Genesis 24

Isaac and Rebekah

1 Abraham was now very old, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.
2 He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh.
3 I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living,
4 but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?”
6 “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said.
7 “The LORD, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring[a] I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.
8 If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.”
9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.
10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim[b] and made his way to the town of Nahor.
11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.
12 Then he prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.
14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.
16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.”
20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels.
21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful.
22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka[c] and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.[d]
23 Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24 She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.”
25 And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”
26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD,
27 saying, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things.
29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring.
30 As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring.
31 “Come, you who are blessed by the LORD,” he said. “Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.”
32 So the man went to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet.
33 Then food was set before him, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.” “Then tell us,” Laban said.
34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant.
35 The LORD has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys.
36 My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns.
37 And my master made me swear an oath, and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live,
38 but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’
39 “Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’
40 “He replied, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family.
41 You will be released from my oath if, when you go to my clan, they refuse to give her to you—then you will be released from my oath.’
42 “When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘LORD, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come.
43 See, I am standing beside this spring. If a young woman comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,”
44 and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the LORD has chosen for my master’s son.’
45 “Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’
46 “She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also.
47 “I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ “She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor, whom Milkah bore to him.’ “Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms,
48 and I bowed down and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son.
49 Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.”
50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.
51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.”
52 When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the LORD.
53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother.
54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there. When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”
55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you[e] may go.”
56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”
57 Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.”
58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said.
59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men.
60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the cities of their enemies.”
61 Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.
62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev.
63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate,[f] and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.
64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel
65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?” “He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.
66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done.
67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Images for Genesis 24

Genesis 24 Commentary

Chapter 24

Abraham's care for Isaac's marriage. (1-9) The journey of Abraham's servant to Mesopotamia, His meeting with Rebekah. (10-28) Rebekah and her relatives consent to her marriage. (29-53) The happy meeting and marriage of Isaac and rebekah. (54-67)

Verses 1-9 The effect of good example, good teaching, and the worship of God in a family, will generally appear in the piety, faithfulness, prudence, and affection of the servants. To live in such families, or to have such servants, both are blessings from God which should be highly valued, and thankfully acknowledged. But no concern in life is of greater importance to ourselves, to others, or to the church of God, than marriage. It therefore ought always to be undertaken with much care and prudence, especially with reference to the will of God, and with prayer for his direction and blessing. Where good parents are not consulted and regarded, the blessing of God cannot be expected. Parents, in disposing of their children, should carefully consult the welfare of their souls, and their furtherance in the way to heaven. Observe the charge Abraham gave to a good servant, one whose conduct, faithfulness, and affection, to him and his family, he had long known. Observe also, that Abraham remembers that God had wonderfully brought him out of the land of his birth, by the call of his grace; and therefore doubts not but He will prosper his care, not to bring his son thither again. God will cause that to end in our comfort, in which we sincerely aim at his glory.

Verses 10-28 Abraham's servant devoutly acknowledged God. We have leave to be particular in recommending our affairs to the care of Divine providence. He proposes a sign, not that he intended to proceed no further, if not gratified in it; but it is a prayer that God would provide a good wife for his young master; and that was a good prayer. She should be simple, industrious, humble, cheerful, serviceable, and hospitable. Whatever may be the fashion, common sense, as well as piety, tells us, these are the proper qualifications for a wife and mother; for one who is to be a companion to her husband, the manager of domestic concerns, and trusted to form the minds of children. When the steward came to seek a wife for his master, he did not go to places of amusement and sinful pleasure, and pray that he might meet one there, but to the well of water, expecting to find one there employed aright. He prayed that God would please to make his way in this matter plain and clear before him. Our times are in God's hand; not only events themselves, but the times of them. We must take heed of being over-bold in urging what God should do, lest the event should weaken our faith, rather than strengthen it. But God owned him by making his way clear. Rebekah, in all respects, answered the characters he sought for in the woman that was to be his master's wife. When she came to the well, she went down and filled her pitcher, and came up to go home with it. She did not stand to gaze upon the strange man his camels, but minded her business, and would not have been diverted from it but by an opportunity of doing good. She did not curiously or confidently enter into discourse with him, but answered him modestly. Being satisfied that the Lord had heard his prayer, he gave the damsel some ornaments worn in eastern countries; asking at the same time respecting her kindred. On learning that she was of his master's relations, he bowed down his head and worshipped, blessing God. His words were addressed to the Lord, but being spoken in the hearing of Rebekah, she could perceive who he was, and whence he came.

