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Genesis 24:12-19

Context
24:12 He prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, guide me today. 1  Be faithful 2  to my master Abraham. 24:13 Here I am, standing by the spring, 3  and the daughters of the people 4  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.’ 5  In this way I will know that you have been faithful to my master.” 6 

24:15 Before he had finished praying, there came Rebekah 7  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). 8  24:16 Now the young woman was very beautiful. She was a virgin; no man had ever had sexual relations with her. 9  She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came back up. 24:17 Abraham’s servant 10  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 11  her jug to her hands, she gave him a drink. 24:19 When she had done so, 12  she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have drunk as much as they want.”

1 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).

2 tn Heb “act in loyal love with” or “show kindness to.”

3 tn Heb “the spring of water.”

4 tn Heb “the men.”

5 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.

6 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.”

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 tn Heb “and the servant.” The word “Abraham’s” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

11 tn Heb “and she hurried and lowered.”

12 tn Heb “when she had finished giving him a drink.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.



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