24:2 Abraham said to his servant, the senior one 1 in his household who was in charge of everything he had, “Put your hand under my thigh 2 24:3 so that I may make you solemnly promise 3 by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth: You must not acquire 4 a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living. 24:4 You must go instead to my country and to my relatives 5 to find 6 a wife for my son Isaac.”
24:6 “Be careful 9 never to take my son back there!” Abraham told him. 10 24:7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and the land of my relatives, 11 promised me with a solemn oath, 12 ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ He will send his angel 13 before you so that you may find 14 a wife for my son from there. 24:8 But if the woman is not willing to come back with you, 15 you will be free 16 from this oath of mine. But you must not take my son back there!” 24:9 So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and gave his solemn promise he would carry out his wishes. 17
24:10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed with all kinds of gifts from his master at his disposal. 18 He journeyed 19 to the region of Aram Naharaim 20 and the city of Nahor. 24:11 He made the camels kneel down by the well 21 outside the city. It was evening, 22 the time when the women would go out to draw water. 24:12 He prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, guide me today. 23 Be faithful 24 to my master Abraham. 24:13 Here I am, standing by the spring, 25 and the daughters of the people 26 who live in the town are coming out to draw water. 24:14 I will say to a young woman, ‘Please lower your jar so I may drink.’ May the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac reply, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ 27 In this way I will know that you have been faithful to my master.” 28
24:15 Before he had finished praying, there came Rebekah 29 with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah (Milcah was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor). 30 24:16 Now the young woman was very beautiful. She was a virgin; no man had ever had sexual relations with her. 31 She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came back up. 24:17 Abraham’s servant 32 ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a sip of water from your jug.” 24:18 “Drink, my lord,” she replied, and quickly lowering 33 her jug to her hands, she gave him a drink. 24:19 When she had done so, 34 she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have drunk as much as they want.” 24:20 She quickly emptied 35 her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw more water until she had drawn enough for all his camels. 24:21 Silently the man watched her with interest to determine 36 if the Lord had made his journey successful 37 or not.
24:22 After the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka 38 and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels 39 and gave them to her. 40 24:23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. 41 “Tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24:26 The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord, 24:27 saying “Praised be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his faithful love 45 for my master! The Lord has led me 46 to the house 47 of my master’s relatives!” 48
24:28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household all about 49 these things. 24:29 (Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban.) 50 Laban rushed out to meet the man at the spring. 24:30 When he saw the bracelets on his sister’s wrists and the nose ring 51 and heard his sister Rebekah say, 52 “This is what the man said to me,” he went out to meet the man. There he was, standing 53 by the camels near the spring. 24:31 Laban said to him, 54 “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord! 55 Why are you standing out here when I have prepared 56 the house and a place for the camels?”
24:32 So Abraham’s servant 57 went to the house and unloaded 58 the camels. Straw and feed were given 59 to the camels, and water was provided so that he and the men who were with him could wash their feet. 60 24:33 When food was served, 61 he said, “I will not eat until I have said what I want to say.” 62 “Tell us,” Laban said. 63
24:34 “I am the servant of Abraham,” he began. 24:35 “The Lord has richly blessed my master and he has become very wealthy. 64 The Lord 65 has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 24:36 My master’s wife Sarah bore a son to him 66 when she was old, 67 and my master 68 has given him everything he owns. 24:37 My master made me swear an oath. He said, ‘You must not acquire a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 24:38 but you must go to the family of my father and to my relatives to find 69 a wife for my son.’ 24:39 But I said to my master, ‘What if the woman does not want to go 70 with me?’ 71 24:40 He answered, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked, 72 will send his angel with you. He will make your journey a success and you will find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. 24:41 You will be free from your oath 73 if you go to my relatives and they will not give her to you. Then you will be free from your oath.’ 24:42 When I came to the spring today, I prayed, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you have decided to make my journey successful, 74 may events unfold as follows: 75 24:43 Here I am, standing by the spring. 76 When 77 the young woman goes out to draw water, I’ll say, “Give me a little water to drink from your jug.” 24:44 Then she will reply to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too.” May that woman be the one whom the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
24:45 “Before I finished praying in my heart, 78 along came Rebekah 79 with her water jug on her shoulder! She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 24:46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ So I drank, and she also gave the camels water. 24:47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘The daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to Nahor.’ 80 I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 24:48 Then I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right path to find the granddaughter 81 of my master’s brother for his son. 24:49 Now, if you will show faithful love to my master, tell me. But if not, tell me as well, so that I may go on my way.” 82
24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “This is the Lord’s doing. 83 Our wishes are of no concern. 84 24:51 Rebekah stands here before you. Take her and go so that she may become 85 the wife of your master’s son, just as the Lord has decided.” 86
24:52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 24:53 Then he 87 brought out gold, silver jewelry, and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave valuable gifts to her brother and to her mother. 24:54 After this, he and the men who were with him ate a meal and stayed there overnight. 88
When they got up in the morning, he said, “Let me leave now so I can return to my master.” 89 24:55 But Rebekah’s 90 brother and her mother replied, “Let the girl stay with us a few more days, perhaps ten. Then she can go.” 24:56 But he said to them, “Don’t detain me – the Lord 91 has granted me success on my journey. Let me leave now so I may return 92 to my master.” 24:57 Then they said, “We’ll call the girl and find out what she wants to do.” 93 24:58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Do you want 94 to go with this man?” She replied, “I want to go.”
