(Gen 24:1 NASB) Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way.
(Gen 24:2 NASB) And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh,
Gen 24:2: Note Abraham’s sensitivity to the importance of selecting a wife for his son. The responsibility was not taken lightly. Abraham seemed, once again, to realize that Elohim’s Torah did not allow for His people to marry pagan people (Deut. 7:1-4). While there weren’t many (if any) other followers of Elohim to choose from in the area, Abraham wanted Isaac to have a wife from among his family who had at least known of Elohim and His glory. This principle of Elohim’s Torah was spoken of by Paul also (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). To sum up Paul’s words, “Worship outside of Torah is forbidden.”
The strange practice of agreement mentioned to here has been found also in the culture of the Babylonians. The “thigh” (yarek, Heb.), or “loins,” was viewed as the seat of the procreative powers. One Jewish commentary states that the action enjoined upon the servant was one which affected all of Abraham’s posterity, and hence, the Messianic line. The placing of the hand beneath the procreative area of the body probably symbolized one of two things: 1. That the yet unborn children would avenge any violation of the oath or 2. solemnized the oath in the name of Elohim who gave circumcision as the sign of His covenant.
Today we shake hands instead….
(Gen 24:3 NASB) and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live,
(Gen 24:4 NASB) but you shall go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
Gen 24:4: The journey back to the Mesopotamian area was more than 500 miles away. Isaac was not allowed to accompany him either. Notice that no mention is made of riches, honors, or accomplishments of the girl. He just wants a wife for his son that knows Elohim and displays His heart.
(Gen 24:5 NASB) And the servant said to him, “Suppose the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?”
(Gen 24:6 NASB) Then Abraham said to him, “Beware lest you take my son back there!
(Gen 24:7 NASB) “The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there.
Gen 24:7: Abraham has been assured by Elohim that this mission will succeed and be blessed.
(Gen 24:8 NASB) “But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.”
(Gen 24:9 NASB) So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.
(Gen 24:10 NASB) Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand; and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.
Gen 24:10: Abraham trusted Elohim and obeyed Him. That is the vital message we can gleen from Abraham’s life. Also, Abraham saw the day of Messiah and rejoiced in it (John 8:56).
Verse 8 shows us the last recorded words of Abraham.
(Gen 24:11 NASB) And he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water.
(Gen 24:12 NASB) And he said, “O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham.
Gen 24:12: This is Abraham’s oldest and probably most trusted servant. He knows Elohim and prays for success in this journey and for Abraham.
(Gen 24:13 NASB) “Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water;
(Gen 24:14 NASB) now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’;– may she be the one whom Thou hast appointed for Thy servant Isaac; and by this I shall know that Thou hast shown lovingkindness to my master.”
Gen 24:14: Notice how specific the prayer of this servant is. He wants to know for sure he is picking out the proper girl for Isaac and he wants Elohim to point her out to him beyond a shadow of a doubt.
It seems that the servant wanted a woman who was interested in serving the stranger and showing love in accordance with Elohim’s Torah. If she offered to water ten camels, that involves considerable labor. This is an excellent sign that she is the right one for Isaac.
(Gen 24:15 NASB) And it came about before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder.
(Gen 24:16 NASB) And the girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar, and came up.
Gen 24:16: She was a babe. She was blessed by Elohim and was the woman He had picked out for Isaac before she was born.
Her full genealogy was given because in Genesis 22:20-24 we are told the Nahor also had children with a concubine. The child of a wife enjoyed higher prestige.
She is described as “a virgin.” The Hebrew word “bethuwlah” means “a young woman of marrying age whether married or not. When it is joined with the phrase, “no man had known her,” then it conotates virginity. This passage made it a point to state “the girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her;” because they wanted to make sure that “bethuwlah” in this case meant “virgin.”
One of the most controversial passage in Scripture is Isaiah 7:14. It is often criticized whether or not the translation “virgin” was justified in that passage. The Hebrew word “Bethuwlah” would be used instead of the word “almah” which also means “maiden ” or “virgin.” Jewish scholars and liberal Christian scholars have debated for centuries over this issue claiming that “maiden” should be used used instead of “virgin.” However, this argument falls apart upon examination. The word “almah” as in Isaiah 7:14 appears to always refer to a virgin. But in Joel 1:8, the term bethuwlah is used to describe a woman lamenting over the death of her husband. Similar instances of bethuwlah being used in reference to married woman are in the Talmud also.
In the translating of the Septuagint, the term “almah” is referred to as virgin in Isaiah 7:14 also. The controversy never materialized until there was an axe grind by Jewish Orthodox who are offended by the Truth of Yeshua as Messiah.
So if a virgin is being spoken of, without other surrounding verbal support , the term almah, as used in Isaiah 7:14 is best.
(Gen 24:17 NASB) Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar.”
(Gen 24:18 NASB) And she said, “Drink, my lord”; and she quickly lowered her jar to her hand, and gave him a drink.
(Gen 24:19 NASB) Now when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw also for your camels until they have finished drinking.”
Gen 24:19: This young woman showed a servants heart and a love for her neighbor. Drawing that much water and giving it to the camels until they were full was hard work. A single camel could drink as much as 30 gallons of water in ten minutes. This was the specific sign asked for and was the specific sign given.
(Gen 24:20 NASB) So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels.
(Gen 24:21 NASB) Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the LORD had made his journey successful or not.
(Gen 24:22 NASB) Then it came about, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold,
Gen 24:22: Ten shekels is about 150 grams. Almost all young girls in Persia and Arabia wear bracelets around their wrists and ankles. These given were for the wrists.
