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Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the Bible

Genesis 24

Genesis 24:0

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATION

NASBNKJVNRSVTEVNJB (FOLLOWS MT)
A Bride for IsaacA Bride for IsaacFinding a Wife for IsaacA Wife for IsaacThe Marriage of Isaac
Genesis 24:1-9Genesis 24:1-9Genesis 24:1-9Genesis 24:1-4Genesis 24:1-9
Genesis 24:5
Genesis 24:6-9
Genesis 24:10-14Genesis 24:10-14Genesis 24:10-14Genesis 24:10-14Genesis 24:10-14
Rebekah is Chosen
Genesis 24:15-21Genesis 24:15-21Genesis 24:15-21Genesis 24:15-17Genesis 24:15-21
Genesis 24:18-21
Genesis 24:22-27Genesis 24:22-28Genesis 24:22-27Genesis 24:22-23Genesis 24:22-27
Genesis 24:24-25
Genesis 24:26-27
Genesis 24:28-41 Genesis 24:28-33Genesis 24:28-31Genesis 24:28-32
Genesis 24:29-31
Genesis 24:32-41 Genesis 24:32-33a
Genesis 24:33bGenesis 24:33-49
Genesis 24:34-41Genesis 24:34-41
Genesis 24:42-44Genesis 24:42-44Genesis 24:42-44Genesis 24:42-49
Genesis 24:45-49Genesis 24:45-49Genesis 24:45-49
Genesis 24:50-51Genesis 24:50-51Genesis 24:50-51Genesis 24:50-53Genesis 24:50-53
Genesis 24:52-60(vv. Genesis 24:60)Genesis 24:52-61(vv. Genesis 24:60)
Genesis 24:52-61(vv. Genesis 24:60)
Genesis 24:54Genesis 24:54-61(vv. Genesis 24:60)
Genesis 24:55
Genesis 24:56
Genesis 24:57-58a
Genesis 24:58b
Genesis 24:59-61(vv. Genesis 24:60)
Isaac Marries RebekahGenesis 24:61-67
Genesis 24:62-67 Genesis 24:62-67Genesis 24:62-65aGenesis 24:62-67
Genesis 24:65b
Genesis 24:66-67

READING CYCLE THREE (see Guide to Good Bible Reading)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:1-9 1Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way. 2Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, "Please place your hand under my thigh, 3and I will make you swear by the LORD , the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, 4but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac." 5The servant said to him, "Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?" 6Then Abraham said to him, "Beware that you do not take my son back there! 7"The LORD , the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, 'To your descendants I will give this land,' He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there. 8But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there." 9So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.

Genesis 24:1 "Now Abraham was old, advanced in age" When one compares Genesis 25:20, which says that Isaac was forty years old at his marriage to Rebekah, with Genesis 21:5, which says that Abraham was 100 years old at the birth of Isaac, then it seems that Abraham was 140 years old at the beginning of chapter 24. He lived to be 175 (cf. Genesis 25:7).

"and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way" See a complete listing of these blessings at Genesis 24:35.

Genesis 24:2 "Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he owned" The ADJECTIVE "oldest" (BDB 278, from the NOUN "beard") can mean a person of authority, not necessarily the oldest in age (cf. Genesis 50:7; Isaiah 3:2). Many commentators assume that this faithful servant is Eliezer of Damascus, mentioned in Genesis 15:2. The fact that he was securing a wife for Isaac shows his unselfish nature in connection with the inheritance rights. As a matter of fact this is one of the most godly, beautiful, and faithful supporting actors mentioned in the Bible.

"please place your hand under my thigh" The VERB "place" (BDB 962, KB 1321, Qal IMPERATIVE) is an important cultural command related to the oath of Genesis 24:3 ("swear," BDB 989, KB 1396, Hiphil IMPERFECT used in a COHORTATIVE sense).

This particular cultural act is mentioned only here and in Genesis 47:29. There have been several theories as to its exact purpose.

1. Since the thigh represents the symbol of a man's descendants (BDB 437,1,b, cf. Genesis 46:26; Exodus 1:5; Judges 8:30), this may refer to the genital organs. If this is true it seems to refer to circumcision, which is the sign of YHWH's covenant (cf. Genesis 24:3). This is the way that this verse is interpreted by the Targum of Jonathan and Rashi.

