24:1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years, 1 and the Lord had blessed him 2 in everything. 24:2 Abraham said to his servant, the senior one 3 in his household who was in charge of everything he had, “Put your hand under my thigh 4 24:3 so that I may make you solemnly promise 5 by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth: You must not acquire 6 a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living. 24:4 You must go instead to my country and to my relatives 7 to find 8 a wife for my son Isaac.”
24:5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is not willing to come back with me 9 to this land? Must I then 10 take your son back to the land from which you came?”
24:6 “Be careful 11 never to take my son back there!” Abraham told him. 12 24:7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and the land of my relatives, 13 promised me with a solemn oath, 14 ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ He will send his angel 15 before you so that you may find 16 a wife for my son from there. 24:8 But if the woman is not willing to come back with you, 17 you will be free 18 from this oath of mine. But you must not take my son back there!” 24:9 So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and gave his solemn promise he would carry out his wishes. 19
24:10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed with all kinds of gifts from his master at his disposal. 20 He journeyed 21 to the region of Aram Naharaim 22 and the city of Nahor. 24:11 He made the camels kneel down by the well 23 outside the city. It was evening, 24 the time when the women would go out to draw water. 24:12 He prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, guide me today. 25 Be faithful 26 to my master Abraham. 24:13 Here I am, standing by the spring, 27 and the daughters of the people 28 who live in the town are coming out to draw water. 24:14 I will say to a young woman, ‘Please lower your jar so I may drink.’ May the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac reply, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ 29 In this way I will know that you have been faithful to my master.” 30
24:15 Before he had finished praying, there came Rebekah 31 with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah (Milcah was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor). 32 24:16 Now the young woman was very beautiful. She was a virgin; no man had ever had sexual relations with her. 33 She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came back up. 24:17 Abraham’s servant 34 ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a sip of water from your jug.” 24:18 “Drink, my lord,” she replied, and quickly lowering 35 her jug to her hands, she gave him a drink. 24:19 When she had done so, 36 she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have drunk as much as they want.” 24:20 She quickly emptied 37 her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw more water until she had drawn enough for all his camels. 24:21 Silently the man watched her with interest to determine 38 if the Lord had made his journey successful 39 or not.
24:22 After the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka 40 and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels 41 and gave them to her. 42 24:23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. 43 “Tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24:24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom Milcah bore to Nahor. 44 24:25 We have plenty of straw and feed,” she added, 45 “and room for you 46 to spend the night.”
24:26 The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord, 24:27 saying “Praised be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his faithful love 47 for my master! The Lord has led me 48 to the house 49 of my master’s relatives!” 50
24:28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household all about 51 these things. 24:29 (Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban.) 52 Laban rushed out to meet the man at the spring. 24:30 When he saw the bracelets on his sister’s wrists and the nose ring 53 and heard his sister Rebekah say, 54 “This is what the man said to me,” he went out to meet the man. There he was, standing 55 by the camels near the spring. 24:31 Laban said to him, 56 “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord! 57 Why are you standing out here when I have prepared 58 the house and a place for the camels?”
