Genesis 24:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, "Put your hand under my thigh.

New Living Translation
One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, "Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh.

English Standard Version
And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh,

New American Standard Bible
Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, "Please place your hand under my thigh,

King James Bible
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:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his household who managed all he owned, "Place your hand under my thigh,

International Standard Version
So Abraham instructed his servant, who was the oldest member of his household and in charge of everything he owned, "Make this solemn oath to me

NET Bible
Abraham said to his servant, the senior one in his household who was in charge of everything he had, "Put your hand under my thigh

New Heart English Bible
Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that he had, "Please put your hand under my thigh.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So Abraham said to the senior servant of his household who was in charge of all that he owned, "Take a solemn oath.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And Abraham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, that ruled over all that he had: 'Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh.

New American Standard 1977
And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh,

Jubilee Bible 2000
And Abraham said unto his eldest slave of his house, who ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh,

King James 2000 Bible
And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray you, your hand under my thigh:

American King James Version
And Abraham said to his oldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray you, your hand under my thigh:

American Standard Version
And Abraham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he said to the elder servant of his house, who was ruler over all he had: Put thy hand under my thigh,

Darby Bible Translation
And Abraham said to his servant, the eldest of his house, who ruled over all that he had, Put thy hand, I pray thee, under my thigh,

English Revised Version
And Abraham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:

Webster's Bible Translation
And Abraham said to his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:

World English Bible
Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that he had, "Please put your hand under my thigh.

Young's Literal Translation
and Abraham saith unto his servant, the eldest of his house, who is ruling over all that he hath, 'Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh,
Study Bible
A Wife for Isaac
1Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way. 2Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, "Please place your hand under my thigh, 3and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live,…
Cross References
Genesis 24:9
So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.

Genesis 24:34
So he said, "I am Abraham's servant.

Genesis 24:37
"My master made me swear, saying, 'You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live;

Genesis 39:4
So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge.

Genesis 47:29
When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, "Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not bury me in Egypt,

2 Samuel 12:17
The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.

1 Kings 16:9
His servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against him. Now he was at Tirzah drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, who was over the household at Tirzah.
Treasury of Scripture

And Abraham said to his oldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray you, your hand under my thigh:

eldest.

Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, LORD God, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, …

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, …

ruled.

Genesis 24:10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and …

Genesis 39:4-6,8,9 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made …

Genesis 44:1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's …

Put.

Genesis 24:9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, …

Genesis 47:29 And the time drew near that Israel must die: and he called his son …

1 Chronicles 29:24 And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise …

(2) Unto his eldest servant of his house.--Heb., his servant, the elder of his house. It is the name of an office; and though one holding so confidential a post would be a man of ripe years, yet it is not probable that Abraham would send any one who was not still vigorous on so distant a journey. Eliezer of Damascus had held a similar office fifty-five years previously (Genesis 15:2), but this was probably a younger man.

Put . . . thy hand under my thigh.--As Jacob requires that Joseph should swear to him in the same manner (Genesis 47:29), this form of oath was evidently regarded as a very solemn one. The meaning of it has been much discussed, but we find the thigh in Genesis 46:26, Exodus 1:5--in both which places it is rendered loins--used as the source of posterity. Probably, therefore, as Tuch argues, it is an euphemistic manner of describing the circumcised member, which was to be touched by the hand placed beneBeware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.--The betrothal of Isaac and Rebekah is told with the utmost exactness of detail, because it contained two principles of primary importance to Abraham's posterity: the first, that they were not to allow themselves to be merged among the Canaanites, but remain a distinct people; for this intermarriage with women of their own race was only a means to an end, and not a binding law, to be observed for its own sake. And secondly, that under no circumstances might they return to Mesopotamia, but must cling devotedly to the land of which God had promised them the possession. We learn from Genesis 24:8 that this second point was regarded by Abraham as even more important than the first; and with reason. For the race might remain distinct even if Isaac took a woman of Palestine to wife, though there would be the risk of religious deterioration; but if they returned to Padanaram they were certain to be absorbed, and could look for no higher lot than that attained to by Laban's descendants.

Land of my kindred.--Rather, of my nativity; and so in Genesis 24:4. (See Note on Genesis 12:1.) It is a different word from that rightly translated kindred in Genesis 24:38. Jewish interpreters say that by his father's house here, and by his country in Genesis 24:4, Abraham meant Charran: but by his birthplace he meant Ur of the Chaldees. If, therefore, the servant failed in obtaining a wife at Charran, he was to continue his journey to Ur, where Abraham, doubtless, had many relatives.

