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A Wife for Isaac

24 Abraham was now very old. The Lord had blessed him in every way. Abraham’s oldest servant was in charge of everything Abraham owned. Abraham called that servant to him and said, “Put your hand under my leg.[a] Make a promise to me before the Lord, the God of heaven and earth. Don’t get a wife for my son from the Canaanite girls who live around here. Instead, go back to my country, to the land of my relatives. Get a wife for my son Isaac from there.”

The servant said to him, “What if this woman does not want to return with me to this land? Then, should I take your son with me back to your homeland?”

Abraham said to him, “No! Don’t take my son back there. The Lord is the God of heaven. He brought me from the home of my father and the land of my relatives. But the Lord promised me, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ The Lord will send his angel before you. The angel will help you get a wife for my son there. But if the girl won’t come back with you, you will be free from this promise. But you must not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under his master’s leg. He made a promise to Abraham about this.

10 The servant took ten of Abraham’s camels and left. He carried with him many different kinds of beautiful gifts. He went to Northwest Mesopotamia to Nahor’s city. 11 He made the camels kneel down at the well outside the city. It was in the evening when the women come out to get water.

12 The servant said, “Lord, you are the God of my master Abraham. Allow me to find a wife for his son today. Please show this kindness to my master Abraham. 13 Here I am, standing by the spring of water. The girls from the city are coming out to get water. 14 I will say to one of the girls, ‘Please put your jar down so I can drink.’ Then let her say, ‘Drink, and I will also give water to your camels.’ If that happens, I will know she is the right one for your servant Isaac. And I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”

15 Before the servant had finished praying, Rebekah came out of the city. She was the daughter of Bethuel. (Bethuel was the son of Milcah and Nahor, Abraham’s brother.) Rebekah was carrying her water jar on her shoulder. 16 She was very pretty. She was a virgin; she had never had physical relations with a man. She went down to the spring and filled her jar. Then she came back up. 17 The servant ran to her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”

18 Rebekah said, “Drink, sir.” She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder and gave him a drink. 19 After he finished drinking, Rebekah said, “I will also pour some water for your camels.” 20 So she quickly poured all the water from her jar into the drinking trough for the camels. Then she kept running to the well until she had given all the camels enough to drink.

21 The servant quietly watched her. He wanted to be sure the Lord had made his trip successful. 22 After the camels had finished drinking, he gave Rebekah a gold ring weighing one-fifth of an ounce. He also gave her two gold arm bracelets weighing about four ounces each. 23 The servant asked, “Who is your father? Is there a place in his house for me and my men to spend the night?”

24 Rebekah answered, “My father is Bethuel. He is the son of Milcah and Nahor.” 25 Then she said, “And, yes, we have straw for your camels. We have a place for you to spend the night.”

26 The servant bowed and worshiped the Lord. 27 He said, “Blessed is the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. The Lord has been kind and truthful to him. He has led me to my master’s relatives.”

28 Then Rebekah ran and told her mother’s family about all these things. 29 She had a brother named Laban. He ran out to Abraham’s servant, who was still at the spring. 30 Laban had heard what she had said. And he had seen the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms. So he ran out to the well. And there was the man standing by the camels at the spring. 31 Laban said, “Sir, you are welcome to come in. You don’t have to stand outside. I have prepared the house for you and also a place for your camels.”

32 So Abraham’s servant went into the house. Laban unloaded the camels and gave them straw and food. Then Laban gave water to Abraham’s servant so he and the men with him could wash their feet. 33 Then Laban gave the servant food. But the servant said, “I will not eat until I have told you why I came.”

So Laban said, “Then tell us.”

34 He said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The Lord has greatly blessed my master in everything. My master has become a rich man. The Lord has given him many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. He has given Abraham silver and gold, male and female servants, camels and horses. 36 Sarah, my master’s wife, gave birth to a son when she was old. My master has given everything he owns to that son. 37 My master had me make a promise to him. He said, ‘Don’t get a wife for my son from the Canaanite girls who live around here. 38 Instead you must go to my father’s people and to my family. There you must get a wife for my son.’ 39 I said to my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’ 40 But he said, ‘I serve the Lord. He will send his angel with you and will help you. You will get a wife for my son from my family and my father’s people. 41 Then you will be free from the promise. Or if they will not give you a wife for my son, you will be free from this promise.’

42 “Today I came to this spring. I said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, please make my trip successful. 43 Look, I am standing by this spring of water. I will wait for a young woman to come out to get water. Then I will say, “Please give me water from your jar to drink.” 44 Then let her say, “Drink this water. I will also get water for your camels.” By this I will know the Lord has chosen her for my master’s son.’

45 “Before I finished my silent prayer, Rebekah came out of the city. She had her water jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and got water. I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46 She quickly lowered the jar from her shoulder. She said, ‘Drink this. I will also get water for your camels.’ So I drank, and she gave water to my camels also. 47 Then I asked her, ‘Who is your father?’ She answered, ‘My father is Bethuel son of Milcah and Nahor.’ Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms. 48 At that time I bowed my head and thanked the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham. I thanked him because he led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49 Now, tell me, will you be kind and truthful to my master? And if not, tell me so. Then I will know what I should do.”

50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is clearly from the Lord. We cannot change what must happen. 51 Rebekah is yours. Take her and go. Let her marry your master’s son as the Lord has commanded.”

52 When Abraham’s servant heard these words, he bowed facedown on the ground before the Lord. 53 Then the servant gave Rebekah gold and silver jewelry and clothes. He also gave expensive gifts to her brother and mother. 54 The servant and the men with him ate and drank. And they spent the night there. When they got up the next morning, the servant said, “Now let me go back to my master.”