24:32 So Abraham’s servant 59 went to the house and unloaded 60 the camels. Straw and feed were given 61 to the camels, and water was provided so that he and the men who were with him could wash their feet. 62 24:33 When food was served, 63 he said, “I will not eat until I have said what I want to say.” 64 “Tell us,” Laban said. 65
24:34 “I am the servant of Abraham,” he began. 24:35 “The Lord has richly blessed my master and he has become very wealthy. 66 The Lord 67 has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 24:36 My master’s wife Sarah bore a son to him 68 when she was old, 69 and my master 70 has given him everything he owns. 24:37 My master made me swear an oath. He said, ‘You must not acquire a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 24:38 but you must go to the family of my father and to my relatives to find 71 a wife for my son.’ 24:39 But I said to my master, ‘What if the woman does not want to go 72 with me?’ 73 24:40 He answered, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked, 74 will send his angel with you. He will make your journey a success and you will find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. 24:41 You will be free from your oath 75 if you go to my relatives and they will not give her to you. Then you will be free from your oath.’ 24:42 When I came to the spring today, I prayed, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you have decided to make my journey successful, 76 may events unfold as follows: 77 24:43 Here I am, standing by the spring. 78 When 79 the young woman goes out to draw water, I’ll say, “Give me a little water to drink from your jug.” 24:44 Then she will reply to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too.” May that woman be the one whom the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
24:45 “Before I finished praying in my heart, 80 along came Rebekah 81 with her water jug on her shoulder! She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 24:46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ So I drank, and she also gave the camels water. 24:47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘The daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to Nahor.’ 82 I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 24:48 Then I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right path to find the granddaughter 83 of my master’s brother for his son. 24:49 Now, if you will show faithful love to my master, tell me. But if not, tell me as well, so that I may go on my way.” 84
24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “This is the Lord’s doing. 85 Our wishes are of no concern. 86 24:51 Rebekah stands here before you. Take her and go so that she may become 87 the wife of your master’s son, just as the Lord has decided.” 88
24:52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 24:53 Then he 89 brought out gold, silver jewelry, and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave valuable gifts to her brother and to her mother. 24:54 After this, he and the men who were with him ate a meal and stayed there overnight. 90
When they got up in the morning, he said, “Let me leave now so I can return to my master.” 91 24:55 But Rebekah’s 92 brother and her mother replied, “Let the girl stay with us a few more days, perhaps ten. Then she can go.” 24:56 But he said to them, “Don’t detain me – the Lord 93 has granted me success on my journey. Let me leave now so I may return 94 to my master.” 24:57 Then they said, “We’ll call the girl and find out what she wants to do.” 95 24:58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Do you want 96 to go with this man?” She replied, “I want to go.”
24:59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, accompanied by her female attendant, with Abraham’s servant and his men. 24:60 They blessed Rebekah with these words: 97
“Our sister, may you become the mother 98 of thousands of ten thousands!
May your descendants possess the strongholds 99 of their enemies.”
24:61 Then Rebekah and her female servants mounted the camels and rode away with 100 the man. So Abraham’s servant 101 took Rebekah and left.
24:62 Now 102 Isaac came from 103 Beer Lahai Roi, 104 for 105 he was living in the Negev. 106 24:63 He 107 went out to relax 108 in the field in the early evening. 109 Then he looked up 110 and saw that 111 there were camels approaching. 24:64 Rebekah looked up 112 and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 24:65 and asked 113 Abraham’s servant, 114 “Who is that man walking in the field toward us?” “That is my master,” the servant replied. 115 So she took her veil and covered herself.
24:66 The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 24:67 Then Isaac brought Rebekah 116 into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took her 117 as his wife and loved her. 118 So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. 119
1 tn Heb “days.”
2 tn Heb “Abraham.” The proper name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun (“he”) for stylistic reasons.
3 tn The Hebrew term זָקֵן (zaqen) may refer to the servant who is oldest in age or senior in authority (or both).
4 sn Put your hand under my thigh. The taking of this oath had to do with the sanctity of the family and the continuation of the family line. See D. R. Freedman, “Put Your Hand Under My Thigh – the Patriarchal Oath,” BAR 2 (1976): 2-4, 42.
5 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose.
6 tn Heb “because you must not take.”
7 tn Heb “for to my country and my relatives you must go.”
8 tn Heb “and take.”
9 tn Heb “to go after me.”
10 tn In the Hebrew text the construction is emphatic; the infinitive absolute precedes the imperfect. However, it is difficult to reflect this emphasis in an English translation.
11 tn Heb “guard yourself.”
12 tn The introductory clause “And Abraham said to him” has been moved to the end of the opening sentence of direct discourse in the translation for stylistic reasons.
13 tn Or “the land of my birth.”
14 tn Heb “and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying.”
15 tn Or “his messenger.”
16 tn Heb “before you and you will take.”
17 tn Heb “ to go after you.”
18 sn You will be free. If the prospective bride was not willing to accompany the servant back to Canaan, the servant would be released from his oath to Abraham.
19 tn Heb “and he swore to him concerning this matter.”
20 tn Heb “and every good thing of his master was in his hand.” The disjunctive clause is circumstantial, explaining that he took all kinds of gifts to be used at his discretion.
21 tn Heb “and he arose and went.”
22 tn The words “the region of” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn Aram Naharaim means in Hebrew “Aram of the Two Rivers,” a region in northern Mesopotamia.
23 tn Heb “well of water.”
24 tn Heb “at the time of evening.”