2. It is conceded that this refers to descendants and therefore, Jerome, Augustine, and Luther all say that it refers to the ultimate descendant of Abraham, the Messiah.

3. Some see it as referring to the lordship of Abraham to this particular administrator for this important task of finding a wife for Isaac (cf. Aben Ezra and Calvin).

4. It may reflect a cultural curse oath of sterility if violated.

Genesis 24:3 "I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth" There has been much discussion among commentators whether Abraham was a true monotheist or simply a henotheist (someone who had only one god himself, but did not deny the existence of other gods). Because of phrases like this, I believe that Abraham was a monotheist. Most scholars assume that full-blown monotheism, in a philosophical sense, did not develop until the 8th century Prophets (see Special Topic: Monotheism).

"you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites" This is probably because of the prophecy of Genesis 15:13-16 or Genesis 9:25-27 (also note Exodus 34:15-16 and Deuteronomy 7:3-6). Abraham had met several godly men who were Canaanites.

1. the Amorite mentioned in Genesis 14:0; Genesis 13:0

2. Melchizedek, mentioned in Genesis 14:18

3. Abimelech, mentioned in Genesis 20:0.

This shows that the ultimate degradation of the Amorite was not yet complete at this stage in history.

Genesis 24:4 "go to my country and my relatives" This seems to refer to Ur of the Chaldees and the family of Nahor mentioned in Genesis 11:27-31.

Genesis 24:5 "suppose the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land" Apparently, the servant was concerned with the specific stipulations that Abraham had put in his request. Abraham was concerned that Isaac have a wife who (1) was willing, by faith, to leave her family, as he had to leave his family and (2) knew YHWH, their God.

"should I take your son back to the land from where you came" Verse Genesis 24:5 is an emphatic question (Hiphil INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and Hiphil IMPERFECT VERB of the same root, BDB 996, KB 1427) by the servant and Genesis 24:6 is an emphatic command ("see to it that you do not take," a Niphal IMPERATIVE [BDB 1036, KB 1581] followed by a Hiphil IMPERFECT [BDB 996, KB 1427]of the same VERB used in Genesis 24:5) by Abraham that Isaac is not to return to the land of Abraham's birth. There are two possible reasons: (1) they were still polytheistic or (2) God's promises specifically related to Canaan (cf. Genesis 24:7; Hebrews 11:15; Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15; Genesis 15:18).

Genesis 24:7 "He will send His angel before you" YHWH's angel often speaks and acts to carry out YHWH's will. He is mentioned several times in Genesis (cf. Genesis 16:7; Genesis 21:17; Genesis 22:11; also note Exodus 23:20, Exodus 23:23). See Special Topic: The Angel of the Lord.

Verses 10-14

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:10-14 10Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master's in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. 12He said, "O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham. 13Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water; 14now may it be that the girl to whom I say, 'Please let down your jar so that I may drink,' and who answers, 'Drink, and I will water your camels also' -may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master."

Genesis 24:10 "Then the servant took ten camels" There has been much discussion among historians concerning the date when camels were domesticated. It is true that they were not widely used for commercial purposes (i.e., caravans) until 1200 B.C., but they seem to have been domesticated much earlier for private use.

"Mesopotamia" This is the Hebrew term "Aram-na-harain" (BDB 74 and 625, cf. Deuteronomy 23:4), which seems to mean "Aram of the two rivers." This phrase refers to northern central Mesopotamia.

"the city of Nahor" Nahor (BDB 637, the meaning is uncertain) is the name of Terah, Abraham's father's father (cf. Genesis 11:22, Genesis 11:23, Genesis 11:24, Genesis 11:25; 1 Chronicles 1:26). It is also the name of one of Terah's sons (Genesis 11:26, Genesis 11:27, Genesis 11:29). Apparently, Abraham is telling the servant to return to the city where his brother Nahor lives (Genesis 22:20-24). It may have been known by another name, possibly even Ur of the Chaldees, Abrahams' original home or to the place where many of his family moved, Haran (cf. Genesis 11:31). The NIV Study Bible note mentions that a city by the name Nahor appears in clay tablets found at Mari (p. 41). In this sense "Haran" refers to a district, not just a city in north central Mesopotamia.

