And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house
To Eliezer his servant, according to the Targum of Jonathan, and as is generally thought; and who may well be called an old servant, and his oldest servant, since he must have lived with him fifty years and upwards; one may trace him near sixty years in Abraham's family, and it is highly probable he lived much longer; he was his servant when he had the vision between the pieces, ( Genesis 15:2 ) ; and then he was the steward of his house, and bid fair to be his heir; which was some time before Hagar was given to Abraham; and Ishmael his son by Hagar was fourteen years of age when Isaac was born, and he was now forty years old, which make fifty five years, or thereabout. Bishop Usher places the vision of the pieces in A. M. 2092, and the marriage of Isaac in 2148, some fifty six years from each other; and so long Eliezer, if he is the servant here meant, must have been in Abraham's family, and how much longer cannot with certainty be said: that ruled over all that he had;
had the care and management of his house, and the affairs of it under him; this agrees with the character of Eliezer in ( Genesis 15:2 ) : put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
as a token of his subjection to him as a servant, and of his readiness, willingness, and fidelity to execute any commands he should lay upon him, and in order to take an oath, as appears by what follows; for it seems this rite was used in swearing, and is still used in India, as Aben Ezra affirms; and some say among the Ethiopians. The Jewish writers are pretty much of opinion that respect is had to the covenant of circumcision, by which Abraham made his servant to swear, which is not likely: rather respect is had to his seed, the promised Messiah, that should spring from his thigh, by whom the adjuration was made, as follows: though Dr. Clayton F11 thinks this is no other than an equivalent term for approaching in an humble servile manner, and means no more than "come near me", and I will make thee swear; and that, as a respectable method of approach with the Egyptian, as Herodotus F12 relates, was by bowing the body reciprocally when they met, and saluted one another, and by carrying their hands to each other's knee; so some such like ceremony as embracing the knee, and putting the hand under or round the thigh, might be used by servants when they approached their masters; but it should be observed, that this same rite or ceremony was required of Joseph, governor of Egypt, by his father Jacob; see ( Genesis 47:29 ) .
F11 Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 130, 131.
F12 Euterpe sive, l. 2.