24 Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. 2 He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. 3 I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 4 but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?”
6 “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said.7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. 8 If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.
10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.
12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 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, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; 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.”
18 “Drink, 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 too, 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. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.
22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.23 Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24 She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.” 25 And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”
26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things. 29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, 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, 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,” 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 were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet. 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.
(Genesis 24:1-33 NIV)
After the death of Sarah in Chapter 23, Abraham took it upon himself to find a wife for his son Isaac. Arranged marriages were the norm in Abraham’s day, and Abraham wanted to be sure that Isaac would have a godly wife that would not lead him away from following the Lord, and would live out God’s promise to stay in the land God had given to him and all his descendants.
Since Abraham was very old, he could not travel any longer, so he commissioned his chief servant, a trustworthy man, to find a wife for his son. Abraham had two specific commands for this trusted servant:
- Don’t pick a Canaanite woman to be Isaac’s wife
- Don’t take Isaac back to Abraham’s homeland to pick a wife
The servant exercised great care to follow Abraham’s instructions; the servant also exercised great faith in calling on God to guide and lead him to carry out his master’s requests.
God honored the servant’s prayers, as the Lord led the servant to the village of Abraham’s relatives, and to the correct family in the village.
Notice that the servant prayed to the Lord, then patiently waited, observing carefully where the Lord would work next. The servant was quick to do his part when the Lord seemed to be working – to ask the girl for a drink when she brought her water jar up from the well.
Notice the servant’s response – he worshipped and gave thanks to the Lord for the answered prayers (vv. 26-27).
Notice also the family’s hospitality toward the strangers. Rebekah’s brother Laban came out and greeted the servant and welcomed him to spend the night. The hospitality also extended to care for the animals and the other men under the servant’s leadership.
Notice the servant’s focus on why they were there – this was not strictly a social call; there was business to be discussed. And the servant made sure that business matters were known up front before accepting their hosts’ gracious offer of a meal.
May we put our courage and trust in the Lord for our desires and needs, as both Abraham and the servant did.
May we look expectantly to the Lord to answer our prayers when we pray according to His will and seek Him with our whole heart, as the servant did.
We’ll look at the rest of Chapter 24 in our next time together.