Genesis 24 - Outline of Genesis (Book Notes menu page)
24:1 And Abraham was old, [and] well stricken in age:
and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.
24:2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house,
that ruled over all that he had,
{cp. 15:2,3}
Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
24:3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth,
that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred,
and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
24:5 And the servant said unto him,
Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land:
must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?
24:6 And Abraham said unto him,
Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.
24:7 The LORD God of heaven,
which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred,
and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land;
he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.
24:8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee,
then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.
24:9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master,
and sware to him concerning that matter.
Abraham sought a bride for Isaac -
This bride must be suitable for the son of promise.
- - She must not be from the Canaanites (who were idolaters). v.3; cp. Ex 34:14-16
- - She must not cause Isaac to forsake the land of promise. v.6
Abraham trusted God to provide such a bride for his son. v.7
There are lessons here for believers today:
  1. The importance of allowing God to choose your spouse.-
    God designed the institution of marriage for his purposes and for man's good.
    But marriage cannot meet its divine objectives apart from God's directives.
    A marriage partner will either enhance or hinder a believer's walk with the Lord.
    cp. Gen 2:18,23,24; Heb 13:4; 1Cor 7:32-34; 2Cor 6:14
  2. An illustration of the 'calling out' of the Bride of Christ from the world, by the Holy Spirit.
    The NT word translated 'church' is GK=ekklesia, meaning 'called out ones'.
    (This is not a type, since in the OT, the church was a mystery not yet revealed. Eph 3:1-6).
    Abraham pictures 'a certain king' {God} who made a marriage for his son. Mat 22:2- f
    The parallel here is even more striking when seen in the flow of the text to this point:
    Genesis-NT parallel-
    ch.22- Isaac offered & raised up- the death & resurrection of Christ. Rom 8:32-34
    ch.23- Sarah laid aside- the temporary setting aside of Israel. Rom 11:7-15
    ch.24- a bride sought for Isaac
    - the calling out of the church
    consisting of Jewish & Gentile believers.
    Joh 3:26-36; Eph 3:6-9; 2Cor 5:18-21; 11:2
    The process of calling a Bride can be divided as follows (outline of ch.24):
    1. the Oath. v.1-9
    2. the Choosing by God. v.10-27
    3. the Testimony, winning the Bride. v.28-60
    4. the Testimony, anticipating the Bridegroom. v.61-65
    5. the Comfort: forever together. v.66,67
Abraham's unnamed servant provides -
  1. A picture of the Holy Spirit's work of 'calling out' the Bride of Christ.
    (See the notes following v.27 and also v.60 below.)
  2. An example of a faithful servant of God -
    1. he does not run unsent, v.2-9; cp. Rom 10:15
    2. he goes where he is sent, v.4,10; cp. Mat 28:19; Acts 1:8
    3. he utilizes the resources of the Master, v.10; cp. Mat 28:18; Acts 1:8
    4. he requests & receives direction, with prayer & thanksgiving, v.12-15,26,27
      cp. Prov 3:5,6; Eph 6:18-20; 1The 3:11-13; Jam 1:5-8
    5. he speaks not of himself, but of the Master & His Son, v.22,34-36
      cp. Acts 20:30-35; 1Cor 1:23,24; 2Cor 4:5
    6. he speaks to win, rather than coerce, followers, v.49
      cp. 1Pet 2:15,16; Rev 22:17
    7. he presents the issue clearly, and requires a clear decision, v.56-59;
      cp. Josh 24:15; 2Cor 6:1,2
The Oath between Abraham and his servant (v.1-9) concerned...
  1. The future Seed -
    • The Procedure - in which the servant placed his hand under Abraham's thigh {HB= yarek, loins, ie., genitals}, acknowledged the circumcision sealed Covenant which anticipated the promised Seed, who would come through Abraham's line, by the power of God (not that of the flesh).
      The Bible mentions this procedure only here (Gen ch.24) and in Gen 47:29-31.
