If not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.
I Will Go 
50Then Laban and Bethuel answered, The thing proceeds from Yahweh. We can’t speak to you bad or good. 51Behold, Rebekah is before you. Take her, and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as Yahweh has spoken. 52It happened that when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth to Yahweh. 53The servant brought out jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and her mother. 54They ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and stayed all night. They rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away to my master. 55Her brother and her mother said, Let the young lady stay with us a few days, at least ten. After that she will go. 56He said to them, Don’t hinder me, since Yahweh has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master. 57They said, We will call the young lady, and ask her. 58They called Rebekah, and said to her, Will you go with this man? She said, I will go. 59They sent away Rebekah, their sister, with her nurse, Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60They blessed Rebekah, and said to her, Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let your seed possess the gate of those who hate them. 61Rebekah arose with her ladies. They rode on the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he lived in the land of the South. 63Isaac went out to pray in the field at the evening. He lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming. 64Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel. 65She said to the servant, Who is the man who is walking in the field to meet us? The servant said, It is my master. She took her veil, and covered herself. 66The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife. He loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.


24:4 It must be significant that Abraham told his servant to take Isaac a wife from “my country... my relatives” and not from the people “among whom I live”. There were none of Abraham's country or kindred, which he had been commanded to leave, living anywhere near him. He had truly and fully obeyed the command to separate from them! As with many Christian youngsters today, the avoidance of marrying those in the surrounding world just seemed too much to ask. But Abraham knew that a way would be made. As God had taken Abram from Ur and Haran and Lot, so God would take a woman from there, suitable for Isaac. Faithful parents should do all they can to ensure their children marry within the family of faith.
24:7,8 Abraham told his servant that God would use His Angel  so that his mission to find a suitable wife for Isaac would surely succeed. He speaks as if success is certain, and yet he recognizes the possibility that the woman may not be “willing to follow you”. We should have the same positive, hopeful attitude in our enterprises for God, expecting success rather than failure. The Angel prepared in prospect for the success of the mission; but it still depended upon the woman’s freewill. The whole incident in Genesis 24 can be read as typical of the search, through the preaching of the Gospel, for the bride of Christ. The preacher of the Gospel, represented by Abraham’s servant, must go ahead believing that we will succeed (:40,41), just as the shepherd searches for the sheep until he finds it.
24:14 To water even a few camels was a few hours work. It was impossible that a traveller requesting a cup of water would then be offered to have his camels watered. This would have to be from God.
Your servant… my master- The servant was aware that his master was also a servant, of God. We shouldn’t think of those ‘above us’ as being too far above us- for as we are to them, so should they be to God. And it’s our standing before Him which is all important.
24:15 He spoke his prayer out loud. In the private, online worlds in which we live, it’s no bad practice to say our prayers out loud, however quietly. This verse is surely alluded to by Jesus when He taught that we should pray knowing that God knows our needs before we ask Him (Mt. 6:8)- before we’ve finished our prayer, the answer has sometimes come along. See on 24:63.
24:21 The servant had asked for this to happen, and it did. And he can’t believe the prayer has been answered- rather like the believers praying for Peter’s release, who disbelieved it could be him knocking at the door (Acts 12:15). We are so similar. It is in those moments that we realize just what a momentous thing it is, to ask something of God, to be performed on this earth. And to realize it actually happened. He did it, for me, a little ant crawling on the surface of a small planet that is hurtling through space, in a remote part of His universe… 
24:56 Abraham’s servant said that he walked ‘before Yahweh’ (Gen. 24:40), reflecting how he felt that he was following an Angel. He therefore urges Bethuel: “Don’t hinder me, since Yahweh has blessed my way” (Gen. 24:56). He felt he was on a roll, being led onwards by the Angel- and he didn’t want anything to interrupt that. The sensitive believer will perceive similar situations, time and again, as we seek to follow the leading of the Angel / cherubim before whom we walk. If we walk in step with the Angel, success is assured.
24:58 Rebekah immediately says “I will go” (Heb. elek)- just as Abraham had been called to “go” from Ur (lek, Gen. 12:1); “and he went” (wayyelek, Gen. 12:4). This would seem to suggest an undesigned similarity of character between the family members. Our response to the call of God should be immediate, like the disciples immediately leaving their nets.
24:63 The same thing happened as in 24:15- a man was walking alone, grieving for his mother and praying- presumably for a wife to fill that gap. And the answer to that prayer had already been prepared for quite some time before he had made that request.