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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Genesis 24

Verse 2

Servant. Eliezer, or Damascus, whom he had once intended for his heir, chap. xv. 2. (Haydock) --- Under, &c. either to shew their subjection, (Sa.) or their faith in Christ, who should be born of Abraham, (St. Jerome, ep. 140) or to testify that their oath shall be no less binding than the covenant of circumcision. For this last reason, the Jews still observe the custom of sitting upon the hand of the person who takes an oath. (Menochius) See chap. xlvii. 29, where Jacob imitates the action of his grand-father. These two patriarchs, progenitors of Christ are the only ones in Scripture whom we find practising it; whence St. Augustine and St. Ambrose conclude, that it had a reference to the mysterious birth or our Redeemer. (Bonfrere.)

Verse 4

Country. Huran, where Abraham had dwelt with Thare, &c. There Nachor's family still resided, and had more respect for the true God than the Chanaanites, (Haydock) though they gave way to some sort of idolatry. (Menochius) --- Hence Abraham was in hopes that a partner worthy of Isaac might be found among his relations, better than among those devoted nations; and thus he has left an instruction to all parents, to be solicitous for the real welfare of their children; and to dissuade them earnestly from marrying with infidels; a thing which God forbade in the old law, as the Church still does in the new. (Haydock)

Verse 5

If the woman. Thus he shews his religious respect for an oath; and will not depend on his own explanation of the sense of it. (Calmet)

Verse 7

He will send his angel before thee. This shews that the Hebrews believed that God gave them guardian angels for their protection. (Challoner) --- Angel. A proof of the antiquity of our belief respecting angel guardians. (Calmet)

Verse 14

By this. He chose a mark which would manifest the kindness and humility of the maid, who would be a fit match for the pious Isaac. This was no vain observation. God heard his fervent prayer. (St. Chrysostom) (Calmet) --- It is sometimes lawful to ask a sign or miracle of God, (Acts i. 24; iv. 30; 1 Kings xiv, &c.,) but we must carefully avoid whatever the Church disapproves. (St. Augustine de Gen. ii. 17; xii. 22.) (Worthington)

Verse 21

To know, though he was now almost convinced, that this obliging virgin was the person of whom he was in quest; and hence he proceeds to make her presents of great value. (Haydock)

Verse 27

Mercy and truth: or a real kindness, so often mentioned in the Psalms. (Calmet)

Verse 41

Curse, which always attends the person who does not endeavour to comply with a lawful oath. (Haydock) --- The Hebrews commonly added in this sense, May God do these things to me, and still more, if I prove false. (Menochius) --- In this sense, Abraham's steward gives the meaning of his master, as he had hitherto repeated his very words at full length. This perfectly agrees with the style of the heroic ages; such as we find expressed in the poems of Homer, the most ancient work of any heathen author. The account which he gives of the noble simplicity of those ages, when the ladies went for water, and princes prepared the entertainments for their guests, cannot fail to strike us, when we compare the works of that admired author with the inspired writings. (Haydock)

Verse 49

Left, in quest of some other lady of my master's kindred; as some of Bathuel's brothers might also have children. He was the youngest. (Haydock)

Verse 50

Laban is placed before his father, having perhaps the administration of affairs in Bathuel's old age; and he had first introduced the stranger. (Menochius)

Verse 53

Present. Thus ratifying what he had already done, (ver. 22,) and obtaining full consent, both of the virgin, and of her father and brother.

Verse 54

Morning. He loses no time to afford comfort to his masters, and to give proof that he was not esteemed by them without reason.

Verse 57

Let us call the maid, and ask her will. Not as to her marriage, as she had already consented, but of her quitting her parents and going to her husband. (Challoner)

Verse 58

I will go, without delay, being well convinced that the good steward was directed by God. Hence she was guilty of no imprudence or levity, in yielding herself up to the divine will, and consenting so readily to the proposed marriage.

Verse 62

The well of Agar, not far from Bersabee.

Verse 63

To meditate on the obligations of the state on which he was about to enter, and on other pious subjects, free from noise and distraction. (Haydock) --- In profane authors, the word used by the Septuagint means to talk about trifles, &c. (Calmet) --- But the known piety of Isaac, and the authority of that version, forbid that we should take it here in that sense. (Haydock)

Verse 65

Cloak, or summer veil, covering the whole body, and having an opening only for the eyes; such as the Eastern ladies use. St. Jerome in Isai. iii, Rebecca does this out of modesty. (Haydock) --- She prefigures the Gentiles, whom Jesus calls by his servants laden with his gifts, to become his spouse, or his Church, (Calmet) at the fountain of baptism. He adorns her with the ear-rings of obedience, and the bracelets of good works. (Du Hamel)

Verse 67

Mother's death, which happened about three years before. (Menochius) --- Isaac was now forty years old, and yet he does not pretend to take a wife for himself; leaving the choice to his good father, and to God. (Du Hamel)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Genesis 24". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.