    • The Consequences - The servant swore, "by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth," that he would faithfully exercise his duties with regard to that Covenant. The Covenant Maker would hold him accountable. There would be no escaping from His justice.
  2. The future Bride -
    1. for Isaac - God had already chosen Rebekah,
      although at the time, she was far removed and completely unaware of it.
    2. for Christ - This account (of seeking a bride for Isaac) pictures the counsel of the Godhead from eternity past (cp. Rom 8:29,30; Eph 1:3,4).
      In the wisdom of God's counsel...

b. The Choosing by God (v.10-27)
24:10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed;
for all the goods of his master [were] in his hand:
and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.
24:11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water
at the time of the evening, [even] the time that women go out to draw [water].
24:12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham,
I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
24:13 Behold, I stand [here] by the well of water;
and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
24:14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say,
Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink;
and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also:
[let the same be] she [that] thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac;
and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
24:15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold,
Rebekah came out,
who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother,
{cp. 11:27-29}
with her pitcher upon her shoulder.
24:16 And the damsel [was] very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her:
and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
24:17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said,
Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
24:18 And she said, Drink, my lord:
and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.
24:19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said,
I will draw [water] for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.
24:20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough,
and ran again unto the well to draw [water], and drew for all his camels.
24:21 And the man wondering at her held his peace,
to wit
{ie., to know} whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.
24:22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking,
that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight,
and two bracelets for her hands of ten [shekels] weight of gold;
24:23 And said, Whose daughter [art] thou?
tell me, I pray thee: is there room [in] thy father's house for us to lodge in?
24:24 And she said unto him,
I [am] the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.
24:25 She said moreover unto him,
We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.
24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.
24:27 And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of my master Abraham,
who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth:
I [being] in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren.
The Choosing by the LORD (v.10-27)-
The servant sought direction from the LORD, and trusted Him to identify the chosen bride.
cp. Acts 2:39,47; 13:48; Rom 8:30; 11:5-7
The LORD gave an unmistakably clear answer to the servant's prayer.
The means, by which the servant would know the LORD's choice of a bride for Isaac, was a very difficult test. The damsel must not only give him a drink of water, but also voluntarily offer to water his ten camels. A thirsty camel can drink more than 20 gallons in ten minutes, and may not finish drinking until consuming 40 gallons or more. The wording of v.16b, suggests that Rebekah had to descend down into the well (probably on a staircase) to the water level, then carry her pitcher back up to ground level, and also some distance to the camel trough. After repeated trips down into the well, she may have carried as much as 400 gallons before the camels were satisfied.
...a golden earring... and two bracelets
Whereas Rebekah's garments had previously identified her as a virgin (v.16),
these items of jewelry would indicate that she was spoken for and that the engagement process had begun.
The servant prepared these gifts, but waited, for there was one more test. Did she belong to the family of faith? As soon as he knew, he worshipped the LORD (v.27), and bestowed these things upon her (cp. v.47).
     The servant's action pictures the Holy Spirit's seal upon those who belong to Christ, by faith (Eph 1:12-14). Entrance into the family of God is by faith (Joh 1:11-13). Faith in Christ is a test, as impossible as passing a camel through the eye of a needle, because God's way of salvation is foolishness to the natural man (Mat 19:24-26; 1Cor 1:18-31; 2:12-14).
c. the Testimony, winning the Bride (v.28-60)
24:28 And the damsel ran, and told [them of] her mother's house these things.
24:29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name [was] Laban:
and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.
24:30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands,
and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me;
that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.
24:31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without?
for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.
24:32 And the man came into the house:
and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels,
and water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that [were] with him.
24:33 And there was set [meat] before him to eat:
but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand.
And he said, Speak on.
24:34 And he said, I [am] Abraham's servant.
24:35 And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great:
and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold,
and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.
24:36 And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old:
and unto him hath he given all that he hath.
24:37 And my master made me swear, saying,
Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell:
24:38 But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son.
24:39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.