25 tn Heb “make it happen before me today.” Although a number of English translations understand this as a request for success in the task (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV) it is more likely that the servant is requesting an omen or sign from God (v. 14).
26 tn Heb “act in loyal love with” or “show kindness to.”
27 tn Heb “the spring of water.”
28 tn Heb “the men.”
29 sn I will also give your camels water. It would be an enormous test for a young woman to water ten camels. The idea is that such a woman would not only be industrious but hospitable and generous.
30 tn Heb “And let the young woman to whom I say, ‘Lower your jar that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink and I will also give your camels water,’ – her you have appointed for your servant, for Isaac, and by it I will know that you have acted in faithfulness with my master.”
31 tn Heb “Look, Rebekah was coming out!” Using the participle introduced with הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator dramatically transports the audience back into the event and invites them to see Rebekah through the servant’s eyes.
32 tn Heb “Look, Rebekah was coming out – [she] who was born to Bethuel, the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, the brother of Abraham – and her jug [was] on her shoulder.” The order of the clauses has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
33 tn Heb “And the young woman was very good of appearance, a virgin, and a man she had not known.” Some argue that the Hebrew noun translated “virgin” (בְּתוּלָה, bÿtulah) is better understood in a general sense, “young woman” (see Joel 1:8, where the word appears to refer to one who is married). In this case the circumstantial clause (“and a man she had not known”) would be restrictive, rather than descriptive. If the term actually means “virgin,” one wonders why the circumstantial clause is necessary (see Judg 21:12 as well). Perhaps the repetition emphasizes her sexual purity as a prerequisite for her role as the mother of the covenant community.
34 tn Heb “and the servant.” The word “Abraham’s” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
35 tn Heb “and she hurried and lowered.”
36 tn Heb “when she had finished giving him a drink.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.
37 tn Heb “and she hurried and emptied.”
38 tn Heb “to know.”
39 tn The Hebrew term צָלָה (tsalah), meaning “to make successful” in the Hiphil verbal stem, is a key term in the story (see vv. 40, 42, 56).
40 sn A beka weighed about 5-6 grams (0.2 ounce).
41 sn A shekel weighed about 11.5 grams (0.4 ounce) although weights varied locally, so these bracelets weighed about 4 ounces (115 grams).
42 tn The words “and gave them to her” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.
43 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’” The order of the introductory clause has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
44 tn Heb “whom she bore to Nahor.” The referent (Milcah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
45 tn Heb “and she said, ‘We have plenty of both straw and feed.’” The order of the introductory clause has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
46 tn Heb The words “for you” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.
47 tn Heb “his faithfulness and his commitment.”
48 tn Heb “As for me – in the way the
49 tn Here “house” is an adverbial accusative of termination.
50 tn Heb “brothers.”
51 tn Heb “according to.”
52 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause introduces the audience to Laban, who will eventually play an important role in the unfolding story.
53 tn Heb “And it was when he saw the nose ring and the bracelets on the arms of his sister.” The word order is altered in the translation for the sake of clarity.
54 tn Heb “and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying.”
55 tn Heb “and look, he was standing.” The disjunctive clause with the participle following the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) invites the audience to view the scene through Laban’s eyes.
56 tn Heb “and he said.” The referent (Laban) has been specified and the words “to him” supplied in the translation for clarity.
57 sn Laban’s obsession with wealth is apparent; to him it represents how one is blessed by the
58 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial.
59 tn Heb “the man”; the referent (Abraham’s servant) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
60 tn Some translations (e.g., NEB, NASB, NRSV) understand Laban to be the subject of this and the following verbs or take the subject of this and the following verbs as indefinite (referring to an unnamed servant; e.g., NAB, NIV).
61 tn Heb “and [one] gave.” The verb without an expressed subject may be translated as passive.
62 tn Heb “and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.”
63 tn Heb “and food was placed before him.”
64 tn Heb “my words.”
65 tc Some ancient textual witnesses have a plural verb, “and they said.”
tn Heb “and he said, ‘Speak.’” The referent (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
66 tn Heb “great.” In this context the statement refers primarily to Abraham’s material wealth, although reputation and influence are not excluded.
67 tn Heb “and he.” The referent (the
68 tn Heb “to my master.” This has been replaced by the pronoun “him” in the translation for stylistic reasons.
