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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Genesis 24

 

 

Verse 1

Genesis 24:1 And Abraham was old, [and] well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.

Ver. 1. And Abraham was old.] Non tam canis et annis, quam virtutibus et sapientia gravis , as one saith of Atticus. (a) Abraham had a good gray head, as it is elsewhere said of him: hence, so honoured not only at home, but by the Hittites. [Genesis 23:6] Cognata sunt γνρας et γερας ( ut ηθος et εθος), old age and honour are near akin in the Greek tongue. And God bids, "honour the face of the old man"; [Leviticus 19:32] for the hoary head is a crown, so that it be found in the way of righteousness. God is called "the Ancient of days": and, because "holy," therefore "reverend is his name," as saith the psalmist. [Psalms 111:9] But it is a poor praise to Nectarius, who succeeded Nazianzen in the church of Antioch, that he was veneranda canitie et vultu sacerdote digno, a comely old man, and of a bishop like visage, and that was all that could be said for him. (b)


Verse 2

Genesis 24:2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:

Ver. 2. Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh.] Either as a token of subjection, or for the honour of circumcision, quae erat in parte femoris; q.d., I adjure thee by the Lord of the covenant, whereof circumcision is a sign. Or (which is most likely) in reference to Christ, who was to come of Abraham, according to that phrase. "The souls that came out of Jacob’s thigh". [Genesis 46:26]


Verse 3

Genesis 24:3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:

Ver. 3. I will make thee swear by the Lord.] Who alone is the proper object of an oath. [Isaiah 65:16] Howbeit, in lawful contracts with an infidel or idolater, we may allow such oaths, whereby they swear by false gods; as those of old, that swore by God and Malcom; and the Turks’ great oath now-a-days is, By the immortal God, and by the four hundred prophets, by Mohammed, by his father’s soul, by his own children, and by the sword wherewith he is girt, &c. (a)

That thou shalt not take a wife unto my son, &c.] Lest they should "turn away" his heart "from following God," [Deuteronomy 7:3-4] as those "foreign wives" did Solomon, [Nehemiah 13:26] whom therefore God Almighty punished both in himself and his successor Rehoboam, his only son (that we read of) by so many wives and concubines; and he was none of the wisest, nor happiest: tam auspicata sunt coniugia contra Dei legem contracta, saith the divine chronologer. "Be not unequally yoked," [2 Corinthians 6:14] therefore, with any untamed heifer that bears not Christ’s yoke. If religion be any other than a cipher, how dare we disregard it in our most important choice? I wish Manoah could speak so loud, saith a reverend divine, (b) that all our Israelites might hear him. "Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all God’s people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?" [ 14:3] What is the reason the Pope will not dispense in Spain or Italy, if a Papist marry a Protestant (yet here they will); but in hope to draw more to them? For they well know what power wives many times get over their husbands, as Jezebel did over Ahab; the hen was suffered to crow, and all went as she would have it. And therefore the Legates in the Council of Trent were blamed for allowing the article of priests’ marriage to be disputed, as dangerous, (c) because it is plain that married priests will turn their affections and love to wife and children; and, by consequence, to their house and country. So that the strict dependence that the clergy hath upon the apostolic See would cease: and to grant marriage to priests would destroy the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and make the Pope to be Bishop of Rome only.


Verse 4

Genesis 24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

Ver. 4. But thou shalt go unto my country, &c.] Nahor’s stock were neither pure in religion nor precise in life, [Joshua 24:2 Genesis 31:30] yet far better in both than those cursed Canaanites. Some knowledge they retained of the true God, of whom they speak much in this chapter, and concerning whom they hear Eliezer here relating how he had answered his prayer, and prospered his journey. And for their manners, we find them hospitable, and their daughter, though fair, yet a pure virgin. Now,

“Lis est, cure forma, magna pudicitiae.”