Genesis 24:12 "And he said, 'O LORD, the God of my master Abraham'" This is not a disparaging comment on the faith of the servant, but a recognition of the source of the covenant promise (cf. Genesis 24:26). His prayer contains two entreaties.

1. "grant" (lit. "cause to occur"), BDB 899, KB 1137, Hiphil IMPERATIVE

2. "show," BDB 793, KB 889, Qal IMPERATIVE

The term "lovingkindness" is the powerful covenant NOUN חסד (cf. Genesis 19:19; Genesis 20:13; Genesis 21:23; Genesis 24:12, Genesis 24:14, Genesis 24:27, Genesis 24:49; Genesis 32:10; Genesis 39:21; Genesis 40:14; Genesis 47:29). See Special Topic: Lovingkindness (Hesed). This servant was surely addressing in prayer the covenant God of Abraham.

Genesis 24:12, Genesis 24:16 Several characteristics of Rebekah are highlighted.

1. willingness and strength to help, Genesis 24:12 (prayer of Abraham's servant)

2. very beautiful, Genesis 24:16

3. a virgin, Genesis 24:16

4. hospitable, Genesis 24:18-25

Verses 15-21

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:15-21 15Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder. 16The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. 17Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, "Please let me drink a little water from your jar." 18She said, "Drink, my lord"; and she quickly lowered her jar to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19Now when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, "I will draw also for your camels until they have finished drinking." 20So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. 21Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the LORD had made his journey successful or not.

Genesis 24:15 "Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah" This family was mentioned in Genesis 22:20-24. Her father's name, Bethuel, means "man of God" (BDB 143 I), which may show the spiritual nature of this family. It is also significant that the family line comes through Milcah, the true wife, and not a concubine of Nahor, Reumah.

"came out with a jar on her shoulder" This is one point which shows the historicity of the account. Women in Egypt carried the water jars on their heads, but in Mesopotamia they carried it on their hip or shoulder.

Genesis 24:17 "please let me drink" This is a Hiphil IMPERATIVE (BDB 167, KB 196). This matches his prayer of Genesis 24:14.

Genesis 24:18 "Drink" This is a Qal IMPERATIVE (BDB 1059, KB 1667), which also answers his prayer for guidance to the right woman.

Genesis 24:19-20 "I will draw for your camels" This was also part of the servant's prayer of Genesis 24:14. YHWH gave specific guidance to Rebekah. This act on Rebekah's part would have involved a considerable amount of time and energy for ten thirsty camels!

Verses 22-27

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:22-27 22When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold, 23and said, "Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room for us to lodge in your father's house?" 24She said to him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor." 25Again she said to him, "We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to lodge in." 26Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD. 27He said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master's brothers."

Genesis 24:22 "the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold" This gold ring refers to a nose ring (cf. Genesis 24:47 and the Samaritan Pent.). I imagine that a nose ring of a half-shekel would cause one's nose to droop (cf. Proverbs 11:22; Isaiah 3:21; Ezekiel 16:12).

Genesis 24:27

NASB "lovingkindness" NKJV "mercy" NRSV "steadfast love" Peshitta "grace"

This is the Hebrew term hesed (BDB 338, see Special Topic: Lovingkindness, which means "kindness" or "covenant fidelity." It is mentioned quite often in connection with God's activity toward His chosen people. It is used

1. to save one from their enemies

2. to save one from death

3. to turn one toward the Word of God (cf. Psalms 109:26; Psalms 119:41, Psalms 119:76, Psalms 119:88, Psalms 119:124, Psalms 119:149, Psalms 119:159)

4. to forgive sin (cf. Psalms 25:7; Psalms 51:1)

5. for covenant keeping (cf. Deuteronomy 7:9, Deuteronomy 7:12; 1 Kings 8:23; Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 9:32; Daniel 9:4)

