Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
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What should I learn from this chapter?
- The understanding of taking an oath under the thigh
- Eliezer as the heir of Abraham’s property
- Abraham’s genealogy
- Rebekah’s energy, beauty, virginity, compassion, generosity, and finally agree-ability
- The introduction of Laban and his attraction to wealth
- The righteousness of Eliezer in doing Abraham’s bidding in spite of the fact it would mean decreasing if not eliminating altogether his portion of Abraham’s wealth.
A Bride for Isaac
Genesis 24:1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
Genesis 24:2 So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh,
- ELIEZER (Heb. “God is help”), the steward of Abraham’s household (Gen. 15:2).
- Abraham complained to God that any material reward would be of little use to him since, because he had no offspring, his servant Eliezer was to be his heir. God replied with the promise of a natural heir (Gen. 15:4)
- According to ancient Nuzi texts from Hurran (Hurranian) concerning contracts of relationships in life, Abraham would have “adopted” Eliezer as a son to take care of he and Sarah who were a childless couple to tend to them in their old age and in return Eliezer would become the heir of Abraham’s personal property.
- When Hagar bore Ishmael, the adoption contract would be changed.
- When Sarah bore Isaac, the contract of adoption with Eliezer would once again be changed.
- Now, Eliezer is acting on behalf of Abraham to secure a wife for Isaac.
- Although a godless example (which falls apart of the parallel in places), Eliezer is similar to the movie The Godfather where “Tom” Hagen was the consigliere and head lawyer of the Corleone family, as well as being the adoptive son of Vito and Carmela Corleone and the adoptive brother of Sonny, Fredo, Michael and Connie Corleone.
Genesis 24:3 and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell;
Genesis 24:4 but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
- To take an oath under the thigh:
- When loins are discussed, its as though their descendants already exit. They become witnesses to the oath.
- The loin is the strongest muscle to carry the entire body.
- In an oath, it means, “If you don’t keep this oath, my descendants will come and get you.”
- Under the thigh:
- Thigh: h3409 yārēḵ
- The base (Yarik) is defined as: thigh, side, loin. Abraham is the “base” of his descendants.
- An idiom peculiar to a Hebrew understanding
- Since it is “under the thigh”, it refers to the male genitalia.
- Thigh: h3409 yārēḵ
- “Take a wife for my son”
- An appropriate oath considering Abraham’s descendants would be based on Abraham’s servant’s choice.
- “Take a wife for my son Isaac”
- Nowhere in scripture does it mention Abraham doing this for Ishmael conceived by Hagar. The reasoning being that Isaac was the son of God’s promise to Abraham through his wife Sarah.
Genesis 24:5 And the servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?”
Genesis 24:6 But Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there.
Genesis 24:7 The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.
- God took Abraham from Ur and planted him where he would walk according to the ways of God. Therefore; Abraham can be assured God will send His messenger angel to achieve all that God desires.
Genesis 24:8 And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there.”
- Abraham is emphatic about Isaac not going back to Ur. He is not going to allow giving up God’s promise for a promised land to supersede Isaac’s need for a wife.
- It would be an act of reversing everything God was doing to lead Abraham into God’s way.
- Moral of the Story Alert: Do not return to the past if you are making progress toward your future.
Genesis 24:9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.
Genesis 24:10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, for all his master’s goods were in his hand. And he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.
- The city of Nahor is close to Bethlehem in the area of Galilee.
Genesis 24:11 And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water.
Genesis 24:12 Then he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
Genesis 24:13 Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water.
Genesis 24:14 Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”
- The qualification listed for Isaac’s wife: giving and compassionate
- She will give Eliezer a drink from her pitcher
- Furthermore; she will water the camels
Genesis 24:15 And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder.
Genesis 24:16 Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up.
Genesis 24:17 And the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.”
Genesis 24:18 So she said, “Drink, my lord.” Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink.
Genesis 24:19 And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.”
Genesis 24:20 Then she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
Genesis 24:21 And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.
- Her kind deeds changed her life and everyone around her from this point forward.