Verses 29-53 The making up of the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah is told very particularly. We are to notice God's providence in the common events of human life, and in them to exercise prudence and other graces. Laban went to ask Abraham's servant in, but not till he saw the ear-ring, and bracelet upon his sister's hands. We know Laban's character, by his conduct afterwards, and may think that he would not have been so free to entertain him, if he had not hoped to be well rewarded for it. The servant was intent upon his business. Though he was come off a journey, and come to a good house, he would not eat till he had told his errand. The doing our work, and the fulfilling our trusts, either for God or man, should be preferred by us before our food: it was our Saviour's meat and drink, ( John 4:34 ) . He tells them the charge his master had given him, with the reason of it. He relates what had happened at the well, to further the proposal, plainly showing the finger of God in it. Those events which to us seem the effect of choice, contrivance, or chance, are "appointed out" of God. This hinders not, but rather encourages the use of all proper means. They freely and cheerfully close with the proposal; and any matter is likely to be comfortable, when it proceeds from the Lord. Abraham's servant thankfully acknowledges the good success he had met with. He was a humble man, and humble men are not ashamed to own their situation in life, whatever it may be. All our temporal concerns are sweet if intermixed with godliness.

Verses 54-67 Abraham's servant, as one that chose his work before his pleasure, was for hastening home. Lingering and loitering no way become a wise and good man who is faithful to his duty. As children ought not to marry without their parents' consent, so parents ought not to marry them without their own. Rebekah consented, not only to go, but to go at once. The goodness of Rebekah's character shows there was nothing wrong in her answer, though it be not agreeable to modern customs among us. We may hope that she had such an idea of the religion and godliness in the family she was to go to, as made her willing to forget her own people and her father's house. Her friends dismiss her with suitable attendants, and with hearty good wishes. They blessed Rebekah. When our relations are entering into a new condition, we ought by prayer to commend them to the blessing and grace of God. Isaac was well employed when he met Rebekah. He went out to take the advantage of a silent evening, and a solitary place, for meditation and prayer; those divine exercises by which we converse with God and our own hearts. Holy souls love retirement; it will do us good to be often alone, if rightly employed; and we are never less alone than when alone. Observe what an affectionate son Isaac was: it was about three years since his mother died, and yet he was not, till now, comforted. See also what an affectionate husband he was to his wife. Dutiful sons promise fair to be affectionate husbands; he that fills up his first station in life with honour, is likely to do the same in those that follow.