69 tn Heb “after her old age.”
70 tn Heb “and he.” The referent (the servant’s master, Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
71 tn Heb “but to the house of my father you must go and to my family and you must take a wife for my son.”
72 tn The imperfect is used here in a modal sense to indicate desire.
73 tn Heb “after me.”
74 tn The verb is the Hitpael of הָלַךְ (halakh), meaning “live one’s life” (see Gen 17:1). The statement may simply refer to serving the
75 tn Heb “my oath” (twice in this verse). From the Hebrew perspective the oath belonged to the person to whom it was sworn (Abraham), although in contemporary English an oath is typically viewed as belonging to the person who swears it (the servant).
76 tn Heb “if you are making successful my way on which I am going.”
77 tn The words “may events unfold as follows” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
78 tn Heb “the spring of water.”
79 tn Heb “and it will be.”
80 tn Heb “As for me, before I finished speaking to my heart.” The adverb טֶרֶם (terem) indicates the verb is a preterite; the infinitive that follows is the direct object.
81 tn Heb “Look, Rebekah was coming out.” As in 24:15, the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) is used here for dramatic effect.
82 tn Heb “whom Milcah bore to him.” The referent (Nahor) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
83 tn Heb “daughter.” Rebekah was actually the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. One can either translate the Hebrew term בַּת (bat) as “daughter,” in which case the term אָח (’akh) must be translated more generally as “relative” rather than “brother” (cf. NASB, NRSV) or one can translate בַּת as “granddaughter,” in which case אָח may be translated “brother” (cf. NIV).
84 tn Heb “and I will turn to the right or to the left.” The expression apparently means that Abraham’s servant will know where he should go if there is no further business here.
85 tn Heb “From the
86 tn Heb “We are not able to speak to you bad or good.” This means that Laban and Bethuel could not say one way or the other what they wanted, for they viewed it as God’s will.
87 tn Following the imperatives, the jussive with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.
88 tn Heb “as the
89 tn Heb “the servant”; the noun has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
90 tn Heb “And they ate and drank, he and the men who [were] with him and they spent the night.”
91 tn Heb “Send me away to my master.”
92 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Rebekah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
93 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial, indicating a reason for the preceding request.
94 tn After the preceding imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.
95 tn Heb “and we will ask her mouth.”
96 tn The imperfect verbal form here has a modal nuance, expressing desire.
97 tn Heb “and said to her.”
98 tn Heb “become thousands of ten thousands.”
sn May you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands. The blessing expresses their prayer that she produce children and start a family line that will greatly increase (cf. Gen 17:16).
99 tn Heb “gate,” which here stands for a walled city. In an ancient Near Eastern city the gate complex was the main area of defense (hence the translation “stronghold”). A similar phrase occurs in Gen 22:17.
100 tn Heb “And she arose, Rebekah and her female servants, and they rode upon camels and went after.”
101 tn Heb “the servant”; the word “Abraham’s” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
102 tn The disjunctive clause switches the audience’s attention to Isaac and signals a new episode in the story.
103 tn Heb “from the way of.”
104 sn The Hebrew name Beer Lahai Roi (בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי, bÿ’er lakhay ro’i) means “The well of the Living One who sees me.” See Gen 16:14.
105 tn This disjunctive clause is explanatory.
106 tn Or “the South [country].”
sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.
107 tn Heb “Isaac”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
108 tn The meaning of this Hebrew term is uncertain (cf. NASB, NIV “to meditate”; NRSV “to walk”).
109 tn Heb “at the turning of the evening.”
110 tn Heb “And he lifted up his eyes.” This idiom emphasizes the careful look Isaac had at the approaching caravan.
111 tn Heb “and look.” The clause introduced by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) invites the audience to view the scene through Isaac’s eyes.
112 tn Heb “lifted up her eyes.”
113 tn Heb “and she said to.”
114 tn Heb “the servant.” The word “Abraham’s” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
115 tn Heb “and the servant said.” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
116 tn Heb “her”; the referent has been specified here in the translation for clarity.
117 tn Heb “Rebekah”; here the proper name was replaced by the pronoun (“her”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
118 tn Heb “and he took Rebekah and she became his wife and he loved her.”
119 tn Heb “after his mother.” This must refer to Sarah’s death.