6. often to describe the fulness and eternality of God's love and care (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:34, 1 Chronicles 16:41; 2 Chronicles 5:13; 2 Chronicles 7:3, 2 Chronicles 7:6; 2 Chronicles 20:21; Ezra 3:11; Ps. 100:5; 103:17; 106:1; 107:1; 118:1,2,3,4,29; 136:1ff; 138:8)

NASB, NKJV, Peshitta"truth" NRSV“faithfulness" NJB“faithful love"

This is another significant term, "truth," אמת (BDB 54) which often appears in conjunction with the term "lovingkindness." Its original etymology meant "to be firm" or "to be sure" and it came, therefore, to speak of "faithfulness." The Greek equivalent of this is the term Paul uses to describe justification by grace through faith in Romans 4:0 and Galatians 3:0, quoting from Habakkuk 2:4 (remember the NT writers were Hebrew thinkers writing in Koine Greek, see Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith, and Faithfulness in the OT). These terms often appear together (cf. Psalms 25:10; Psalms 40:11; Psalms 57:3; Psalms 61:7; Psalms 85:10; Psalms 89:14; Psalms 115:1).

"the LORD has guided me" The VERB (BDB 634, KB 685, Qal PERFECT) describes God's leadership and guidance for those who trust Him (cf. Psalms 5:8; Psalms 27:11; Psalms 139:24; Isaiah 58:11).

"in the way" This term (BDB 202) describes lifestyle faith in God (cf. Judges 2:22; Psalms 119:1). This OT idiom became the earliest title for the Christian church (i.e., "The Way," cf. Acts 9:2; Acts 18:25, Acts 18:26; Acts 19:9, Acts 19:23; Acts 22:4; Acts 24:14, Acts 24:22; and possibly John 14:6).

Verses 28-41

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:28-41 28Then the girl ran and told her mother's household about these things. 29Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran outside to the man at the spring. 30When he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister's wrists, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, "This is what the man said to me," he went to the man; and behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. 31And he said, "Come in, blessed of the LORD! Why do you stand outside since I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels?" 32So the man entered the house. Then Laban unloaded the camels, and he gave straw and feed to the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33But when food was set before him to eat, he said, "I will not eat until I have told my business." And he said, "Speak on." 34So he said, "I am Abraham's servant. 35The LORD has greatly blessed my master, so that he has become rich; and He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and servants and maids, and camels and donkeys. 36Now Sarah my master's wife bore a son to my master in her old age, and he has given him all that he has. 37My master made me swear, saying, 'You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; 38but you shall go to my father's house and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.' 39I said to my master, 'Suppose the woman does not follow me.' 40He said to me, 'The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives and from my father's house; 41then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my relatives; and if they do not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.'"

Genesis 24:29 "Laban" Rabbinical sources are negative toward Laban, therefore, they interpret Genesis 24:30 to say that he only went out to meet the servant when he saw the gold which he had given to his sister. However, Genesis 24:30 also mentions the family of Abraham, which is another potential reason for Laban's interest. Laban is a difficult person to understand in Scripture because in Genesis 24:31 he uses the term "YHWH," but in Genesis 31:53 he seems to be an idolater and polytheist and implies that there is another god of Nahor.

Genesis 24:32-33 Several expected cultural acts are done for the servant of Abraham by Laban/Laban's servants.

1. unloaded the camels

2. gave the camels food

3. gave water for the servants who accompanied "the servant" to wash their feet

4. fed all of them

Genesis 24:34-41 This repeats the words of Abraham to his servant which are recorded earlier in this chapter.

Genesis 24:36 "Now Sarah my master's wife bore a son to my master in her old age" Apparently this information was given to ease the family's mind about the age of Isaac. Isaac was the son of Abraham, while Rebekah was the granddaughter of Nahor.

Genesis 24:41 "oath" In the first part of this chapter Abraham asked the servant to take an oath (BDB 46). The form of the word used here in Genesis 24:41 also means "curse," which shows the very emphatic nature of Abraham's request.

Verses 42-44

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:42-44 42"So I came today to the spring, and said, 'O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now You will make my journey on which I go successful; 43behold, I am standing by the spring, and may it be that the maiden who comes out to draw, and to whom I say, "Please let me drink a little water from your jar"; 44and she will say to me, "You drink, and I will draw for your camels also"; let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master's son.'"