Cross References 136

  • 1. S Genesis 17:17; Joshua 23:1
  • 2. Genesis 12:2; Galatians 3:9
  • 3. ver 35
  • 4. S Genesis 15:3
  • 5. Genesis 39:4-6
  • 6. ver 9; Genesis 47:29
  • 7. Genesis 47:31; Genesis 50:25
  • 8. ver 7
  • 9. S Genesis 14:19; S Numbers 20:14
  • 10. Genesis 28:1; Deuteronomy 7:3; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
  • 11. S Genesis 10:15-19
  • 12. ver 37
  • 13. S Genesis 12:1; Genesis 28:2; Judges 14:3
  • 14. S ver 29; S Genesis 21:21
  • 15. ver 39
  • 16. Hebrews 11:15
  • 17. ver 8
  • 18. ver 3
  • 19. Genesis 12:1
  • 20. Romans 4:13; Galatians 3:16*
  • 21. S Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15
  • 22. S Genesis 16:7; Exodus 23:20,23
  • 23. ver 41; Jos 2:12,17,20; Joshua 9:20
  • 24. S ver 6
  • 25. S ver 2
  • 26. Genesis 32:4; Genesis 33:8
  • 27. ver 19; 1 Kings 10:2; 1 Chronicles 12:40; Isaiah 30:6
  • 28. ver 22,30,47,53; Genesis 43:11; Genesis 45:23
  • 29. Numbers 23:7; Deuteronomy 23:4; Judges 3:8
  • 30. S Genesis 11:29
  • 31. Exodus 2:15
  • 32. ver 13; Ge 29:2,9-10; Exodus 2:16; 1 Samuel 9:11; John 4:7
  • 33. ver 27,42,48; Genesis 26:24; Genesis 28:13; Genesis 31:42,53; Genesis 32:9; Genesis 43:23; Genesis 46:3; Ex 3:6,15,16; Exodus 4:5; 1 Kings 18:36; Psalms 75:9; Psalms 94:7
  • 34. ver 21,40,51,56; Genesis 27:20; Nehemiah 1:11
  • 35. S Genesis 19:19; Joshua 2:12; Job 10:12
  • 36. S ver 11,43; Genesis 29:8
  • 37. ver 18,46
  • 38. ver 19
  • 39. ver 44
  • 40. Joshua 2:12; Judges 6:17,37; 1 Samuel 14:10; 1 Kings 13:3; Psalms 86:17; Isaiah 38:7; Jeremiah 44:29
  • 41. ver 45
  • 42. S Genesis 22:23
  • 43. S Genesis 22:22
  • 44. S Genesis 11:29; Genesis 22:20
  • 45. S Genesis 11:29
  • 46. S Genesis 12:11; Genesis 26:7
  • 47. Deuteronomy 22:15-21
  • 48. ver 45; 1 Kings 17:10; John 4:7
  • 49. S ver 14
  • 50. S ver 10
  • 51. ver 14
  • 52. ver 46
  • 53. S ver 12
  • 54. ver 47; Genesis 41:42; Isaiah 3:21; Ezekiel 16:11-12
  • 55. S ver 10
  • 56. ver 47
  • 57. Judges 19:15; Judges 20:4
  • 58. ver 29,47; S Genesis 11:29; ver 15
  • 59. ver 32; Judges 19:19
  • 60. ver 48,52; Exodus 4:31; Exodus 12:27; 1 Chronicles 29:20; 2 Chronicles 20:18
  • 61. Genesis 14:20; Exodus 18:10; Ruth 4:14; 1 Samuel 25:32; 2 Samuel 18:28; 1 Kings 1:48; 1 Kings 8:56; Psalms 28:6; Psalms 41:13; Psalms 68:19; Psalms 106:48; Luke 1:68
  • 62. S ver 12
  • 63. ver 49; Genesis 32:10; Genesis 47:29; Joshua 2:14; Psalms 98:3
  • 64. ver 21
  • 65. S ver 12,48; S Genesis 12:1
  • 66. Genesis 29:12
  • 67. ver 4; Genesis 25:20; Genesis 27:43; Genesis 28:2,5; Genesis 29:5,12,13
  • 68. S ver 10; Ezekiel 23:42
  • 69. Genesis 26:29; Ruth 3:10; Psalms 115:15
  • 70. S ver 25
  • 71. S Genesis 18:4; Genesis 43:24; Judges 19:21
  • 72. S Genesis 15:3
  • 73. S Genesis 12:2
  • 74. ver 1
  • 75. S Genesis 23:6
  • 76. S Genesis 12:16; Genesis 13:2
  • 77. S Genesis 17:17; Genesis 21:2,10
  • 78. Genesis 25:5; Genesis 26:14
  • 79. Genesis 50:5,25
  • 80. ver 3
  • 81. ver 4; S Genesis 21:21
  • 82. S ver 5
  • 83. S Genesis 5:22
  • 84. ver 7; S Genesis 16:7
  • 85. S ver 12
  • 86. S Genesis 12:1
  • 87. S ver 8
  • 88. S ver 12
  • 89. S ver 13
  • 90. Proverbs 30:19; Isaiah 7:14
  • 91. S ver 14
  • 92. ver 14
  • 93. 1 Samuel 1:13
  • 94. ver 15
  • 95. S ver 17; John 4:7
  • 96. ver 18-19
  • 97. ver 20
  • 98. ver 23
  • 99. S Genesis 22:22
  • 100. S ver 24
  • 101. S ver 22
  • 102. S ver 10; Isaiah 3:19; Ezekiel 16:11-12
  • 103. S ver 26
  • 104. S ver 12
  • 105. S ver 27
  • 106. S ver 27; Genesis 47:29; Joshua 2:14
  • 107. Genesis 22:22
  • 108. Psalms 118:23
  • 109. Ge 31:7,24,29,42; Genesis 48:16
  • 110. S ver 12
  • 111. S ver 26
  • 112. Genesis 45:22; Exodus 3:22; Exodus 12:35; 2 Kings 5:5
  • 113. S ver 10,22
  • 114. ver 56,59; Genesis 30:25
  • 115. Judges 19:4
  • 116. S ver 12
  • 117. S ver 54
  • 118. Judges 19:3
  • 119. Ruth 1:16
  • 120. S ver 54
  • 121. Genesis 35:8
  • 122. Genesis 27:4,19; Genesis 28:1; Genesis 31:55; Genesis 48:9,15,20; Joshua 22:6
  • 123. S Genesis 17:16
  • 124. Genesis 22:17; Psalms 127:5; Proverbs 27:11
  • 125. S Genesis 16:1; Genesis 30:3; Genesis 46:25
  • 126. S Genesis 16:14; Genesis 25:11
  • 127. S Genesis 12:9; Genesis 20:1
  • 128. Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2; Psalms 77:12; Psalms 119:15,27,48,97,148; Psalms 143:5; Psalms 145:5
  • 129. Genesis 18:2
  • 130. Genesis 31:17,34; 1 Samuel 30:17
  • 131. Genesis 38:14; Song of Songs 1:7; Song of Songs 4:1,3; Song of Songs 6:7; Isaiah 47:2
  • 132. Genesis 31:33
  • 133. S Genesis 18:9
  • 134. Genesis 25:20; Genesis 49:31
  • 135. Genesis 29:18,20; Genesis 34:3; Judges 16:4
  • 136. Genesis 23:1-2

