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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 24

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1 ABRAHAM was by now a very old man, and the LORD had blessed him in all that he did. 2Abraham said to the servant who had been longest in his service and was in charge of all he owned, ‘Give me your solemn oath a 24:2 Give … oath: lit. Put your hand under my thigh. : 3I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the women of the Canaanites among whom I am living. 4You must go to my own country and to my own kindred to find a wife for my son Isaac.’ 5‘What if the woman is unwilling to come with me to this country?’ the servant asked. ‘Must I take your son back to the land you came from?’ 6Abraham said to him, ‘On no account are you to take my son back there. 7The LORD the God of heaven who took me from my father's house and the land of my birth, the LORD who swore to me that he would give this land to my descendants—he will send his angel before you, and you will take a wife from there for my son. 8If the woman is unwilling to come with you, then you will be released from your oath to me; only you must not take my son back there.’ 9The servant then put his hand under his master Abraham's thigh and swore that oath.

10The servant chose ten camels from his master's herds and, with all kinds of gifts from his master, he went to Aram-naharaim, to the town where Nahor lived. 11Towards evening, the time when the women go out to draw water, he made the camels kneel down by the well outside the town. 12‘LORD God of my master Abraham,’ he said, ‘give me good fortune this day; keep faith with my master Abraham. 13Here I am by the spring, as the women of the town come out to draw water. 14I shall say to a girl, “Please lower your jar so that I may drink”; and if she answers, “Drink, and I shall water your camels also,” let that be the girl whom you intend for your servant Isaac. In this way I shall know that you have kept faith with my master.’

15Before he had finished praying, he saw Rebecca coming out with her water-jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor. 16The girl was very beautiful and a virgin guiltless of intercourse with any man. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up again. 17Abraham's servant hurried to meet her and said, ‘Will you give me a little water from your jar?’ 18‘Please drink, sir,’ she answered, and at once lowered her jar on to her hand to let him drink. 19When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, ‘I shall draw water for your camels also until they have had enough.’ 20She quickly emptied her jar into the water trough, and then hurrying again to the well she drew water and watered all the camels.

21The man was watching quietly to see whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful, 22and when the camels had finished drinking, he took a gold nose-ring weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels, also of gold. 23‘Tell me, please, whose daughter you are,’ he said. ‘Is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?’ 24She answered, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor and Milcah; 25we have plenty of straw and fodder and also room for you to spend the night.’ 26So the man bowed down and prostrated himself before the LORD 27and said, ‘Blessed be the LORD the God of my master Abraham. His faithfulness to my master has been constant and unfailing, for he has guided me to the house of my master's kinsman.’

28The girl ran to her mother's house and told them what had happened. 2930Rebecca had a brother named Laban, and, when he saw the nose-ring, and also the bracelets on his sister's wrists, and heard his sister Rebecca's account of what the man had said to her, he hurried out to the spring. When he got there he found the man still standing by the camels. 31‘Come in,’ he said, ‘you whom the LORD has blessed. Why are you staying out here? I have prepared the house and there is a place for the camels.’ 32The man went into the house, while the camels were unloaded and provided with straw and fodder, and water was brought for him and his men to bathe their feet. 33But when food was set before him, he protested, ‘I will not eat until I have delivered my message.’ Laban said, ‘Let us hear it.’

34‘I am Abraham's servant,’ he answered. 35‘The LORD has greatly blessed my master, and he has become a wealthy man: the LORD has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. 36My master's wife Sarah in her old age bore him a son, to whom he has assigned all that he has. 37My master made me swear an oath, saying, “You must not take a wife for my son from the women of the Canaanites in whose land I am living; 38but go to my father's home, to my family, to get a wife for him.” 39I asked, “What if the woman will not come with me?” 40He answered, “The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and make your journey successful. You are to take a wife for my son from my family and from my father's house; 41then you will be released from the charge I have laid upon you. But if, when you come to my family, they refuse to give her to you, you will likewise be released from the charge.”

42‘Today when I came to the spring, I prayed, “LORD God of my master Abraham, if you will make my journey successful, let it turn out in this way: 43here I am by the spring; when a young woman comes out to draw water, I shall say to her, ‘Give me a little water from your jar to drink.’ 44If she answers, ‘Yes, do drink, and I shall draw water for your camels as well,’ she is the woman whom the LORD intends for my master's son.” 45Before I had finished praying, I saw Rebecca coming out with her water-jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, “Will you please give me a drink?” 46At once she lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, “Drink; and I shall also water your camels.” So I drank, and she also gave the camels water. 47I asked her whose daughter she was, and she said, “I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor and Milcah.” Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her wrists, 48and I bowed low in worship before the LORD. I blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right road to take my master's niece for his son. 49Now tell me if you mean to deal loyally and faithfully with my master. If not, say so, and I shall turn elsewhere.’

50Laban and Bethuel replied, ‘Since this is from the LORD, we can say nothing for or against it. 51Here is Rebecca; take her and go. She shall be the wife of your master's son, as the LORD has decreed.’ 52When Abraham's servant heard what they said, he prostrated himself on the ground before the LORD. 53Then he brought out silver and gold ornaments, and articles of clothing, and gave them to Rebecca, and he gave costly gifts to her brother and her mother. 54He and his men then ate and drank and spent the night there.

When they rose in the morning, Abraham's servant said, ‘Give me leave to go back to my master.’ 55Rebecca's brother and her mother replied, ‘Let the girl stay with us for a few days, say ten days, and then she can go.’ 56But he said to them, ‘Do not detain me, for it is the LORD who has granted me success. Give me leave to go back to my master.’ 57They said, ‘Let us call the girl and see what she says.’ 58They called Rebecca and asked her if she would go with the man, and she answered, ‘Yes, I will go.’ 59So they let their sister Rebecca and her maid go with Abraham's servant and his men. 60They blessed Rebecca and said to her:

‘You are our sister, may you be the mother of many children; may your sons possess the cities of their enemies.’

61Rebecca and her companions mounted their camels to follow the man. So the servant took Rebecca and set out.

62Isaac meanwhile had moved on as far as Beer-lahai-roi and was living in the Negeb. 63One evening when he had gone out into the open country hoping to meet them b 24:63 hoping to meet them: Heb. uncertain. , he looked and saw camels approaching. 64When Rebecca saw Isaac, she dismounted from her camel, 65saying to the servant, ‘Who is that man walking across the open country towards us?’ When the servant answered, ‘It is my master,’ she took her veil and covered herself. 66The servant related to Isaac all that had happened. 67Isaac conducted her into the tent c 24:67 into the tent: prob. rdg; Heb. adds Sarah his mother. and took her as his wife. So she became his wife, and he loved her and was consoled for the death of his mother.

Notes:

a 24:2 Give … oath: lit. Put your hand under my thigh.

b 24:63 hoping to meet them: Heb. uncertain.

c 24:67 into the tent: prob. rdg; Heb. adds Sarah his mother.

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