55 Rebekah’s mother and her brother said, “Let Rebekah stay with us at least ten days. After that she may go.”

56 But the servant said to them, “Do not make me wait. The Lord has made my trip successful. Now let me go back to my master.”

57 Rebekah’s brother and mother said, “We will call Rebekah and ask her what she wants to do.” 58 They called her and asked her, “Do you want to go with this man now?”

She said, “Yes, I do.”

59 So they allowed Rebekah and her nurse to go with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 They blessed Rebekah and said,

“Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of people.
    And may your descendants capture the cities of their enemies.”

61 Then Rebekah and her servant girls got on the camels and followed the servant and his men. So the servant took Rebekah and left.

62 At this time Isaac had left Beer Lahai Roi. He was living in southern Canaan. 63 One evening he went out to the field to think. As he looked up, he saw camels coming. 64 Rebekah looked and saw Isaac. Then she jumped down from the camel. 65 She asked the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?”

The servant answered, “That is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil.

66 The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 67 Then Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent of Sarah, his mother. And she became his wife. Isaac loved her very much. So he was comforted after his mother’s death.

Footnotes

  1. 24:2 Put . . . leg. This showed that a person would keep the promise.

Isaac and Rebekah

24 Abraham was now very old,(A) and the Lord had blessed(B) him in every way.(C) He said to the senior servant(D) in his household, the one in charge of all that he had,(E) “Put your hand under my thigh.(F) I want you to swear(G) by the Lord, the God of heaven(H) and the God of earth,(I) that you will not get a wife for my son(J) from the daughters of the Canaanites,(K) among whom I am living,(L) but will go to my country and my own relatives(M) and get a wife for my son Isaac.(N)

The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land?(O) Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?(P)

“Make sure that you do not take my son back there,”(Q) Abraham said. “The Lord, the God of heaven,(R) who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land(S) and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring[a](T) I will give this land’(U)—he will send his angel before you(V) so that you can get a wife for my son from there. If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath(W) of mine. Only do not take my son back there.”(X) So the servant put his hand under the thigh(Y) of his master(Z) Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels(AA) loaded with all kinds of good things(AB) from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim[b](AC) and made his way to the town of Nahor.(AD) 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well(AE) outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.(AF)

12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham,(AG) make me successful(AH) today, and show kindness(AI) to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.(AJ) 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,(AK) and I’ll water your camels too’(AL)—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac.(AM) By this I will know(AN) that you have shown kindness to my master.”

15 Before he had finished praying,(AO) Rebekah(AP) came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel(AQ) son of Milkah,(AR) who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.(AS) 16 The woman was very beautiful,(AT) a virgin;(AU) 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.”(AV)

18 “Drink,(AW) 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(AX) too,(AY) 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.(AZ) 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.(BA)

22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring(BB) weighing a beka[c] and two gold bracelets(BC) weighing ten shekels.[d] 23 Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you?(BD) Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?(BE)

24 She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.(BF) 25 And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder,(BG) as well as room for you to spend the night.”

26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord,(BH) 27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord,(BI) the God of my master Abraham,(BJ) who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness(BK) to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey(BL) to the house of my master’s relatives.”(BM)

28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things.(BN) 29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban,(BO) 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,(BP) 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,”(BQ) 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(BR) were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet.(BS) 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.(BT) 35 The Lord has blessed(BU) my master abundantly,(BV) and he has become wealthy.(BW) He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys.(BX) 36 My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age,(BY) and he has given him everything he owns.(BZ) 37 And my master made me swear an oath,(CA) and said, ‘You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live,(CB) 38 but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.’(CC)

39 “Then I asked my master, ‘What if the woman will not come back with me?’(CD)

40 “He replied, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully,(CE) will send his angel with you(CF) and make your journey a success,(CG) so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family.(CH) 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.’(CI)

42 “When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success(CJ) to the journey on which I have come. 43 See, I am standing beside this spring.(CK) If a young woman(CL) comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,”(CM) 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.’(CN)

45 “Before I finished praying in my heart,(CO) Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder.(CP) She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’(CQ)

46 “She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’(CR) So I drank, and she watered the camels also.(CS)

47 “I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’(CT)

“She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel(CU) son of Nahor, whom Milkah bore to him.’(CV)

“Then I put the ring in her nose(CW) and the bracelets on her arms,(CX) 48 and I bowed down and worshiped the Lord.(CY) I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham,(CZ) who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son.(DA) 49 Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness(DB) to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.”

50 Laban and Bethuel(DC) answered, “This is from the Lord;(DD) we can say nothing to you one way or the other.(DE) 51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.(DF)

52 When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord.(DG) 53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing(DH) and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts(DI) 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(DJ) to my master.”

55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so;(DK) then you[e] may go.”

56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success(DL) to my journey. Send me on my way(DM) so I may go to my master.”

57 Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.”(DN) 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”

“I will go,”(DO) she said.

59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way,(DP) along with her nurse(DQ) and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed(DR) Rebekah and said to her,

“Our sister, may you increase
    to thousands upon thousands;(DS)
may your offspring possess
    the cities of their enemies.”(DT)

61 Then Rebekah and her attendants(DU) 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,(DV) for he was living in the Negev.(DW) 63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate,[f](DX) and as he looked up,(DY) he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel(DZ) 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(EA) and covered herself.

66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into the tent(EB) of his mother Sarah,(EC) and he married Rebekah.(ED) So she became his wife, and he loved her;(EE) and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.(EF)

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 24:7 Or seed
  2. Genesis 24:10 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
  3. Genesis 24:22 That is, about 1/5 ounce or about 5.7 grams
  4. Genesis 24:22 That is, about 4 ounces or about 115 grams
  5. Genesis 24:55 Or she
  6. Genesis 24:63 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

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