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Or "seed"
  • [b]. That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
  • [c]. That is, about 1/5 ounce or about 5.7 grams
  • [d]. That is, about 4 ounces or about 115 grams
  • [e]. Or "she"
  • [f]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

Chapter Summary


This chapter shows Abraham's concern to get a suitable wife for his son Isaac, for which purpose he commits the affair into the hands of his eldest servant, and makes him swear that he will not take one from among the Canaanites, but out of his own country, and from among his own kindred, Ge 24:1-4; which his servant agreed to, after having the nature of his charge, and of the oath, explained to him, Ge 24:5-9; upon which he departed to Mesopotamia, and coming to the city of Nahor, and to a well near it, he prayed for success, and desired direction by a token, which was granted him, Ge 24:10-22; and inquiring of the damsel, who answered to the token, whose daughter she was, and whether they had room for him and his in their house; and an agreeable answer being returned, he gave thanks to God that had directed him, and had so far made his journey prosperous, Ge 24:23-27; the damsel acquainting her parents whom and what she met with at the well, a brother of her steps out, and invites the servant in, and makes him welcome, Ge 24:28-33; but before he would eat anything, he tells his errand he was come upon, at the instance of his master; how, he had prayed for direction, and was heard, and for which he had given thanks, Ge 24:34-48; and then treats with the relations of the damsel about her marriage to his master's son, to which they agreed, Ge 24:49-51; and after having blessed God, and given his presents he brought with him to the damsel, and her family, and ate and drank with them, was for departing the next morning, Ge 24:52-54; but the friends of the damsel being desirous of her stay with them some few days, and he urgent to be gone, the affair was referred to her, and she agreed to go with him directly, Ge 24:55-58; upon which they dismissed her with their blessing, Ge 24:59,60; who being met by Isaac in the way, was received and introduced into his mother's tent, and married by him, Ge 24:61-67.

Genesis 24 Commentaries

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