Like unto these are the Greek Church at this day, which is far greater than the Roman: and though in some points unsound, and in others very superstitious, yet holdeth sufficient for salvation. Cyril, their good patriarch of Constantinople, set forth the confession of the faith of those Eastern churches anno 1629, agreeable in all things for most part to the reformed Protestant religion, but diametrically opposite to that they call the Roman Catholic. He is also busy about a general reformation among them, and hath done much good. (a)


Verse 5

Genesis 24:5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?

Ver. 5. Peradventure the woman, &c.] He swears cautiously, he doth not rashly rush upon his oath; he swears not in jest, but in judgment. So must we, [Jeremiah 4:2] duly considering the conditions and circumstances; as the nature of an oath, the matter whereabout, the person by whom, and before whom, the time, the place, our calling, and warrant thereunto. "Be not rash"; [Ecclesiastes 5:2] the best that can come of that is repentance, that fair and happy daughter of an ugly and odious mother. (a) Swear not in heat and choler, as David did when he was going against Nabal; but soon after blessed Abigail for better counsel. Swear not in jest, lest you go to hell in earnest. [James 5:12] Swear not petty oaths, those civilised compliments, and interjections of common talk, Faith and truth, &c. Thou must not swear by thy hairs, thou canst not make one of them white or black; much less by faith and truth, that is more worth than hairs. Remember that large roll, ten yards long, and five yards broad, full of curses against the swearer. [Zechariah 5:2] And it rests upon his house, where he thinks himself most secure. When we are called to take a lawful oath, we must be reverently affected (as this good servant in the text), according to the excellency of the duty, and greatness of the person, whom we attest and invocate. The ancient form of taking and imposing an oath was, "Give glory to God". [Joshua 7:19 John 9:24] And he that took the oath was said to "confess to God". [Isaiah 45:23 Romans 14:11] Therefore also St Paul, in swearing, useth a word of attention, and saith "Behold," I speak it "before God". [Galatians 1:20] Louis the French king was taken prisoner by Meletisaka the Sultan; and conditions of peace being concluded between them, for more assurance thereof, the Sultan offered to swear, if he failed in performance of anything, to renounce his Mohammed; requiring likewise of the king to swear, if he failed in anything that he had promised, to deny his Christ to be God: which profane oath the king detesting, and wishing rather to die than to give the same, the Sultan wondering at his constancy, took his word without any oath at all, and so published the league. (b) As on the other side, King John of England, being overcome in his barons’ wars, when he sent ambassadors to the monarch of Morocco for aid, offering to swear fidelity to him, and to receive the law of Mohammed, he grew into such a dislike of our king, that ever after he abhorred the mention of him. (c)


Verse 6

Genesis 24:6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.

Ver. 6. That thou bring not my son thither again.] Where yet he had never been, but in his father’s loins. He would not his son should part with the Promised Land for any outward accommodations. "Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into God’s rest, any of us should seem to come short, to fail back, or be left behind". {υστερηκεναι, Hebrews 4:1} Take we all heed lest, for our lingering and hankering after the flesh pots of Egypt, God carry us back again into Egypt, which was the last and greatest curse threatened against the people of Israel, and is the greatest misery that can come upon this nation. [Deuteronomy 28:68]


Verse 7

Genesis 24:7 The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

Ver. 7. He shall send his angel.] There are myriads of angels, [Daniel 7:10] and all sent out for the solace and safe conduct of the saints. [Hebrews 1:14] Oh, the dignity and safety of a child of God!

Thou shalt take a wife.] He argues from what God hath done for him, to what he will do. Every former favour is a pledge of a future. Thou hast, thou wilt, is a Scripture demonstration. {see Psalms 85:1-4} Six thou hasts; whereupon he infers and enforceth his, "Turn us, O God of our salvation," &c.


Verse 8

Genesis 24:8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.

Ver. 8. Only bring not my son thither again.] This second time he lays charge on his servant not to do it. Better no wife, than displease God, than violate conscience. He purchaseth his pleasure at too dear a rate, that pays his honesty to get it. He hath less of the ballast, and more of the sail, makes more haste than good speed, that thus speeds himself.