Genesis 24:43 "the maid" It is interesting that Rebekah is called a virgin in Genesis 24:16, "bethulah" (BDB 143), while in Genesis 24:43 she is called a maiden, "alma" (BDB 761). The translators of the Septuagint translated the term "alma" as "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14 and in this verse. It seems that the terms, culturally, meant the same thing, although "bethulah" specifically means "virgin" and "alma" means "a young woman of marriageable age" who was assumed to be a virgin.

Genesis 24:42-48 This is a repetition of the previous discussion in Genesis 24:11-27.

Verses 45-49

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:45-49 45"Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder, and went down to the spring and drew, and I said to her, 'Please let me drink.' 46She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder, and said, 'Drink, and I will water your camels also'; so I drank, and she watered the camels also. 47Then I asked her, and said, 'Whose daughter are you?' And she said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bore to him'; and I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists. 48And I bowed low and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master's kinsman for his Song of Solomon 4:0; Song of Solomon 4:09So now if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, let me know, that I may turn to the right hand or the left."

Genesis 24:49 The servant asks for a response from Laban. Will he act like Abraham in lovingkindness and truth? If he does not wish to proceed with the marriage bargaining the servant will leave (metaphor, "I may turn to the right hand or left") and try elsewhere.

The verse has three IMPERATIVES.

1. "tell me," BDB 616, KB 665, Hiphil IMPERATIVE

2. "let me know," same VERB repeated

3. "that I may turn," BDB 815, KB 937, Qal IMPERFECT used in a COHORTATIVE sense

Verses 50-51

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:50-51 50Then Laban and Bethuel replied, "The matter comes from the LORD; so we cannot speak to you bad or good. 51Here is Rebekah before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the LORD has spoken."

Genesis 24:50 "then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, 'The matter comes from the LORD, so we cannot speak to you bad or good'" It is unusual that Laban, the brother, is listed before Bethuel, the father. We have learned from the Nuzi Tablets that a brother often took the lead in marriage negotiations. The last phrase of this verse has been greatly misunderstood by many commentators. It seems to be a Hebrew idiom for "YHWH has spoken, what then can we say?" (cf. Genesis 24:51c).

It is surprising that Bethuel is mentioned in Genesis 24:50, but not in Genesis 24:53, Genesis 24:55. Many assume he must have died during this time frame. Maybe Laban's response in Genesis 24:50 is characterized as from himself and Bethuel without the father being present. It is possible that brothers negotiated the marriage of sisters.

Genesis 24:51 There are several commands in response to the servant's recounting the reason he had come and his request for an immediate answer (Genesis 24:49).

1. "take her," BDB 542, KB 534, Qal IMPERATIVE

2. "go," BDB 229, KB 246, Qal IMPERATIVE

3. "let her be the wife," BDB 224, KB 243, Qal JUSSIVE

Notice, Rebekah is not asked about her actions in Genesis 24:28, but she is asked in Genesis 24:57-58, which seems to be a polite gesture since the dowry price is paid in Genesis 24:53. Remember the Bible only summarizes for us what was said and what happened, but we believe the Spirit guided these summaries.

Verses 52-61

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:52-61 52When Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the LORD. 53The servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother. 54Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night. When they arose in the morning, he said, "Send me away to my master." 55But her brother and her mother said, "Let the girl stay with us a few days, say ten; afterward she may go." 56He said to them, "Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master." 57And they said, "We will call the girl and consult her wishes." 58Then they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go." 59Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham's servant and his men. 60They blessed Rebekah and said to her, "May you, our sister, Become thousands of ten thousands, And may your descendants possess The gate of those who hate them." 61Then Rebekah arose with her maids, and they mounted the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.

Genesis 24:52 "he bowed himself to the ground before the LORD" This is the third time that this servant has prayed in public, expressing his faith and thanksgiving to the Lord. This is truly a wonderful biblical character.

Genesis 24:53 In the ancient world wealth was accumulated by having

1. weights of precious metals

2. jewels

3. expensive clothing

4. food stuffs

5. land

6. livestock

Notice the servant brings several of these items, which could be transported easily.

