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, to the city of Nahor.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And the servant.—Why did not Isaac go himself in search of a wife? We must not conclude from his inactivity that the matter had not his full concurrence; but he was the heir, and according to Oriental manners it was fit that the choice should be left to a trusty deputy. What is peculiar in the narrative is the distance to which the servant was sent, and the limitation of his choice to a particular family; but both these peculiarities arose from the religious considerations involved. Jacob subsequently went in person on a similar errand, but we must remember that Rebekah was also seeking for him a place of safety. But for this, and had he been the sole heir, she would probably have sent an embassy to her brother’s house to ask for him a wife.

For all the goods of his master were in his hand.—Rather, with every good thing of his master’s in his hand. It was necessary not only that the servant should take with him such a convoy as would ensure his safety and that of the bride on their return, but also such rich presents as would adequately represent Abraham’s wealth and power.

Mesopotamia.—Heb., Aram-Naharaim: that is, Aram of the two rivers.” Aram means highland, but it became the title of the whole Syrian race; and here Aram-Naharaim means that part of Syria which lies between the Tigris and Euphrates. It was a mountainless region, except towards the north. For Padan-aram, see Note on Genesis 25:20.

The city of Nahor.—This was Charran (Genesis 27:43). Nahor had probably migrated thither from Ur when Terah was growing old, that he might occupy the pastures which Abraham was about to abandon.

24:10-28 Abraham's servant devoutly acknowledged God. We have leave to be particular in recommending our affairs to the care of Divine providence. He proposes a sign, not that he intended to proceed no further, if not gratified in it; but it is a prayer that God would provide a good wife for his young master; and that was a good prayer. She should be simple, industrious, humble, cheerful, serviceable, and hospitable. Whatever may be the fashion, common sense, as well as piety, tells us, these are the proper qualifications for a wife and mother; for one who is to be a companion to her husband, the manager of domestic concerns, and trusted to form the minds of children. When the steward came to seek a wife for his master, he did not go to places of amusement and sinful pleasure, and pray that he might meet one there, but to the well of water, expecting to find one there employed aright. He prayed that God would please to make his way in this matter plain and clear before him. Our times are in God's hand; not only events themselves, but the times of them. We must take heed of being over-bold in urging what God should do, lest the event should weaken our faith, rather than strengthen it. But God owned him by making his way clear. Rebekah, in all respects, answered the characters he sought for in the woman that was to be his master's wife. When she came to the well, she went down and filled her pitcher, and came up to go home with it. She did not stand to gaze upon the strange man his camels, but minded her business, and would not have been diverted from it but by an opportunity of doing good. She did not curiously or confidently enter into discourse with him, but answered him modestly. Being satisfied that the Lord had heard his prayer, he gave the damsel some ornaments worn in eastern countries; asking at the same time respecting her kindred. On learning that she was of his master's relations, he bowed down his head and worshipped, blessing God. His words were addressed to the Lord, but being spoken in the hearing of Rebekah, she could perceive who he was, and whence he came.He proceeds on his journey. "Took ten camels." These are designed for conducting the bride and her companions home to his master. "All the best belonging to his master in his hand." This refers to the presents for the bride and her friends, and to the accommodations for her comfort on the journey. "Aram-Naharaim." Aram was an extensive area, embracing not only the country west of the Frat and north of Palestine, but the northern part of Mesopotamia, or the country between the Frat and the Dijlah. The latter region is for the sake of distinction called Aram of the two rivers. It did not include the southern part of Mesopotamia, which was called Shinar Genesis 11:2, and probably extended only to the Chaboras, Khabour. The part of it in which Haran was situated was called Padan-aram Genesis 28:2. "The city of Nahor." It is probable that Nahor accompanied his father, Terah, to Haran Genesis 11:31. If not, he must have followed him very soon.Ge 24:10-67. The Journey.

10. the servant took ten camels, &c.—So great an equipage was to give the embassy an appearance worthy of the rank and wealth of Abraham; to carry provisions; to bear the marriage presents, which as usual would be distributed over several beasts; besides one or two spare camels in case of emergency.

went to Mesopotamia, &c.—A stranger in those regions, who wishes to obtain information, stations himself at one of the wells in the neighborhood of a town, and he is sure to learn all the news of the place from the women who frequent them every morning and evening. Eliezer followed this course, and letting his camels rest, he waited till the evening time of water drawing.

