Genesis 24

1 Abraham was old, and well stricken in age. The LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please put your hand under my thigh. 3 I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, amongst whom I live. 4 But you shall go to my country, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” 5 The servant said to him, “What if the woman isn’t willing to follow me to this land? Must I bring your son again to the land you came from?” 6 Abraham said to him, “Beware that you don’t bring my son there again. 7 The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my birth, who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, ‘I will give this land to your offspring. He will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8 If the woman isn’t willing to follow you, then you shall be clear from this oath to me. Only you shall not bring my son there again.” 9 The servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter. 10 The servant took ten camels, of his master’s camels, and departed, having a variety of good things of his master’s with him. He arose, and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11 He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water. 12 He said, “The LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I am standing by the spring of water. The daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Let it happen, that the young lady to whom I will say, ‘Please let down your pitcher, that I may drink,’ and she will say, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink,’—let her be the one you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” 15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16 The young lady was very beautiful to look at, a virgin. No man had known her. She went down to the spring, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 The servant ran to meet her, and said, “Please give me a drink, a little water from your pitcher.” 18 She said, “Drink, my lord.” She hurried, and let down her pitcher on her hand, and gave him drink. 19 When she had done giving him drink, she said, “I will also draw for your camels, until they have done drinking.” 20 She hurried, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again to the well to draw, and drew for all his camels. 21 The man looked steadfastly at her, remaining silent, to know whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not. 22 As the camels had done drinking, the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold, 23 and said, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there room in your father’s house for us to lodge in?” 24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25 She said moreover to him, “We have both straw and feed enough, and room to lodge in.” 26 The man bowed his head, and worshiped the LORD. 27 He said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his loving kindness and his truth towards my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the way to the house of my master’s relatives.” 28 The young lady ran, and told her mother’s house about these words. 29 Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban. Laban ran out to the man, to the spring. 30 When he saw the ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, “This is what the man said to me,” he came to the man. Behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. 31 He said, “Come in, you blessed of the LORD. Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.” 32 The man came into the house, and he unloaded the camels. He gave straw and feed for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33 Food was set before him to eat, but he said, “I will not eat until I have told my message.” He said, “Speak on.” 34 He said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The LORD has blessed my master greatly. He has become great. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male servants and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36 Sarah, my master’s wife, bore a son to my master when she was old. He has given all that he has to him. 37 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, 38 but you shall go to my father’s house, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.’ 39 I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not follow me?’ 40 He said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you, and prosper your way. You shall take a wife for my son from my relatives, and of my father’s house. 41 Then will you be clear from my oath, when you come to my relatives. If they don’t give her to you, you shall be clear from my oath.’ 42 I came today to the spring, and said, ‘The LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now you do prosper my way which I go— 43 behold, I am standing by this spring of water. Let it happen, that the maiden who comes out to draw, to whom I will say, “Please give me a little water from your pitcher to drink,” 44 and she will tell me, “Drink, and I will also draw for your camels,”—let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’ 45 Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. She went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 46 She hurried and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink.’ So I drank, and she also gave the camels a drink. 47 I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her hands. 48 I bowed my head, and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter for his son. 49 Now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. If not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.” 50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered, “The thing proceeds from the LORD. We can’t speak to you bad or good. 51 Behold, Rebekah is before you. Take her, and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the LORD has spoken.” 52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth to the LORD. 53 The servant brought out jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and her mother. 54 They ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and stayed all night. They rose up in the morning, and he said, “Send me away to my master.” 55 Her brother and her mother said, “Let the young lady stay with us a few days, at least ten. After that she will go.” 56 He said to them, “Don’t hinder me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.” 57 They said, “We will call the young lady, and ask her.” 58 They called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” 59 They sent away Rebekah, their sister, with her nurse, Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60 They blessed Rebekah, and said to her, “Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let your offspring possess the gate of those who hate them.” 61 Rebekah arose with her ladies. They rode on the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he lived in the land of the South. 63 Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the evening. He lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming. 64 Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel. 65 She said to the servant, “Who is the man who is walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” She took her veil, and covered herself. 66 The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife. He loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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, Joh 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.

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