- The personal application reveals how one kind act can change everything.
Genesis 24:22 So it was, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden nose ring weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels of gold,
Genesis 24:23 and said, “Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please, is there room in your father’s house for us to lodge?”
- There was no jewelry store during this time. Were these Sarah’s pieces when she was alive?
- The “us” is Eliezer and the men he brought with him.
Genesis 24:24 So she said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah’s son, whom she bore to Nahor.”
Genesis 24:25 Moreover she said to him, “We have both straw and feed enough, and room to lodge.”
Genesis 24:26 Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord.
Genesis 24:27 And he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.”
Genesis 24:28 So the young woman ran and told her mother’s household these things.
Genesis 24:29 Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban, and Laban ran out to the man by the well.
Genesis 24:30 So it came to pass, when he saw the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he heard the words of his sister Rebekah, saying, “Thus the man spoke to me,” that he went to the man. And there he stood by the camels at the well.
Genesis 24:31 And he said, “Come in, O blessed of the Lord! Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels.”
- Laban was entranced by the value of Rachel’s gifts.
- This is the same Laban who will trouble Jacob, Isaac’s son, years later when he seeks to marry Isaac’s daughter, Rachel.
- Genesis 29:10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
Genesis 24:32 Then the man came to the house. And he unloaded the camels, and provided straw and feed for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.
Genesis 24:33 Food was set before him to eat, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told about my errand.”
And he said, “Speak on.”
Genesis 24:34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant.
Genesis 24:35 The Lord has blessed my master greatly, and he has become great; and He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys.
Genesis 24:36 And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and to him he has given all that he has.
Genesis 24:37 Now my master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell;
Genesis 24:38 but you shall go to my father’s house and to my family, and take a wife for my son.’
Genesis 24:39 And I said to my master, ‘Perhaps the woman will not follow me.’
Genesis 24: 40 But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way; and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father’s house.
Genesis 24:41 You will be clear from this oath when you arrive among my family; for if they will not give her to you, then you will be released from my oath.’
Genesis 24:42 “And this day I came to the well and said, ‘O Lord God of my master Abraham, if You will now prosper the way in which I go,
Genesis 24:43 behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass that when the virgin comes out to draw water, and I say to her, “Please give me a little water from your pitcher to drink,”
Genesis 24:44 and she says to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also,”—let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’
Genesis 24:45 “But before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah, coming out with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down to the well and drew water. And I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’
Genesis 24:46 And she made haste and let her pitcher down from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels a drink also.’ So I drank, and she gave the camels a drink also.
Genesis 24:47 Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the nose ring on her nose and the bracelets on her wrists.
Genesis 24:48 And I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son.
Genesis 24:49 Now if you 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.”
Genesis 24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you either bad or good.
Genesis 24:51 Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the Lord has spoken.”
Genesis 24:52 And it came to pass, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, that he worshiped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth.
Genesis 24:53 Then the servant brought out jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother.
Genesis 24:54 And he and the men who were with him ate and drank and stayed all night. Then they arose in the morning, and he said, “Send me away to my master.”
Genesis 24:55 But her brother and her mother said, “Let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least ten; after that she may go.”
Genesis 24:56 And he said to them, “Do not hinder me, since the Lord has prospered my way; send me away so that I may go to my master.”
Genesis 24:57 So they said, “We will call the young woman and ask her personally.”
Genesis 24: 58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?”
And she said, “I will go.”
Genesis 24:59 So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men.
Genesis 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her:
“Our sister, may you become
The mother of thousands of ten thousands;
And may your descendants possess
The gates of those who hate them.”
Genesis 24:61 Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.
Genesis 24:62 Now Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he dwelt in the South.
Genesis 24:63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming.
Genesis 24:64 Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel;
Genesis 24:65 for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?”
The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself.
- Eliezer’s relationship is that of a servant to Abraham’s son.
Genesis 24:66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.
Genesis 24:67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
- Sarah had died. Her tent was filled by Isaac and his wife Rebekah.