The goods of his master were in his hand, i.e. in his power to take, without particular orders, what he thought fit and necessary, either for his own use, or for the promotion of the present business.

The city of Nahor was Haran, by comparing Genesis 28:10 29:4. And the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his master,

and departed,.... Camels were much in use in the eastern countries; where, as Pliny (o) says, they were brought up among their herds of cattle, and their riches much consisted in them. Arabia abounded with them; Job had three thousand of them, Job 1:3; how many Abraham had is not said, only ten of them his servant took, being sufficient for his present purpose, and which he took with his master's leave, and by his order. These creatures are very strong and fit for carrying great burdens, even a thousand pound weight, as is affirmed; and for riding, especially such as have two humps on their backs, for some have but one; and for long journeys, being very swift, and will travel without water many days, and so very proper to take on such journeys in hot and desert countries; see Gill on Leviticus 11:4,

for all the goods of his master were in his hand; which agrees with what is before said, that he was the steward of his house, and ruled over all that he had; this in our version, and others, is put in a parenthesis, and given as a reason why the servant took, as it may seem of himself, so many camels as he did, and then set forward on his journey: though it may be rendered, "and of all the goods of his master in his hand"; that is, he took some of the choicest and most valuable things his master had, and carried them along with him as presents to the damsel and her friends; to which sense the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions interpret the words, as well as some others, and which may receive confirmation from Genesis 24:22, Jarchi thinks that Abraham's servant carried a schedule of all his master's goods and substance, which he had under his hand given to his son, whereby it would appear how rich he was, and how good a match Isaac would be to the woman, and which might the more incline her and her friends to listen to the proposal. Other Jewish writers (p) say, it was his testament or will that he carried:

and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia; or Aram Naharaim, Syria of the rivers, which lay between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates, called therefore by the Greeks Mesopotamia; the three Targums render it Aram or Syria, which is by Euphrates:

unto the city of Nahor; this was the brother of Abraham, and his city was Haran, whither he came, either with his father, or with Abraham, out of Ur of the Chaldees, or followed them thither, and where he and his family stayed and settled. From Hebron, where Abraham now was, to Haran, is reckoned a journey of seventeen days; the distance between them, according to Ptolemy, as Drusius observes, were eight degrees, which make one hundred and twenty German miles; the journey Abraham's servant took is computed to be four hundred and sixty eight miles (q).

(o) Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 18. (p) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 59. fol. 52. 2.((q) Bunting's Travels, p. 69.

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 {e} city of Nahor.

(e) That is, to Charran.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10–28. Rebekah at the Well

10. ten camels] The largeness of this retinue is intended (1) to impress strangers with the reality and value of the proposed connexion by marriage: (2) to provide for the adequate means of conveying the bride and her attendant hand-maidens, cf. Genesis 24:61.

having all … hand] R.V. marg. for all the goods of his master were in his hand. See Genesis 25:5. A slightly different turn is given to the sentence by the versions, LXX καὶ ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἀγαθῶν τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ, Lat. ex omnibus bonis ejus portans secum.

The servant carried with him gifts for the bride and for her family on behalf of the bridegroom: see Genesis 24:22; Genesis 24:53.

Mesopotamia] Aram-naharaim, that is, Aram of the two rivers. This is the region watered by the Upper Euphrates which appears in the Tel-el-Amarna tablets with the name Naharina, or “the river land.” The termination -aim denotes the dual number; and hence the proposed rendering “Aram of the two rivers.” If so, the two rivers are the Euphrates and its confluent the Habor; not the Tigris and the Euphrates. Another explanation supposes that the two sides of the river Euphrates are implied by the dual. But it is doubtful whether the sound of the dual termination is anything more than an accident: compare other proper names with the same termination, e.g. Ephraim, Mahanaim, Jerusalaim; and see note on Mizraim (= Egypt) in Genesis 10:6.