1. articles of silver

2. articles of gold

3. garments

4. precious things

Abraham was a wealthy man. To have a family member become part of his family (i.e., Isaac's wife) was a great honor.

Genesis 24:54 Knowing the importance that was placed on a meal to conclude an agreement or establish a friendship bond, this meal may have been more than just a celebration.

Genesis 24:55 "a few days, say ten" The Samaritan Pentateuch has "a month."

Genesis 24:56 The servant wants to leave immediately. He wants to fulfill his assignment as soon as possible.

1. "send me away to my master," Genesis 24:54, BDB 1018, KB 1511, Piel IMPERATIVE

2. "do not delay me," Genesis 24:56, BDB 29, KB 34, Piel IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense

3. "send me away," same as #1

4. "that I may go to my master," BDB 229, KB 246, Qal COHORTATIVE

Genesis 24:58 "Then they called Rebekah and said to her, 'Will you go with this man?' and she said, 'I will go'" We learn from the Nuzi Tablets that the permission of the girl was required. "I will go" is a Qal COHORTATIVE (BDB 981, KB 1371).

Genesis 24:59 "her nurse" We learn from Genesis 35:8 that her name was "Deborah" and she lived a long time and served Rebekah. The term "nurse" (BDB 413, KB 416, Hiphil PARTICIPLE) is from the VERB "to suck" (BDB 413), this could be literal or a metaphor for a personal helper. From Genesis 24:61 we learn there were other servants.

Genesis 24:60 This farewell poem is very similar to the words of God which are recorded in Genesis 22:17. They request God on her behalf for many descendants and military victories.

Genesis 24:61 The camels were primarily used to carry the dowry and gifts for Rebekah, and on the way home to carry Rebekah, her servants, and their belongings.

Verses 62-67

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Genesis 24:62-67 62Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev. 63Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. 65She said to the servant, "Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?" And the servant said, "He is my master." Then she took her veil and covered herself. 66The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Genesis 24:62 "Beer- lahai-roi" This is a term which means "the well of the living One who sees me" (CONSTRUCT BDB 97 and BDB 91). This was the name given to the well shown to Hagar by the Angel of the Lord in Genesis 16:14.

Genesis 24:63

NASB, NKJV, NRSV, TEV“meditate" NJB, JPSOA"walk"

This is a rare Hebrew word (BDB 1001 I or BDB 962) used only here in the Hebrew Scriptures. Some of the various theories concerning its meaning are:

1. following the Septuagint and the Vulgate, it means "to meditate." There is a very similar term in Hebrew which means "to meditate" (BDB 967, cf. Psalms 105:2; Psalms 119:15, Psalms 119:23)

2. the word can mean "to walk around mumbling to oneself in a depressed state" as Hagar did in this same location (chapter 16)

3. the Targum of Onkelos translates this term "to pray." This third option is followed by the Samaritan Pentateuch, Kimchi, Rashi and Luther.

Genesis 24:64 "dismounted" This is literally "fell" (BDB 656, KB 709, Qal IMPERFECT) It was culturally appropriate and expected for women to dismount from their animal in the presence of men.

Genesis 24:65 "she took her veil and covered herself" This was a sign (1) of respect for Isaac; (2) of betrothal to Isaac; or (3) that she was unmarried.

Genesis 24:67 "Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent" This was important because Sarah had died three years earlier and Isaac was still grieving. The beauty and honor of Sarah's tent was a wonderful way to welcome his bride-to-be.

"thus Isaac was comforted after his mother's death" This verse seems to show that Isaac was still grieving over the death of his mother and this may affect the way we interpret the word "meditate" in Genesis 24:63.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Why did Abraham not want Isaac to marry a Canaanite?

2. How is the faith of this servant seen or not seen in this chapter?

3. What can one tell about the personality of Laban from Genesis 24:29ff?

4. What is the significance of Rebekah being called a virgin in Genesis 24:16 and a maiden in Genesis 24:43?

5. How is the excitement of Isaac and Rebekah on seeing each other reflected in Genesis 24:61-67?

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Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Genesis 24". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/genesis-24.html. 2021.