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ISAAC'S BRIDE FROM HIS FATHER'S FAMILY
Only after Sarah has died does Isaac receive a wife. When Israel, after the death of the Lord Jesus, was set aside as the vessel of God's testimony in the world, then God the Father (typified by Abraham) sent the Spirit of God (symbolized by the servant) to obtain a wife for the Lord Jesus, of whom Isaac is a picture.
Abraham required his servant to swear by the God of heaven and earth that he would not take a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites, but one from Abraham's own family. The bride of Christ, the Church, is not from the ungodly, Satan-energized world, but from the family of faith. On the other hand, the servant is told not to think of taking Isaac back to Mesopotamia: rather he must take the bride to Isaac (v.6). Abraham had confidence that the Lord God of heaven would send an angel before the servant to guide him clearly in regard to the choice of Isaac's wife (v.7).
This reminds us that Christ, having been raised from among the dead and exalted in the heavens today, will not return to earth during the dispensation of grace, but will have a bride whom He associates with Himself in a heavenly inheritance.
The willingness of the woman to travel to Isaac's country was a vital matter. If she were not willing, then the servant was freed from his oath (v.8). What a lesson concerning the Church of God! There is no demand of law to be placed upon her. She is to be influenced only by the pure grace of God which produces a willing response of devotion that is ready to leave natural relationships behind in favor of a living relationship with the Lord Jesus in heavenly places.
The servant then took the long journey. Having ten camels, it is evident that there were other men traveling with him (v.32), but nothing is said of this at first because the emphasis is to be placed on the typical significance of this one man picturing the Spirit of God. In fact, verse 10 tells us that "all the treasure of his master was under his hand" (JND). Also, this servant told Laban that Abraham had given all that he had to Isaac (v.36). How beautifully these things remind us of the word of the Lord Jesus in John 16:13-15: "When He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak: and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you." All the Father's wealth is equally the wealth of the Son, and all is in the hand of the Spirit of God to be communicated in grace to the Church of God today. How wonderful is the liberality of the grace of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Arriving in the area of the city of Nahor, the servant found a well where he gave his camels a rest, at evening when it was customary for the women to come to draw water. The evidence of the Lord's leading him there is beautiful. However, he prays to the Lord God of Abraham, that He will show mercy to his master by sending a woman to the well who will demonstrate a character of unselfish kindness. He had evidently no vessel with which to draw water himself, or else he deliberately decided not to do this himself in order that he might depend fully upon the guidance of God.
He asks the Lord that, when he requests a drink of water from a young woman who comes to draw water, she would not only give him his request, but would offer to draw water also for his ten camels (v.14). This would be no small task, for camels consume a great amount of water. No ordinary young lady would be willing to take on a job like this without any promise of enumeration. But no ordinary young lady was to be satisfactory for Isaac, just as today, a Christian man should be sure that his intended wife is a willing hearted believer.
God answered the prayer of the servant immediately. Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, grand-daughter of Nahor, came to draw water. Of course the servant did not know who she was, but we are told she was beautiful and unattached. He ran to meet her as she came from the well with her pitcher of water, and courteously asked for a drink.
She did not hesitate, but gladly complied (v.18). Then she told him she would draw water for his camels also. This was more than an offer, but a decision that she would do so, and she quickly began this work with such willingness that the servant was amazed (v.21), wondering if his mission would prove as successful as these first impressions indicated.
She was far more than repaid for her kindness, for the servant gave her a ring (evidently for her nose) and two bracelets for her wrists, all of gold. The Lord Himself loves to reward faithful diligence, and this is specially seen in the present dispensation of His grace. There is no suggestion of a bargaining arrangement, as there was later in the case of Jacob's desiring Rachel as a wife, and offering to pay Laban for her (Genesis 19:18). The results at the time were painful, but not so in this case.
The servant then asked Rebekah whose daughter she was, and if there was room in her father's house for him to lodge. When Rebekah told him her parentage, the servant of course would recognize their relationship to Abraham (v.24). She also assured him that they had provision for his camels as well as room for lodging.
Before meeting her brother Laban, however, the servant bowed his head to worship the Lord. It is good to see this thankful appreciation of the grace of God in His directing him. His words are worth quoting: "Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren" (v.27). Do we not see in this picture (though in measure veiled) of the fact that when one seeks honestly the Lord's way, He will lead him to the fellowship of those who are His own brethren?
Rebekah ran to bring to her household the news of the visitor having come, and then brought her brother Laban, also running, to the well (v.29). He gives the servant a hearty invitation, calling him "blessed of the Lord," telling him he has prepared everything for him and his camels (v.31). Then the needs of the camels were fully met, and the servant and other men with him were given water to wash their feet, thus being refreshed after a long journey.
