Genesis 24:11
And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(11) He made his camels to kneel down.—Camels rest kneeling, but the servant did not unlade them till he knew that God had heard his prayer. (See Genesis 24:32.)

By a well of water.—The well was the property of the whole city, and might be used only at a fixed hour; and the servant therefore waits till the women came to draw. This duty of fetching water is not peculiar to Oriental women, but to this day in most parts of Europe, wherever the supply comes from a public source, women may be seen thus occupied. Rebekah carried her pitcher upon her shoulder; in the south of France the Basque women, like the ancient Egyptians, carry it on their heads, and the habit of thus balancing it gives them a peculiarly erect and graceful carriage.

Genesis 24:11. He made his camels to kneel down — Probably to unload them; kneeling, however, is the posture in which they take their rest. Dr. Shaw, giving an account of his journeys between Cairo and mount Sinai, says, “Our camels were made to kneel down in a circle round about us; and in this situation, as they are very watchful, and awake with the least noise, they served us instead of a guard.”

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.Made the camels kneel, - for repose. "The time when the maidens that draw water come out." The evening was the cool part of the day. The simple maidens of primitive days attended personally to domestic affairs. The experienced steward might therefore naturally expect to see the high-born damsels of the land at the public well, which had probably given rise to the neighboring town. The prayer of the aged servant is conceived in a spirit of earnest, childlike faith. The matter in hand is of extraordinary importance. A wife is to be found for the heir of promise. This was a special concern of God, and so the single-hearted follower of Abraham makes it. He takes upon himself the choice of a maiden among those that come to draw, to whom he will make the request of a particular act of kindness to a stranger, and he prays God that the intended bride may be known by a ready compliance with his request. The three qualifications, then, in the mind of the venerable domestic for a bride for his master's son, are a pleasing exterior, a kindly disposition, and the approval of God.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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And he made his camels to kneel down,.... Which these creatures are used to do when they are loaded and unloaded, and also when they take rest, and it was for the sake of the latter they were now made to kneel. It seems that this is what is not natural to them, but what they are learned to do: it is said (r),"as soon as a camel is born they tie his four feet under his belly, put a carpet over his back, and stones upon the borders of it, that he may not be able to rise for twenty days together; thus they teach him the habit of bending his knees to rest himself, or when he is to be loaded or unloaded.''This was done

without the city; the city of Nahor, Haran, near to which the servant was now come: and it was

by a well of water: which place was chosen for the refreshment of his camels, as well as of himself and his men. Rauwolff (s) says, that near Haran, now called Orpha,"there is a plentiful well still to this day (1575), called Abraham's well, the water of which hath a more whitish troubledness than others. I have (says he) drank of it several times, out of the conduit that runs from thence into the middle the great camp, and it hath a peculiar pleasantness, and a pleasant sweetness in its taste.''The time of Abraham's servant coming hither was

at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water; which was the custom for women to do, for the necessary uses of their families; as it was especially in the eastern countries: and the Arabian women to this time, after they have been hard at work all day, weaving, or grinding, or making bread, at evening they set out with a pitcher or a goat's skin, and, tying their sucking children behind them, trudge it in this manner two or three miles to fetch water (t).

(r) Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Camel". (s) Travels, par. 2. ch. 10. p. 177. Ed. Ray. (t) Shaw's Travels, p. 241. Ed. 2.

And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
11. he made the camels to kneel down] Throughout this chapter the camels are made to play a very prominent part. The camels being made to kneel, in order to wait and rest until they are given water, is a common scene in the East.

the time that … to draw water] We have here a familiar scene from Oriental life. The well is outside the gate of the town. It is the women’s duty to draw water: cf. 1 Samuel 9:11; John 4:7. They come when the heat of the day is past.

Verse 11. - And he made his camels to kneel down - "a mode of expression taken from actual life. The action is literally kneeling; not stooping, sitting, or lying down on the side like a horse, but kneeling on his knees; and this the camel is taught to do from his youth" (Thomson, 'Land and Book,' p. 592) - without the city by a well of water. "In the East, where wells are scarce and water indispensable, the existence of a well or fountain determines the site of the village. The people build near it, but prefer to have it outside the city, to avoid the noise, dust, and confusion always occurring at it, especially if the place is on the highway (Ibid.). At the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. Literally, that women that draw go forth. "It is the work of females in the East to draw water both morning and evening; and they may be seen going in groups to the wells, with their vessels on the hip or on the, shoulder" (Roberts' Oriental Illustrations, p. 27). "About great cities men often carry, water, both on donkeys and on their own backs; but in the country, among the unsophisticated natives, women only go to the well or the fountain; and often, when traveling, have I seen long files of them going and returning with their pitchers "at the time when women go out to draw water" (Thomson, 'Land and Book,' p. 592). Genesis 24:11The servant then went, with ten camels and things of every description belonging to his master, into Mesopotamia to the city of Nahor, i.e., Haran, where Nahor dwelt (Genesis 11:31, and Genesis 12:4). On his arrival there, he made the camels kneel down, or rest, without the city by the well, "at the time of evening, the time at which the women come out to draw water," and at which, now as then, women and girls are in the habit of fetching the water required for the house (vid., Robinson's Palestine ii. 368ff.). He then prayed to Jehovah, the God of Abraham, "Let there come to meet me to-day," sc., the person desired, the object of my mission. He then fixed upon a sign connected with the custom of the country, by the occurrence of which he might decide upon the maiden (הנּער puella, used in the Pentateuch for both sexes, except in Deuteronomy 22:19, where נערה occurs) whom Jehovah had indicated as the wife appointed for His servant Isaac. הוכיח (Genesis 24:14) to set right, then to point out as right; not merely to appoint. He had scarcely ended his prayer when his request was granted. Rebekah did just what he had fixed upon as a token, not only giving him to drink, but offering to water his camels, and with youthful vivacity carrying out her promise. Niebuhr met with similar kindness in those regions (see also Robinson, Pal. ii. 351, etc.). The servant did not give himself blindly up to first impressions, however, but tested the circumstances.
Genesis 24:11 Interlinear
Genesis 24:11 Parallel Texts

Genesis 24:11 NIV
Genesis 24:11 NLT
Genesis 24:11 ESV
Genesis 24:11 NASB
Genesis 24:11 KJV

Genesis 24:11 Bible Apps
Genesis 24:11 Parallel
Genesis 24:11 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 24:11 Chinese Bible
Genesis 24:11 French Bible
Genesis 24:11 German Bible

Bible Hub

Genesis 24:10
Top of Page
Top of Page