Genesis 24

Listen to Genesis 24
1 Abraham was now a very old man, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.
2 One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh.
3 Swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women.
4 Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?”
6 “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there.
7 For the LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son.
8 If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.”
9 So the servant took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions.
10 Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled.
11 He made the camels kneel beside a well just outside the town. It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water.
12 “O LORD, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham.
13 See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water.
14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah.
16 Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again.
17 Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.”
18 “Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink.
19 When 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 jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels.
21 The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the LORD had given him success in his mission.
22 Then at last, when the camels had finished drinking, he took out a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets for her wrists.
23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “And please tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?”
24 “I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.
25 Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.”
26 The man bowed low and worshiped the LORD .
27 “Praise the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The LORD has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.”
28 The young woman ran home to tell her family everything that had happened.
29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out to meet the man at the spring.
30 He had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said. So he rushed out to the spring, where the man was still standing beside his camels.
31 Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the LORD ! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels?”
32 So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man and the camel drivers to wash their feet.
33 Then food was served. But Abraham’s servant said, “I don’t want to eat until I have told you why I have come.” “All right,” Laban said, “tell us.”
34 “I am Abraham’s servant,” he explained.
35 “And the LORD has greatly blessed my master; he has become a wealthy man. The LORD has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants and camels and donkeys.
36 “When Sarah, my master’s wife, was very old, she gave birth to my master’s son, and my master has given him everything he owns.
37 And my master made me take an oath. He said, ‘Do not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women.
38 Go instead to my father’s house, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son.’
39 “But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’
40 He responded, ‘The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family.
41 Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from my oath.’
42 “So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O LORD, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission.
43 See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.”
44 If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,” let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son.’
45 “Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’
46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ So I drank, and then she watered the camels.
47 “Then I asked, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, and my grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists.
48 “Then I bowed low and worshiped the LORD . I praised the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham, because he had led me straight to my master’s niece to be his son’s wife.
49 So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.”
50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The LORD has obviously brought you here, so there is nothing we can say.
51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.”
52 When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed down to the ground and worshiped the LORD .
53 Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her brother and mother.
54 Then they ate their meal, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight. But early the next morning, Abraham’s servant said, “Send me back to my master.”
55 “But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.”
56 But he said, “Don’t delay me. The LORD has made my mission successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.”
57 “Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.”
58 So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her. And she replied, “Yes, I will go.”
59 So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her.
60 They gave her this blessing as she parted: “Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies.”
61 Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and went on his way.
62 Meanwhile, Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had returned from Beer-lahai-roi.
63 One evening as he was walking and meditating in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming.
64 When Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted from her camel.
65 “Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?” she asked the servant. And he replied, “It is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil.
66 Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done.
67 And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.

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.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Hebrew seed; also in 24:60 .
  • [b]. Hebrew a gold nose-ring weighing a beka [0.2 ounces or 6 grams] and two gold bracelets weighing 10 [shekels] [4 ounces or 114 grams].

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 24

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