Verse 9

Genesis 24:9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.

Ver. 9. And the servant put his hand., &c.] That, and the lifting up of the hand to heaven, [Genesis 14:22] was the ceremony of old, as now it is, laying the hand upon the book. Let it be what it will, if not wicked, we need not scruple it. Henry III of England, undertaking the crusade, in taking his oath laid his right hand on his breast (according i to the manner of a priest, saith the history); (a) and after on the book, and kissed it as a layman. The Moors, when they swear to be faithful to any, put their swords to their own throats. (b) At the siege of Norwich by Ket and his complices in Edward VI’s time, the Earl of Warwick, general for the king, drew his sword, and caused others to do the like; and (according to a soldierly custom in cases of extremity) by interchange of a kiss by everyone of them upon the swords of others, they bound themselves, as by an oath, to maintain the place? (c)


Verse 10

Genesis 24:10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master [were] in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.

Ver. 10. Took ten camels.] Creatures that are famous for their swiftness, strength, hardiness; for they will travel, they say, three days together, without water, which, in those hot countries, is in many places hard to come by. Sir Francis Drake in his travels (a) tells us of certain sheep in America as large as a cow, and replacing horses for burden or travel. The mule, they say, must have the bag hang by his mouth; so must some, the pipe or the pot at their elbows.


Verse 11

Genesis 24:11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, [even] the time that women go out to draw [water].

Ver. 11. And he made his camels to kneel down.] Or, rest themselves, as the Greek interprets it. A good man is merciful to his beast; [Proverbs 12:10] but the poor "creature groaneth and travaileth in pain" [Romans 8:22] under our abuses.


Verse 12

Genesis 24:12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.

Ver. 12. And he said, O Lord God.] Begin we all our enterprizes with prayer. God may give good success without, but it will be nothing so sweet. See therefore that,

“Hoc primum repetas opus, hoc postremus omittas.” - Hor., epis. 6. l. 48.


Verse 13

Genesis 24:13 Behold, I stand [here] by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:

Ver. 13. And the daughters, &c.] So did Rachel, and those in Deborah’s song, that rehearsed the acts of the Lord at the places of drawing water; [ 5:11] and Jethro’s daughters, though he were prince of Median. Oh, the simplicity and plainness of those times! They that plead Rebekah’s ornaments for their garish attire, would be loath to take her office - to be at the pains that she was.


Verse 14

Genesis 24:14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: [let the same be] she [that] thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.

Ver. 14. Drink, and I will give thy camels, &c.] This argued a good nature, a kind, courteous disposition; which therefore may be he singled out as a token of a suitable wife, as a thing especially to be looked at in a wife. Good dispositions sanctified, become more useful, because more amiable; and so more graceful to the gospel, and powerful with others. As if not yet sanctified, yet there is more hopes they may be. For where a good nature is, the soul is a plain, smooth board, whereon a painter may more easily draw a picture: and a harsh crabbed nature, is as a board full of knots, and rugged, whereon the artificer cannot so well show his workmanship. And though the power of God will show itself wherever he intends to make a vessel of mercy, yet it is with more ado; and will cost a man the more sorrow, and him that hath the working of it the more pains. (a)


Verse 15

Genesis 24:15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.

Ver. 15. Before he had done speaking.] So quick is God, many times, in the answer of prayers. [Isaiah 65:24 Daniel 9:23] The angel had even tired himself with flight, to tell Daniel that his prayers were heard. David did but say, "I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord"; and before he could do it, "God forgave the iniquity of his sin". [Psalms 32:5]

Rebekah came out.] She took her name, saith one, as it may seem, from the expectation of eternal life. For Rebekah denoteth a woman which expecteth a free delivery from all calamity, and an inheritance of eternal life. Therefore, she is a notable type of the Church, which is the spouse of Christ shadowed in Isaac. (a)


Verse 16

Genesis 24:16 And the damsel [was] very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