The name “Mesopotamia” is derived from a later time, and is really applicable to a somewhat different region. For other mention of Mesopotamia, cf. Deuteronomy 23:4; Jdg 3:8; 1 Chronicles 19:6. Instead of Aram-naharaim, P writes Paddan-aram. Cf. Genesis 25:20; Genesis 28:2.

the city of Nahor] The city where Nahor dwelt after Abraham’s departure. The name, not mentioned here, appears as Haran in Genesis 27:43, Genesis 28:10, Genesis 29:4 : cf. Genesis 11:31, Acts 7:2.Verse 10. - And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, - to bear the presents for the bride, to enhance the dignity of his mission, and to serve as a means of transport for the bride and her companions on the return journey. On the word Gamal vide Genesis 12:16 - and departed. Either from Hebron (Genesis 23:19), or from the south country, near Beer-lahai-roi (Genesis 24:62). For all the goods of his master were in his hand. Literally, and every good thing of his master in his hand; meaning that he selected (sc. as presents for the bride) every best thing that belonged to his master - cf. 2 Kings 8:9 (LXX., Vulgate, Murphy, Kalisch), though some regard it as explaining how he, the servant, was able to start upon his journey with such an equipage, viz., because, or for, he had supreme command over his master's household (Calvin, Rosenmüller, 'Speaker's Commentary'). And he arose, and went - if along the direct route, then "through Palestine along the west side of the Jordan and the lakes, into the Buk'ah, and out through the land of Hamath to the Euphrates, and thence ('Land and Book,' p. 591) - to Mesopotamia, - Aram-Naharaim, i.e. the Aram of the two rivers; Aram meaning the high region, from aram, to be high - an ancient and domestic name for Syria, not altogether unknown to the Greeks; vide Hom., 'Il., 2:783; Hes., 'Theog.,' 304; Strabo, 13:4 (Gesenius). Standing alone it signifies Western Syria (Judges 3:10; 1 Kings 10:29; 1 Kings 11:25; 1 Kings 15:18), and especially Syria of Damascus (2 Samuel 8:6; Isaiah 7:1, 8; Amos 1:5); when Mesopotamia is intended it is conjoined with Naharaim (upon Egyptian monuments Naharina; vide 'Records of the Past,' vol. 2. pp. 32, 61, 67), the two rivers being the Tigris and the Euphrates, or Padan, the field or plain, as in Genesis 25:20. The latter is not an Elohistic expression as distinguished from the former, which some ascribe to the Jehovist (Knobel, et al.), but a more exact description of a portion of Mesopotamia, viz., of that where Laban dwelt. Unto the city of Nahor - i.e. Haran, or Charran (Genesis 28:10; vide Genesis 11:31). Nahor must have migrated thither either along with or shortly after Torah. After the death of Sarah, Abraham had still to arrange for the marriage of Isaac. He was induced to provide for this in a mode in harmony with the promise of God, quite as much by his increasing age as by the blessing of God in everything, which necessarily instilled the wish to transmit that blessing to a distant posterity. He entrusted this commission to his servant, "the eldest of his house," - i.e., his upper servant, who had the management of all his house (according to general opinion, to Eliezer, whom he had previously thought of as the heir of his property, but who would now, like Abraham, be extremely old, as more than sixty years had passed since the occurrence related in Genesis 15:2), - and made him swear that he would not take a wife for his son from the daughters of the Canaanites, but would fetch one from his (Abraham's) native country, and his kindred. Abraham made the servant take an oath in order that his wishes might be inviolably fulfilled, even if he himself should die in the interim. In swearing, the servant put his hand under Abraham's hip. This custom, which is only mentioned here and in Genesis 47:29, the so-called bodily oath, was no doubt connected with the significance of the hip as the part from which the posterity issued (Genesis 46:26), and the seat of vital power; but the early Jewish commentators supposed it to be especially connected with the rite of circumcision. The oath was by "Jehovah, God of heaven and earth," as the God who rules in heaven and on earth, not by Elohim; for it had respect not to an ordinary oath, but to a question of great importance in relation to the kingdom of God. "Isaac was not regarded as a merely pious candidate for matrimony, but as the heir of the promise, who must therefore be kept from any alliance with the race whose possessions were to come to his descendants, and which was ripening for the judgment to be executed by those descendants" (Hengstenberg, Dissertations i. 350). For this reason the rest of the negotiation was all conducted in the name of Jehovah.
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