“Our sister, may you become the mother 96 of thousands of ten thousands!
May your descendants possess the strongholds 97 of their enemies.”
24:62 Now 100 Isaac came from 101 Beer Lahai Roi, 102 for 103 he was living in the Negev. 104 24:63 He 105 went out to relax 106 in the field in the early evening. 107 Then he looked up 108 and saw that 109 there were camels approaching. 24:64 Rebekah looked up 110 and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 24:65 and asked 111 Abraham’s servant, 112 “Who is that man walking in the field toward us?” “That is my master,” the servant replied. 113 So she took her veil and covered herself.
24:66 The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 24:67 Then Isaac brought Rebekah 114 into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took her 115 as his wife and loved her. 116 So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. 117
[24:2] 2 sn Put your hand under my thigh. The taking of this oath had to do with the sanctity of the family and the continuation of the family line. See D. R. Freedman, “Put Your Hand Under My Thigh – the Patriarchal Oath,” BAR 2 (1976): 2-4, 42.
[24:10] sn Aram Naharaim means in Hebrew “Aram of the Two Rivers,” a region in northern Mesopotamia.
[24:12] 23 tn Heb “make it happen before me today.” Although a number of English translations understand this as a request for success in the task (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV) it is more likely that the servant is requesting an omen or sign from God (v. 14).
[24:14] 27 sn I will also give your camels water. It would be an enormous test for a young woman to water ten camels. The idea is that such a woman would not only be industrious but hospitable and generous.
[24:14] 28 tn Heb “And let the young woman to whom I say, ‘Lower your jar that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink and I will also give your camels water,’ – her you have appointed for your servant, for Isaac, and by it I will know that you have acted in faithfulness with my master.”
[24:15] 29 tn Heb “Look, Rebekah was coming out!” Using the participle introduced with הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator dramatically transports the audience back into the event and invites them to see Rebekah through the servant’s eyes.
[24:15] 30 tn Heb “Look, Rebekah was coming out – [she] who was born to Bethuel, the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, the brother of Abraham – and her jug [was] on her shoulder.” The order of the clauses has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[24:16] 31 tn Heb “And the young woman was very good of appearance, a virgin, and a man she had not known.” Some argue that the Hebrew noun translated “virgin” (בְּתוּלָה, bÿtulah) is better understood in a general sense, “young woman” (see Joel 1:8, where the word appears to refer to one who is married). In this case the circumstantial clause (“and a man she had not known”) would be restrictive, rather than descriptive. If the term actually means “virgin,” one wonders why the circumstantial clause is necessary (see Judg 21:12 as well). Perhaps the repetition emphasizes her sexual purity as a prerequisite for her role as the mother of the covenant community.
[24:31] 55 sn Laban’s obsession with wealth is apparent; to him it represents how one is blessed by the
[24:32] 58 tn Some translations (e.g., NEB, NASB, NRSV) understand Laban to be the subject of this and the following verbs or take the subject of this and the following verbs as indefinite (referring to an unnamed servant; e.g., NAB, NIV).
[24:33] tn Heb “and he said, ‘Speak.’” The referent (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
[24:40] 72 tn The verb is the Hitpael of הָלַךְ (halakh), meaning “live one’s life” (see Gen 17:1). The statement may simply refer to serving the
[24:41] 73 tn Heb “my oath” (twice in this verse). From the Hebrew perspective the oath belonged to the person to whom it was sworn (Abraham), although in contemporary English an oath is typically viewed as belonging to the person who swears it (the servant).
[24:48] 81 tn Heb “daughter.” Rebekah was actually the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. One can either translate the Hebrew term בַּת (bat) as “daughter,” in which case the term אָח (’akh) must be translated more generally as “relative” rather than “brother” (cf. NASB, NRSV) or one can translate בַּת as “granddaughter,” in which case אָח may be translated “brother” (cf. NIV).
[24:60] 97 tn Heb “gate,” which here stands for a walled city. In an ancient Near Eastern city the gate complex was the main area of defense (hence the translation “stronghold”). A similar phrase occurs in Gen 22:17.
[24:62] sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.