Ver. 16. And the damsel was very fair.] Kαλη και σοφη, Fair and wise, as it was said of Aspasia Milesia. (a) Here beauty was not ill-bestowed, as a gold ring in a swine’s snout, but (as the history (b) reports of the Lady Jane Gray) adorned with all variety of moral virtues, as a clear sky with stars, as a princely diadem with jewels. Beauty is of itself very attractive, as the poet hath it. (c) For which cause, Heraclonas, the young emperor of Constantinople, being sent into banishment, together with Martina his mother, had his nose cut off, lest his beauty should move the people to pity. And Angli tanquam Angeli, said Gregory the Great, of the English boys presented to him. How much more when accompanied and accomplished with chastity, as in this damsel. (d)

A virgin, neither had any man known her.] This latter clause is added, because many pass for virgins that are not so; if that of the poet be true, especially

“Quae, quia non licuit, non facit, illa facit.” - Ovid.

And that of the orator, (e) Incesta est, et sine stupro, quae stuprum cupit. The Romans cashiered a vestal virgin for uttering this verse -

“Foelices nuptae! moriar, nisi nubere dulce est.”

The strumpet when she eats stolen bread, hath such dexterity in wiping her lips, that not the least crumb shall be seen to her shame. So that Solomon shows it to be as hard to find it out, "As the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship in the sea, and the way of a man with a maid," [Proverbs 30:18-20] that is a close and chaste virgin; one that should be chaste at least, as being kept close from the access of strangers.

Filled her pitcher, and came up.] Here was no tarrying, gazing, gossiping. Not slothful in business. [Romans 12:11] She had not been delicately or wantonly bred, but inured to hard labour, and she followed it closely. Thucydides scribit Lacedaemoniis πατριος γεγονεναι εκ στων τονων τας αρετας κταθαι. (f)


Verse 17

Genesis 24:17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.

Ver. 17. And the servant ran to meet her.] For although he was at the well before, praying, [Genesis 24:13] yet, having stood at a distance till she had done drawing, he now ran to meet her. Though marriages are made in heaven, and a good wife must be sought of God, adhibenda tamen sunt media ordinaria et ordinata, yet due means must be used, &c.


Verse 18-19

Genesis 24:18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.

Ver. 18, 19. {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:14"}


Verse 19

Genesis 24:19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw [water] for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.

Ver. 19. I will draw water for thy camels also.] This was, in everything, according to his desire. [Genesis 24:14] God sometimes fitteth his mercy, ad cardinem desiderii, letteth it be to his servants even as they will. As, at other times, he answereth their prayers, non secundum voluntatem, tamen ad utilitatem, not as they wish, but as is best for them. (a)


Verse 20

Genesis 24:20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw [water], and drew for all his camels.

Ver. 20. And ran again to the well.] In the city of Haran, at this day, saith one, there is to be seen a well of very clear water, where Rebekah gave drink to Eliezer and his camels; there likewise, Rachel, Laban’s daughter, first spake to Jacob, &c. It is called by the townsmen Abraham’s Well. (a) This water hath a very pleasant taste, and is a notable type of holy baptism. For as the patriarchs took their wives by this well; so Christ receiveth his spouse the Church, by that sacrament; which is, Beersheba, the Well of an Oath, where we pass into the covenant, and are betrothed unto Christ in faithfulness, [Hosea 2:20] the thistle to the cedar. [2 Kings 14:9]


Verse 21

Genesis 24:21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.

Ver. 21. Wondering at her.] At her courtesy; but more at God’s good providence, and so sweet a return of his prayers. The Greek hath it, He considered her, and held his peace.


Verse 22

Genesis 24:22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten [shekels] weight of gold;

Ver. 22. The man took a golden earring.] Abiliment, or jewel; Ut imponeret naso eius, saith Junius, to hang upon her nose, or forehead. {as Genesis 24:47} Each country hath its fashions and garnishes. In very many places of America, they have their lower lips bored through; as likewise, the upper parts of their ears, and something put into them. Which, as it seems to themselves to be a point of beauty, so it makes them appear to others to be wondrous ugly. (a)


Verse 23

Genesis 24:23 And said, Whose daughter [art] thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room [in] thy father’s house for us to lodge in?

Ver. 23. Whose daughter art thou?] This he had asked her, before he had put upon her the jewel aforesaid, as may be seen, Genesis 24:47.


Verse 24

Genesis 24:24 And she said unto him, I [am] the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.

Ver. 24. The son of Milcah.] Bethuel’s wife, not concubine.


Verse 25

Genesis 24:25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.

Ver. 25. She said moreover unto him, &c.] It ia well observed by an interpreter, (a) that in the narration of this story (which yet seemeth to be of light and trivial matters) the Spirit of God is very exact and large; whereas other things wherein great mysteries are infolded (as the history of Melchizedek, &c.), are set down in few words; that men might consider God’s wisdom and providence in things of least esteem among men. I add, that all may see what delight he takes in the meanest actions and speeches of his dearest children; when the great acts and exploits of Nimrod, Ninus, and other nobles of the world are not once mentioned, but lie shrouded in the sheet of oblivion or shame.


Verse 26

Genesis 24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.

Ver. 26. And the man bowed down his head.] See how he relisheth of his master’s house, and showeth a gracious heart, ready to offer up a sacrifice of praise, wherever God shall please to set it up an altar. The same word in Greek ( χαρις) signifieth, grace and thanks; to show, that as any man hath more grace, he is more grateful to God and man. It is observable also, that our Saviour sets these two together, - "the unthankful, and the evil"; "He is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil". [Luke 6:35]


Verse 27

Genesis 24:27 And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I [being] in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.

Ver. 27. Who hath not left destitute my master.] He ascribeth all to God’s good providence, nothing to his good luck or service. Men play the atheists in speaking of fortune, like those [Isaiah 65:11] "that prepared a table for fortune": and those Philistines, that said, "It is a chance". [1 Samuel 6:9] Augustine repented that ever he spoke such language of Ashdod.


Verse 28

Genesis 24:28 And the damsel ran, and told [them of] her mother’s house these things.

Ver. 28. Of her mother’s house.] For the women had houses apart from the men: and the daughters were most about their mothers’ lodgings.


Verse 29

Genesis 24:29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name [was] Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.

Ver. 29. And Laban ran out.] Whether out of courtesy or covetousness. {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:30"}


Verse 30

Genesis 24:30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.

Ver. 30. When he saw the earring and bracelets.] These were the boons that Laban looked after; these drew the churl forth, and made him so courteous. Worldlings in serving God, serve themselves of God; they follow him for loaves more than for love. Vix diligitur Iesus propter Iesum. Hypocrites would use Christ as a bridge to get to heaven by; which if they could compass, let Christ sink or swim for them, they would not much care. Their love is meretricious, their obedience mercenary; they work only for wages. (a) Fac me pontificem, et ero Christianus, said one Pammachius, a heathen, to the Pope. Those degenerate priests would fain have had priests’ places, when something was to be got, but might not. [Ezra 2:61-62]


Verse 31-32

Genesis 24:31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.

Ver. 31, 32. And he ungirded his camels.] Laban did. Si spes lucri affulserit, &c. Sing but a song of "Utile," and many will dance after it, yea, stoop to any drudgery almost.


Verse 32

Genesis 24:32 And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that [were] with him.

Ver. 32. {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:31"}


Verse 33

Genesis 24:33 And there was set [meat] before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.

Ver. 33. I will not eat, till I have told mine errand.] He preferred his work before his food. So did our Saviour at the well of Samaria. [John 4:6-8; John 4:31-38] And another time, when he thought to have slaked his hunger at the barren fig tree, and found nothing but leaves, he went on to Jerusalem; and forgetting his hunger, as he had before forgot his breakfast, he turned not into a victualling house, but went to the temple and taught the people; and confuted the elders all that day long till the evening. [Matthew 21:18-27 Mark 11:13-15] Job "esteemed God’s word more than his necessary food"; [Job 23:12] not only more than his dainties or superfluities.


Verse 35

Genesis 24:35 And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.

Ver. 35. And the Lord hath blessed my master.] Ministers, Christ’s spokesmen, must likewise woo for Christ, by setting forth his great wealth; and not speak one word for Christ and two for themselves, as those did in Philippians 1:15. John Baptist was no such spokesman. [John 3:29] It is the special office of the ministry to lay Christ open, to hold up the tapestry, and let men see him as he is set forth, [Hebrews 1:2-3] that they may be sick of love; for otherwise, Christ is like to have but a cold suit of it.


Verse 36

Genesis 24:36 And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath.

Ver. 36. Unto him hath he given all that he hath.] This he knew would take well with them. What hath he? is a main question. In suites both of law and of love, money weighs and sways much. R. Solomon here addeth to the text (but not well) these words, - And lo the conveyance, or deed of gift is here in mine hand.


Verse 37

Genesis 24:37 And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell:

Ver. 37. {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:3"} {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:4"}


Verse 38

Genesis 24:38 But thou shalt go unto my father’s house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son.

Ver. 38. {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:3"} {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:4"}


Verse 39

Genesis 24:39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.

Ver. 39. Preadventure the woman will not.] Here he leaveth out, in his discretion, Abraham’s charge. [Genesis 24:6] For that would but have offended and irritated. Part of the truth may be concealed sometimes, as Jeremiah 38:27.

Quid, quod, ubi, per quos, quoties, cur, quomodo, quando,

Quilibet haec animo reputet, medicamina dando. ”

But what shall we think of that practice of Buchanan the Scotch poet, who being taken hold of by some of the Pope’s inquisitors in his travels, to acquit himself, sent this Distichon to the Pope -

“ Laus tua non tua fraus, virtus non copia rerum

Scandere te fecit hoc decus eximium. ”

Hereupon he was released: but, when got out of the Pope’s jurisdiction, he sent to him, and desired that his verses might not be misunderstood; but, according to his true meaning, might be read backward: which being so read, stand thus -

“ Eximium decus hoc fecit te scandere rerum

Copia, non virtus; fraus tua, non tua laus. ”

This was, saith one, so only to speak the truth, as to leave the incorrigible to their lusts, wisely avoiding their hatred: this is σοφον φαρμακον, at least, say I.


Verse 40

Genesis 24:40 And he said unto me, The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father’s house:

Ver. 40. The Lord, before whom I walk.] To walk before God, with God, after God, are much at one: est, quod Persius dixit vivere cum Deo: est ad Dei voluntatem vitam instituere, it is to be ever in the sense of his presence, and light of his countenance.


Verse 41

Genesis 24:41 Then shalt thou be clear from [this] my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee [one], thou shalt be clear from my oath.

Ver. 41. {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:8"}


Verse 42

Genesis 24:42 And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go:

Ver. 42. And I came this day to the well.] God’s providences are carefully to be observed and registered. We might have a Divinity of our own, would we but lay up our experiences: which are nothing else, saith the philosopher, but multiplex memoria. David "will remember God from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar," where he had formerly found him to his comfort. [Psalms 42:6]


Verse 43

Genesis 24:43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw [water], and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;

Ver. 43. Behold, I stand by the well.] But at a distance, as {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:17"} See also {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:20"}


Verse 44

Genesis 24:44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: [let] the same [be] the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master’s son.

Ver. 44. The woman, whom the.Lord hath appointed.] God is the match maker, and marriages are made in heaven, as very heathens have yielded. The Governor of Eskichisar, hearing Othoman’s relation of a fair lady, with whom he was in love, seemed greatly to like of his choice; saying, that she was by the Divine Providence (for so the Turks religiously use to speak) appointed only for him to have. (a)


Verse 45

Genesis 24:45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew [water]: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.