When food was provided for them, however, the servant refused to eat until he had told them why he had been sent. The importance of his mission was his first consideration. He was Abraham's servant, he tells them, and reports that the Lord had greatly blessed Abraham with flocks and herds and silver and gold, with menservants and maidservants, camels and donkeys.
But more importantly, the Lord had given Abraham a son by Sarah in his old age and his son was heir to all Abraham's possessions. The servant reports what Abraham had told him, that he was not to take a wife for Isaac from among the Canaanites, but to go to Abraham's relatives to find a wife for him. He recounts the history of his coming to the well, and his contact with Rebekah, with her willingness to draw water for his camels and themselves, then also his worshiping the Lord in having his prayer so strikingly answered (vs.42-48).
The servant asks the pertinent question as to whether they "will deal kindly and truly" with his master. He desires an immediate answer, for if not, he would go elsewhere. It is good that Laban and Bethuel perceived that this whole matter had been ordered by the Lord (v.50), and they realize that they must not interfere with the Lord's working. They are willing to give Rebekah up without question. Later Laban was ready to bargain with Jacob when Jacob desired Laban's daughter, but there is no suggestion of any such legal agreement in the case of Rebekah, but rather a true representation of the proper character of marriage. For marriage is a relationship of grace. "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor (grace) from the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22). To pay for a wife therefore is an insult to her and contrary to God's word.
The servant, in having the approval of Laban and Bethuel, again bowed himself in worship to the Lord (v.52). Then he brought forth jewels of silver and of gold, and clothing, giving them to Rebekah, but giving gifts also to her mother and brother (v.52). this is nothing like payment: it is free hearted giving.
Then they were able to enjoy sweet fellowship together as they ate their evening meal. Remaining only overnight, the servant, in the true character of a servant, was purposed to return to his master. Since his mission was accomplished, then it was time to return (v.54). However, her brother and her mother urged that they should wait for some days, at least ten, for they no doubt wanted some time to accustom themselves to the thought of the young lady leaving home (v.55).
This was not acceptable to the servant: he insisted that they should leave that day. Let us remember that he is a type of the Spirit of God, who acts with positive decision, and produces firm decision in the hearts of those whom He influences. This is further illustrated by the unhesitating reply of Rebekah when she is asked, "Will you go with this man?" She promptly answers, "I will go" (v.58). Such is the response that the grace of God brings forth from the hearts of those who are drawn to the blessed person of the Lord Jesus. Natural relationships fade into the background when Christ becomes the Object of the heart. He must have first place.
Rebekah takes her nurse with her, but they had little time to pack their suitcases. She would not need the possessions she owned in Haran, for Isaac would certainly supply her with all she needed and much more. The things we leave behind in coming to Christ are nothing compared to the riches of the spiritual blessings that He has laid up for us. May we be glad to give up anything, if it is really for the sake of the Lord Jesus.
Rebekah leaves home with the blessings of her family, desiring that she might be the mother of thousands of millions (v.60). No doubt God put this language into their mouths, for it has been truly prophetic, just as is the second expression, "may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them." Israel has been hated by many nations, but will take over authority in the gates of their enemies, the very place of governmental judgment.
Nothing is said of the length of the journey nor of how many days it took: faith could bear this without complaint. So too, when our anticipation of seeing our heavenly Bridegroom is fresh and real in our hearts, we shall not complain about our present circumstances.
As Isaac went out to a field to meditate in the evening, he was greeted by the sight of a procession of camels returning (v.63). It may be that thoughts of his obtaining a wife were the chief subject of his meditation, but it is a faint picture of the fact that the Lord Jesus Himself will come to meet His bride, the church, as she nears the end of her journey on earth. Of course Rebekah needed to be told who Isaac was, then she covered herself with veil (v.65). She was not anxious to display her beauty at the first moment. We too shall be glad to be as it were veiled when we meet our Lord, for we shall want Him to be the real Object of attraction.
The servant give the report of his mission to Isaac, and Isaac receives Rebekah as his wife. There is no mention of any marriage ceremony, for at that time it was not necessary to satisfy government as to the act of marriage. There was no doubt of marriage having taken place, however. Isaac took Rebekah into his mother's tent. Typically this tell us that, since Israel has been set aside as God's testimony on earth, the church of God has taken her place in this capacity. Isaac loved Rebekah. This is the second mention of love in the Bible. The first was the love of Abraham for his son (Genesis 22:2), typical of God the Father's love of His Son. The love of Isaac for Rebekah is typical of the love of Christ toward the assembly, the church of God. It is beautiful to remark the truth symbolized also in Isaac's being comforted after his mother's death. Since the godly remnant of Israel has passed off the scene, the Lord Jesus now finds comfort in His bride, the church.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Genesis 24". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany