This chapter is about Isaac & Rebekah. This chapter is a bit long. It’s about how Isaac & Rebekah met, getting engaged, & married. And Isaac finding comfort after Sarah’s (his mom’s) death. It’s also another case of incest. Isaac & Rebekah are 1st cousins. It’d be like marrying your aunt/uncle’s child. Yeah, this happens. I hope you enjoy the read.
Now at this point, Abraham is well advanced in years. Abraham says to his chief servant, the one whose in charge of everything in his household, “Put your hand under my thigh. (Back in those days, putting your hand under someone’s thigh was like putting your hand up in court. Or like a pinky promise.) I want you to swear to the God of heaven & the God of earth, that you’ll find a wife for Isaac. But not from the daughters of the Canaanites, go into the land of my father. Go there & find a wife for Isaac.”
The servant asks Abraham, “What if the woman isn’t willing to come with me? Shall I take Isaac there, to the land of your father?” Abraham is TOTALLY against this idea because of the covenant that God made with him. That the land of the Canaanites would be Abraham’s descendants’ land & Abraham was afraid that Isaac might now come back. Abraham told his servant that an angel of God would go before the servant so that he could get Isaac a wife. “If the woman is unwilling to come with you, you are free from your promise to get Isaac a wife.” So the servant swore that he’d do it.
So the servant took 10 of Abraham’s camels & left. Without Abraham or Isaac. He took with him all kinds of good things that Abraham had. (I feel like this is kinda like: “Hey, look at what this guy’s gonna get as an inheritance! Come to the dark side, little girl. We’ve got puppies…” I’m kidding.) He set out for Aram Naharaim (in northwest Mesopotamia) & made his way to the town of Nahor. He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town. It was dusk, the time the women went out & drew up water.
The servant prayed to (it says) Abraham’s God. Pretty much telling God God what should happen. “If this, this, & this happens then I’ll know it’s you.” Before he finishes praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. Rebekah was the daughter of Milcah & Nahor, Abraham’s brother & sister-in-law. She was very beautiful, a virgin (it was EXTREMELY important that a female be a virgin. It was a deal-breaker. Like if a girl wasn’t a virgin, there could be an international incident.). She went down to well, filled the jar, & came up again.
The servant went to meet Rebekah. He asks her for a drink of water. Rebekah gives him a drink. She also watered his camels. The servant watched Rebekah closely to see if she was the one. When the camels were done drinking, the servant took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka (1/5 ounce) & 2 gold bracelets weighing 10 shekels (about 4 ounces). Then he asks, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me there’s room at your dad’s place, so I can spend the night.”
Rebekah says that she’s Nahor’s daughter. And that they’ve got plenty of room for him to spend the night. The servant bows down & worshiped God. Rebekah ran & told everybody in her mother’s household. (I wonder why it’s her mother’s household & not her dad.)
Rebekah had a brother named Laban (we’ll see him again later.). As soon as he saw the nose ring & bracelets on his sister’s arms & heard what Rebekah said, Laban went out to meet the meet the servant of Abraham. Laban told him to come to the house. So the servant went to the house & had the camels unloaded. Food was given to the camels & water to the servants men to wash their feet. Then food was given to the men. The servant says, “I won’t eat until I tell you what I have to say.” Laban says “Go ahead.” The servant goes into telling the story of what Abraham said. Plus he made it even better by saying that Abraham is wealthy. And that Isaac is entitled to the inheritance.
Laban (Abraham’s great-nephew) & Bethuel (Abraham’s nephew) say “This is from God. Go ahead & take Rebekah. Let her become the wife of your master’s son.” When Abraham’s servant heard this, he bowed down to the ground before God. Then the servant brought out gold & silver jewelry & articles of clothing, he gave them to Rebekah. He also gave costly gifts to her brother & mother. (This is kind of like a reverse dowry. Usually the woman’s family give the man something. She comes into the marriage with something.) Then the servant & his men ate, drank, & spent the night there.
The next morning, the servant says, “Send me back to my master.” Laban & Milcah say, “Let Rebekah stay with us 10 days or so. Then you can go.” The servant said, “Don’t detain me. For God has granted me success. Send me on my way, so I can go back to my master.” Laban & Milcah say, “Let’s ask Rebekah & ask her about it.” Rebekah said that she’d go with them. So they went with their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse & Abraham’s servant & his men. They blessed Rebekah. Rebekah & her maids got ready & mounted their camels. They left with the servant.
Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi (who knows where this is!), for he was living in the Negev. He went out to the field one evening to meditate. He looked up & saw the camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up & saw Isaac. She got down from her camel & asked the servant who Isaac was. The servant said, “He’s my master.” Rebekah took her veil & covered herself.
The servant told Isaac what he’d all done. Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent of his mother Sarah, & he married Rebekah. (Ok. Sarah’s tent pretty much means the women’s tent.) So she became his wife & he loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.