Ver. 45. With her pitcher on her shoulder.] Though a sufficient man’s daughter, and a match for a prince’s son. {See Trapp on "Genesis 23:6"}


Verse 46

Genesis 24:46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her [shoulder], and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also.

Ver. 46. And she made the camels drink.] {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:14"}


Verse 47

Genesis 24:47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter [art] thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.

Ver. 47. And I put the earring upon her face.] So did Christ put upon his spouse his own comeliness, (a) which was as a jewel on her forehead, an earring in her ear, and a beautiful crown upon her head; [Ezekiel 16:12-14] - whence she is called Callah, of the perfection of her beauty and bravery; and [Jeremiah 2:32] Hephzibah, [Isaiah 62:4] of his delight in her; since he hath purified her, as Esther; sanctified her; [Ephesians 5:26] and so beautified her, that now he "rejoiceth over her as a bridegroom doth over his bride". [Isaiah 62:5] Yea, he "resteth in his love," and will seek no further; he "joyeth over her with singing," as well paid for his choice. [Zephaniah 3:17]


Verse 48

Genesis 24:48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son.

Ver. 48. And I bowed down my head.] A good Christian is ever either praying or praising: he drives a constant trade between earth and heaven.


Verse 49

Genesis 24:49 And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.

Ver. 49. That I may turn to the right hand, &c., ] i.e., Seek somewhere else: for something I must do, in answer to my trust. "It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful". [1 Corinthians 4:2]


Verse 50

Genesis 24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.

Ver. 50. Laban and Bethuel.] Laban, the young master, was the great doer in this affair.

We cannot speak unto thee bad or good.] "Good" (with reason) we cannot say against the motion; and "bad" we will not say. Demosthenes, pressed by his friends to plead for one whom he greatly liked not, answered, επαινειν αυτον ου δυναμαι ψεγειν δε ου βουλομαι: Say for him I cannot; say against him I will not.


Verse 51

Genesis 24:51 Behold, Rebekah [is] before thee, take [her], and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken.

Ver. 51. As the Lord hath spoken.] For his signs also are vocal. [Exodus 4:8]


Verse 52

Genesis 24:52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, [bowing himself] to the earth.

Ver. 52. He worshipped.] {See Trapp on "Genesis 24:48"}

Bowing himself to the earth.] This humble posture he had learned, belike, of his holy master, who walked before God in a humble familiarity. God loves to be acquainted with men in the walks of their obedience; yet he takes state upon him in his ordinances, and will be trembled at in his judgments.


Verse 53

Genesis 24:53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave [them] to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.

Ver. 53. And gave them to Rebekah: he gave also.] Note, that the custom was then, to give gifts to the bride and her friends. Now it is otherwise. Yet in Hungary their women have no portion, they say, (a) but a new coat at their wedding. Moris est apud Thraces (saith Solinus, cap. 14), ut nupturae non parentum arbitratu transeant ad matiros; sed quae prae coeteris specie valent, subhastari volunt; et licentia taxationis admissa, non moribus nubunt, sed proemiis.


Verse 54

Genesis 24:54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that [were] with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.

Ver. 54. And they did eat and drink.] It is lawful to be honestly merry after business despatched.


Verse 55

Genesis 24:55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us [a few] days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.

Ver. 55. Let the damsel abide with us.] Men promise in baste; perform by leisure.


Verse 56

Genesis 24:56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.

Ver. 56. Hinder me not.] Say we so to Satan soliciting us to stay a while in our old courses and companies.


Verse 57

Genesis 24:57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth.

Ver. 57. And inquire at her mouth.] Eve was not dragged, but brought by God to her husband. There must be a mutual consent, or it is not of God.


Verse 58

Genesis 24:58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.