The small ring is peculiar to our culture, but is getting more common in the West. This was probably a nose ring which is used throughout Asia and Persia particularly among young women.
(Gen 24:23 NASB) and said, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room for us to lodge in your father’s house?”
(Gen 24:24 NASB) And she said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.”
(Gen 24:25 NASB) Again she said to him, “We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to lodge in.”
Gen 24:25: There was no doubt that this was the right one. She practiced the laws of Elohim and was from the correct lineage.
(Gen 24:26 NASB) Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD.
(Gen 24:27 NASB) And he said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.”
Gen 24:27: Elohim led this man to the right house. There was no mistaking that this was the right girl.
(Gen 24:28 NASB) Then the girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things.
(Gen 24:29 NASB) Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran outside to the man at the spring.
Gen 24:29: Laban is an important character a little later on. He is the uncle of Jacob who taught Jacob quite a few lessons in life and business.
(Gen 24:30 NASB) And it came about that when he saw the ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, “This is what the man said to me,” he went to the man; and behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring.
(Gen 24:31 NASB) And he said, “Come in, blessed of the LORD! Why do you stand outside since I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels?”
Gen 24:31: Laban shows that he is a hospitable man also. But of course he doesn’t do this until he sees the gold and gets dollar signs in his eyes.
(Gen 24:32 NASB) So the man entered the house. Then Laban unloaded the camels, and he gave straw and feed to the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.
(Gen 24:33 NASB) But when food was set before him to eat, he said, “I will not eat until I have told my business.” And he said, “Speak on.”
Gen 24:33: The servant of Abraham did not want to let them think he is there under false pretenses. He is going to be upfront and honest for his reasons for being there. He is not just some stranger and wanderer.
(Gen 24:34 NASB) So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant.
(Gen 24:35 NASB) “And the LORD has greatly blessed my master, so that he has become rich; and He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and servants and maids, and camels and donkeys.
(Gen 24:36 NASB) “Now Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master in her old age; and he has given him all that he has.
(Gen 24:37 NASB) “And 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 live;
Gen 24:37: The Canaanites were involved in gross idolatry and paganism. They were not the ones with which he can form an intimate connection. Especially since Elohim showed that they were filling up their measure of iniquity and they were doomed to destruction.
(Gen 24:38 NASB) but you shall go to my father’s house, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.’
(Gen 24:39 NASB) “And I said to my master, ‘Suppose the woman does not follow me.’
(Gen 24:40 NASB) “And he said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives, and from my father’s house;
(Gen 24:41 NASB) then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my relatives; and if they do not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.’
Gen 24:41: The servant understood that Elohim sent a messenger (angel) with him to prosper his way.
(Gen 24:42 NASB) “So I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now Thou wilt make my journey on which I go successful;
(Gen 24:43 NASB) behold, I am standing by the spring, and may it be that the maiden who comes out to draw, and to whom I say, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar”;
(Gen 24:44 NASB) and she will say to me, “You drink, and I will draw for your camels also”; let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’
(Gen 24:45 NASB) “Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder, and went down to the spring and drew; and I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’
Gen 24:45: He is recounting his story in detail.
(Gen 24:46 NASB) “And she quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’; so I drank, and she watered the camels also.
(Gen 24:47 NASB) “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’; and I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists.
(Gen 24:48 NASB) “And I bowed low and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son.
(Gen 24:49 NASB) “So now if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, let me know, that I may turn to the right hand or the left.”
Gen 24:49: The servant is making sure they understand that this mission is guided by Elohim. He wanted them to know this.
(Gen 24:50 NASB) Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The matter comes from the LORD; so we cannot speak to you bad or good.
Gen 24:50: Josephus was of the opinion that Bethuel had been dead for some time and that this is Bethuel’s son of the same name. While Laban appears to be the eldest and in command, the younger Bethuel is involved in this decision also.
It appears that Laban and Bethuel both know this is from Elohim.
(Gen 24:51 NASB) “Behold, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken.”
(Gen 24:52 NASB) And it came about when Abraham’s servant heard their words, that he bowed himself to the ground before the LORD.
Gen 24:52: The brothers do not hesitate to let Rebekah go. It could be that they already saw substantial evidence that this man was a great tipper.
(Gen 24:53 NASB) And the servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother.
(Gen 24:54 NASB) Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night. When they arose in the morning, he said, “Send me away to my master.”
Gen 24:54: Apparently they had a big party and stayed up much of the night.
(Gen 24:55 NASB) But her brother and her mother said, “Let the girl stay with us a few days, say ten; afterward she may go.”
(Gen 24:56 NASB) And he said to them, “Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.”
Gen 24:56: We are not told the reason for the desired delay. Possibly they wanted to get used to the thought of her leaving. But knowing Laban, he may have been holding out for more gold and silver.
(Gen 24:57 NASB) And they said, “We will call the girl and consult her wishes.”
(Gen 24:58 NASB) Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”
(Gen 24:59 NASB) Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men.
(Gen 24:60 NASB) And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “May you, our sister, become thousands of ten thousands, and may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them.
Gen 24:60: A large family has always been considered a blessing from Elohim.
(Gen 24:61 NASB) Then Rebekah arose with her maids, and they mounted the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.
(Gen 24:62 NASB) Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev.
(Gen 24:63 NASB) And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.
(Gen 24:64 NASB) And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel.
Gen 24:64: A love story is in the making. They saw each other from a distance…..
(Gen 24:65 NASB) And she said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself.
(Gen 24:66 NASB) And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.
(Gen 24:67 NASB) Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Gen 24:67: Isaac and Rebekah were deeply committed to one another in the early days of their relationship. That relationship started intimately with her comforting him during the time of his grieving for his mother.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas