Vs 1: Abraham was advanced in age… He was around 137 years old.
Abraham was a blessed man… No longer does the author write that God was going to bless Abraham he says he was blessed. God has kept his promise and Abraham gained wealth, land and a descendant. God had shown favor to Abraham.
Vs 2 – 4: Abraham has a servant (who is unnamed) and he gives him one of the most important jobs a servant could do. His mission was to find a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac. It was imperative that Isaac be married and to have children to continue with the promise of God. “Put your hand under my thigh” – this is the sign of an oath. This was an ancient custom of the orient and “placing a hand under Abraham’s thigh made an intimate association with some fundamental religious ideas.”
The servant was given specific instructions and he was to swear by the God of Heaven and earth that he would find a wife for Isaac (specifically not a Canaanite woman) from Abraham’s clan or kindred from his original country.
Vs 5 – 8: The servant was unsure of the success of his journey so he asks the obvious question, “What if I find the girl and she won’t come back with me? Should I then bring Isaac to her?” Was it more important for Isaac to marry or for him to stay in the land of promise? Abraham makes it very clear that under no circumstance is Isaac to leave the Promised Land. He assures the servant that the same God who called Abraham from his father’s house and who made a covenant with him regarding his offspring would guide him in the process.
“(God) will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.” In his advanced years Abraham’s faith is not wavering. He knows that God will guide the servant in this process. Time and time again God has provided for Abraham.
If the woman will not go with the servant then he is released from the oath/covenant.
Vs 10: The servant took ten camels and all sorts of gifts. Camels were rare in these days and having ten of them was a sign of great wealth. Camels could be synonymous to Cadillac’s or BMWs. They were certainly a status symbol. The servant was bringing the camels, gold and silver as betrothal gifts and he went to Mesopotamia or more specifically Nahor. Abraham sent his choice gifts for his son’s future wife and family. He was sparing no expenses. He wanted only the best for his son.
Vs 11 – 14: The journey was long (about 500 miles and approximately 20 + days) and the servant and his companions were tired. They went to the well where the women draw water. As he arrives he inquires (prays) of the Lord for wisdom and favor. He prays for success (that he might find a wife for Isaac) and guidance. He prays a specific prayer so that he will know for certain that God is the one orchestrating and ordaining. The servant makes his request to the LORD and if things go the way he prays then he will know that God has shown him favor. We now know that the servant is praying for a specific woman who is appointed by God to be Isaac’s wife.
Vs 15 – 21: Before he even finished his prayer, Rebekah (Isaac’s future wife) enters the picture. The servant does not know she is the one yet but clearly the author of the story is telling it with this information in mind. Actually the woman who enters the scene is MUCH more than what the servant had prayed for. Isn't that just like God? He gives more than what is asked for. Rebekah is a cousin (the daughter of Abraham’s brother) to Isaac, she was a woman most likely under the age of 40 (but could have been as young as a teenager), a virgin and beautiful.
The servant approaches her and she fulfills all the requirements that the servant requested of God. The amount of time and the hard work it took to water ten camels was great; and yet Rebekah did take care of them. During this time the servant watched and discerned whether God had given him success or not.
Vs 22 – 28: Evidently the servant knew that God had answered him as he gave her a gold ring and bracelets and asks her who her father is and if he and his caravan could spend the night with them. She agrees and the servant worshiped God because he has shown himself faithful by showing favor to him and his master Abraham. It is apparent the servant now knows this is the woman God has chosen for Isaac’s wife.
Vs 22 – 33: Rebekah’s brother Laban runs out to meet the servant. His enthusiasm is either motivated by hospitality or greed. He does not know who the servant is or why he is coming but he does know that he is a wealthy traveler and Laban wants to accommodate. Laban calls the servant “blessed of the Lord” because riches were a sign of divine blessing.
After the camels were taken care of and the servant and his clans’ feet were washed, food was set out before them. The servant has an urgent message and he will not eat before he speaks the purpose of his journey.
Vs 34 – 49: The servant tells Laban and the family the details of his journey.
Vs 50 – 61: After hearing from the servant Laban and Bethuel grant the servant his desires to take Rebekah back to Isaac to be his wife. Upon hearing this once again the servant bows and worships the Lord for blessing him. The servant begins his quest with prayer and worship and ends his search with prayer and worship. He gives Rebekah jewelry and garments as gifts and he also gave costly ornaments to Laban and his mother as a dowry. Typically this would be about 50 shekels and was equivalent to many years’ wages for paid labor. Eventually the dowry (or bride money) was given to the bride when she was married. After some time Rebekah is blessed by her family and they let her go with the servant to be married to Isaac.
Vs 62 – 65: As Isaac was going to meditate he saw the servant and his entourage returning. When Rebekah saw Isaac in the distance she asked if Isaac was the one she was marrying? He said yes, so she covered her face with a veil. The bride was always veiled at the wedding. It is implied that Rebekah left her veil on until her wedding day.
Vs 66 – 67: We are not sure how much time passes from the moment the servant arrives to the time of the wedding. We are only told that Isaac and Rebekah were married and he loved her. Ironically in arranged marriages love came after the marriage where today in traditional marriage loving the future spouse comes first and then comes marriage.
At this point the story reaches its climax and conclusion. Abraham’s wishes had been carried out, the servant did his job, God faithfully kept his promise and now Isaac could continue the family line and receiving the blessings of God.
I realize I have quickly commented on this passage (as there is a lot I could have talked about) but there are a few things that caught my attention in the passage that I would like to conclude with. I know the crux of this story focuses on the servant finding a wife for Isaac and I believe the actions and deeds of this servant are noteworthy and could be most beneficial in putting into practical application for us today.
 Wenham, G. J. (1998). Vol. 2: Genesis 16 - 50. Word Biblical Commentary (141). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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