Ver. 58. I will go.] Christ’s Hephzibah is no less willing to go with him: he toucheth her heart, and maketh her so. [Isaiah 56:6] He commanded his lovingkindness; [Psalms 42:8] q.d., Go, Mercy, and seize on them; go, Lovingkindness, and make them take you. Hence it is, that they are a freehearted people; [Psalms 110:3] they wait for his law; [Isaiah 42:4] they love to be his people. [Isaiah 56:6] The Macedonians were Aυθαιρεστοι volunteers; [2 Corinthians 8:3] they had their own free choice.


Verse 59

Genesis 24:59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men.

Ver. 59. And her nurse.] Deborah, who was a great stay to Jacob’s family, and her loss much lamented. [Genesis 35:8]


Verse 60

Genesis 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou [art] our sister, be thou [the mother] of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

Ver. 60. Be thou the mother of thousands.] Votum nuptiale, Hebraeis solenne. We wish them joy, we assure them sorrow, and that in the flesh, where they look for most felicity.


Verse 61

Genesis 24:61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

Ver. 61. They rode upon the camels.] A tiresome and tedious journey it was, but for a good husband. Suffer we with, and for Christ, "that we may be glorified together," [Romans 8:17] when the marriage shall be consummated. Heaven will pay for all. What though thou ride on a trotting camel it is to be married. He that rides to be crowned, will not think much of a rainy day.


Verse 62

Genesis 24:62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.

Ver. 62. The well Lahairoi.] Whereof see Genesis 16:14. To this well there was, likely, some convenient walk from Beersheba, where Isaac dwelt with his father.


Verse 63

Genesis 24:63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels [were] coming.

Ver. 63. To meditate in the field.] Or to pray; there he had his oratory; there he used to pray secretly (but now more earnestly, upon so important an occasion) with deep meditation or soliloquy. Domitian, about the beginning of his empire, usually sequestered himself from company an hour every day; but did nothing the while but catch flies and kill them with a pen-knife. (a) God’s people can better employ their solitariness, and do never want company, as having God and themselves to talk with. And these secret meals are those that make the soul fat. It was a witty and divine speech of Bernard, that Christ, the soul’s spouse, is bashful, neither willingly cometh to his bride in the presence of a multitude.


Verse 64

Genesis 24:64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.

Ver. 64. She lighted off the camel.] To meet him with the more reverence and submission; for which cause also, she veiled herself. Here that of the poet held not.

“Fastus inest pulchris, sequiturque superbia formam.” - Ovid.


Verse 66

Genesis 24:66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.

Ver. 66. And the servant told Isaac.] Ministers also must give account of their stewardship. Happy he that can present his people "as a chaste virgin to Christ," with Paul [2 Corinthians 11:2] that can say, with the prophet, "Here am I, and the children that thou hast given me"; [Isaiah 8:18] and with that arch-prophet, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do". [John 17:4] Reverend Mr Stork was wont to protest, that it was more comfort to him to win one of his own charge than twenty others. (a)


Verse 67

Genesis 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s [death].

Ver. 67. Isaac brought her into his mother’s tent.] There to rest till the marriage rites were performed; till he had got her goodwill; till their affections were knit, and in some sort settled; till they had pledged their mutual trust; sought God for a blessing, and performed such solemnities as the time required. Youth rides in post to be married: but in the end, finds the inn of repentance to be lodged in.

And took Rebekah.] Not as Shechem took Dinah, or Amnon Tamur, to deflower her; but as Boaz took Ruth, and David Abigail, to make her his wife by lawful wedlock.

And he loved her.] Not only as his countrywoman or his kinswoman, or a good woman, &c., but as his woman, with a conjugal love. And he had reason: for (1.) She was his wife, the proper object of his love; (2.) A wife of God’s providing; a mate meet for him; none in all the world so meet; (3.) She was love-worthy, because fair, courteous, virtuous: and as meat pleaseth us better in a clean dish, so doth virtue in comely persons, saith Hugo; (4.) She forgot her father’s house, and forsook all her friends for him, &c.

And Isaac was comforted.] If God takes away one comfort, he will give another. Cheer up, therefore.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 24:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-24.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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