24:40 And he said unto me,
The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way;
and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house:
24:41 Then shalt thou be clear from [this] my oath, when thou comest to my kindred;
and if they give not thee [one], thou shalt be clear from my oath.
24:42 And I came this day unto the well, and said,
O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go:
24:43 Behold, I stand by the well of water;
and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw [water],
and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;
24:44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels:
[let] the same [be] the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master's son.
24:45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart,
behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder;
and she went down unto the well, and drew [water]:
and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.
24:46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her [shoulder],
and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also:
so I drank, and she made the camels drink also.
24:47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter [art] thou?
And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him:
and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.
24:48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD,
and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham,
which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son.
24:49 And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me:
and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.
24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said,
The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.
24:51 Behold, Rebekah [is] before thee, take [her], and go,
and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken.
24:52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words,
he worshipped the LORD, [bowing himself] to the earth.
24:53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment,
and gave [them] to Rebekah:
he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.
24:54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that [were] with him, and tarried all night;
and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.
24:55 And her brother and her mother said,
Let the damsel abide with us [a few] days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.
24:56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way;
send me away that I may go to my master.
24:57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth.
24:58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man?
And she said, I will go.
24:59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse,
and Abraham's servant, and his men.
24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her,
Thou [art] our sister, be thou [the mother] of thousands of millions,
and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.
The Testimony, winning the Bride (v.28-60)-
The servant (like the Holy Spirit) did not speak of himself (Joh 15:26; 16:13-15),
- - but of the Father's house (v.34,35)
- - and of the Bridegroom who is heir of all (v.36; Heb 1:1-3; 1Cor 3:21-23).
After stating his errand, and receiving a favorable response...
the servant gave gifts to the bride (cp. 1Cor 12:11-13), and also a dowry to central family members.
Only then would he take part in the meal...
As the women served, or sat in the shadows, the men talked. The servant would have shared more of the story: of the long awaited son of promise, of Isaac's miraculous birth, of his sacrifice and how his father received him back alive from the altar, and of the father's desire that his beloved son should have a pure and godly bride.
Rebekah found her heart drawn to Isaac. She loved him without seeing him. (cp. 1Pet 1:8)
Wilt thou go with this man? and she said, I will go.-
How could she stay, when her heart was already with him? Her heart readily released its petty treasures, even those dear ones in her father's house, so that she might go to Him. cp. Php 3:7-14
Today, as the Holy Spirit calls out a Bride for the Father's Son, does your heart say: "I will go!" ?
d. The Testimony, anticipating the Bridegroom (v.61-65)
24:61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels,
and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man:
and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.
24:62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi;
{ie., the well of Him who lives and sees me}
for he dwelt in the south country.
24:63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide:
{Psa 143:5,6}
and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels [were] coming.
24:64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes,
and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
24:65 For she [had] said unto the servant,
What man [is] this that walketh in the field to meet us?
And the servant [had] said, It [is] my master:
therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.
the Testimony, anticipating the Bridegroom (v.61-65)-
The journey back from Mesopotamia would have taken weeks. The servant delighted in telling Rebekah, in answer to her frequent questions, more about the father's son. She never tired of hearing the story of his birth, of his sacrifice, and of the promises yet future. She sought to know him better through the servant's words. She longed to be with him, and took comfort that each day brought their meeting nearer (Eph 1:15-23; Titus 2:11-14; 1Joh 3:1-3).
Finally, that day came.
e. The Comfort, forever together (v.66,67)
24:66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.
24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent,
and took Rebekah, and she became his wife;
and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's [death].
The Comfort: together forever (v.66,67).
cp. 1The 4:16-18; Psa 45:10,11
Isaac loved her.- This is the second occurrence of the word 'love' in the Bible. (The first was at Gen 22:2).
The beloved son loved the wife who was chosen for him. cp. Eph 5:25-32
She was the answer to his prayer, from the One who saw his heart's desire. v.62,63; cp. Joh 17:24; Heb 7:25

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