Verses 2-4. - And Abraham said auto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, - literally, to his servant, the old man, ancient or elder, of his house, the ruler over all which (sc. belonged) to him. The term זָקֵן (an old man) is in most languages employed as a title of honor, - cf. sheikh, senatus, γέρων, presbyter, signor, seigneur, senor, sir (Gesenius, p. 252), - and is probably to be so understood here. Eliezer of Damascus, upwards of half a century previous regarded as heir presumptive to Abraham's house (Genesis 15:2), is commonly considered the official meant, though the point is of no importance - Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: and I will make thee swear. This ancient form of adjuration, which is mentioned again only in chap. 47:29, and to which nothing analogous can elsewhere be discovered, - the practice alleged to exist among the modern Egyptian Bedouins of placing the hand upon the membrum virile in solemn forms of asseveration not forming an exact parallel, was probably originated by the patriarch. The thigh, as the source of posterity (cf. Genesis 35:11; Genesis 46:26; Exodus 1:5), has been regarded as pointing to Abraham's future descendants (Keil, Kalisch, Lange), and in particular to Christ, the promised seed (Theodoret, Jerome, Augustine, Luther, Ainsworth, Bush, Wordsworth), and the oath to be equivalent to a swearing by him that was to come. By others the thigh has been viewed as euphemistically put for the generative organ, upon which the sign of circumcision was placed, and the oath as an adjuration by the sign of the covenant (Jonathan, Jarchi, Tuch). A third interpretation considers the thigh as symbolizing lordship or authority, and the placing of the hand under it as tantamount to an oath of fealty and allegiance to a superior (Aben Ezra, Rosenmüller, Calvin, Murphy). Other explanations are modifications of the above. By the Lord (Jehovah; since the marriage to which this solemn adjuration was preliminary was not an ordinary alliance, such as might have taken place under the providence of Elohim, but the wedding of the heir of the promise), the God of heaven, and the God of the earth (a clause defining Jehovah as the supreme Lord of the universe, and therefore as the sole Arbiter of human destiny), that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son - not investing him with authority to provide a wife for Isaac in the event of death carrying him (Abraham) off before his son's marriage, but simply explaining the negative side of the commission with which he was about to be entrusted. If it evinced Isaac's gentle disposition and submissive piety, that though forty years of age he neither thought of marriage, but mourned in devout contemplation for his mother (,Lange), nor offered resistance to his father s proposal, but suffered himself to be governed by a servant (Calvin), it was also quite in accordance with ancient practice that parents should dispose of their children in marriage (cf. Genesis 28:2) - of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell. Being prompted to this partly by that jealousy with which all pastoral tribes of Shemitie origin have been accustomed to guard the purity of their race by intermarriage (Dykes; cf. Thomson, 'Land and Book,' p. 591), and partly no doubt by his perception of the growing licentiousness of the Canaanites, as well as his knowledge of their predicted doom, though chiefly, it is probable, by a desire to preserve the purity of the promised seed. Intermarriage with the Canaanites was afterwards forbidden by the Mosaic legislation (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3). But (literally, for, i.e. the former thing must not be done because this must be done) thou shalt go unto my country (not Ur of the Chaldees, but the region beyond the Euphrates generally), and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. Though enforced by religious considerations, this injunction to bring none but a relative for Isaac's bride "was in no sense a departure from established usages and social laws in regard to marriage" ('Land and Book,' p. 591). And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house,.... To Eliezer his servant, according to the Targum of Jonathan, and as is generally thought; and who may well be called an old servant, and his oldest servant, since he must have lived with him fifty years and upwards; one may trace him near sixty years in Abraham's family, and it is highly probable he lived much longer; he was his servant when he had the vision between the pieces, Genesis 15:2; and then he was the steward of his house, and bid fair to be his heir; which was some time before Hagar was given to Abraham; and Ishmael his son by Hagar was fourteen years of age when Isaac was born, and he was now forty years old, which make fifty five years, or thereabout. Bishop Usher places the vision of the pieces in A. M. 2092, and the marriage of Isaac in 2148, some fifty six years from each other; and so long Eliezer, if he is the servant here meant, must have been in Abraham's family, and how much longer cannot with certainty be said:

that ruled over all that he had; had the care and management of his house, and the affairs of it under him; this agrees with the character of Eliezer in Genesis 15:2,

put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: as a token of his subjection to him as a servant, and of his readiness, willingness, and fidelity to execute any commands he should lay upon him, and in order to take an oath, as appears by what follows; for it seems this rite was used in swearing, and is still used in India, as Aben Ezra affirms; and some say among the Ethiopians. The Jewish writers are pretty much of opinion that respect is had to the covenant of circumcision, by which Abraham made his servant to swear, which is not likely: rather respect is had to his seed, the promised Messiah, that should spring from his thigh, by whom the adjuration was made, as follows: though Dr. Clayton (k) thinks this is no other than an equivalent term for approaching in an humble servile manner, and means no more than "come near me", and I will make thee swear; and that, as a respectable method of approach with the Egyptian, as Herodotus (l) relates, was by bowing the body reciprocally when they met, and saluted one another, and by carrying their hands to each other's knee; so some such like ceremony as embracing the knee, and putting the hand under or round the thigh, might be used by servants when they approached their masters; but it should be observed, that this same rite or ceremony was required of Joseph, governor of Egypt, by his father Jacob; see Genesis 47:29.

(k) Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 130, 131. (l) Euterpe sive, l. 2.2. said unto his eldest servant—Abraham being too old, and as the heir of the promise not being at liberty to make even a temporary visit to his native land, was obliged to intrust this delicate mission to Eliezer, whom, although putting entire confidence in him, he on this occasion bound by a solemn oath. A pastoral chief in the present day would follow the same course if he could not go himself.24:1-9 The effect of good example, good teaching, and the worship of God in a family, will generally appear in the piety, faithfulness, prudence, and affection of the servants. To live in such families, or to have such servants, both are blessings from God which should be highly valued, and thankfully acknowledged. But no concern in life is of greater importance to ourselves, to others, or to the church of God, than marriage. It therefore ought always to be undertaken with much care and prudence, especially with reference to the will of God, and with prayer for his direction and blessing. Where good parents are not consulted and regarded, the blessing of God cannot be expected. Parents, in disposing of their children, should carefully consult the welfare of their souls, and their furtherance in the way to heaven. Observe the charge Abraham gave to a good servant, one whose conduct, faithfulness, and affection, to him and his family, he had long known. Observe also, that Abraham remembers that God had wonderfully brought him out of the land of his birth, by the call of his grace; and therefore doubts not but He will prosper his care, not to bring his son thither again. God will cause that to end in our comfort, in which we sincerely aim at his glory.
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