Genesis 24:12
And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
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(12-14) O Lord God . . . —Heb., Jehovah, God of my lord Abraham. The word translated “master” throughout this chapter is ‘donai, the ordinary word for lord, and it is so rendered in Genesis 24:18. As a circumcised member of Abraham’s household, the servant prays to Jehovah, Abraham’s God; and though in Genesis 24:5 he had suggested a difficulty, apparently it was from no want of faith, but that he might know whether under any circumstances Isaac might return to Aram-Naharaim. He now leaves the success of his mission to Jehovah; and while he would use his own discernment in selecting from the troop of advancing maidens one whose countenance gave promise of goodness of heart, the fulfilment of the appointed signal which was to mark God’s approval would also show that she was no churlish woman, but one active, generous, and kind.

Send me good speed this day.—Heb., cause it to meet me this day.

I stand.—This word here, and in Genesis 24:43, is not the same as that used in Genesis 24:30, but one that means I post myself, or I take my station.

Thereby.—Rather, by her: by her giving the appointed sign I shall know that thou hast showed kindness to my lord.

The damsel.—This word (Heb., Na’ar) is of the common gender in the Pentateuch, except in Deuteronomy 22:19, where it has the feminine termination. It is used of Abraham’s young men in Genesis 14:24; Genesis 18:7, &c., but no less than twenty-two times of women. In the rest of the Bible the gender is always marked, and even here it is read in the feminine in the Jewish synagogues. We have herein another of the many linguistic proofs of the extreme antiquity of the Pentateuch, and it is the more interesting because found in a Jehovistic section. The same word is used again in Genesis 24:16; Genesis 24:28. (See Note on Genesis 43:8.)

Genesis 24:12. Send me good speed — What a noble example is here for all servants to imitate their masters in all goodness! Abraham’s servant, we find, had not lived in his master’s house without profiting by his example; he shows the like faith and dependance upon God as his master manifested; and this being a business of great consequence about which he is sent, he does not rest upon his own prudence and wisdom, but begs the blessing and direction of God in it. And what can be more desirable in our undertakings than to be under the guidance of infinite wisdom? And we have leave to be particular in recommending our affairs to the care of Divine Providence. Those that would have good speed must pray for it this day, in this affair. Thus we must, in all our ways, acknowledge God, and then he will direct our paths.

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.12. And he said, O Lord God of my master—The servant appears worthy of the master he served. He resolves to follow the leading of Providence; and while he shows good sense in the tokens he fixes upon of ascertaining the temper and character of the future bride, he never doubts but that in such a case God will direct him. Or, mercy. He makes no mention of himself, nor of the merits of his master, but he ascribes even temporal blessings, and much more eternal salvation, merely to God’s mercy.

And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham,.... He does not call the Lord his God, though no doubt he was, since he appears throughout the whole to be a good man; but the God of Abraham, because God had often manifested and renewed his covenant with Abraham in an eminent manner, and had bestowed many favours upon him, and admitted him to much nearness and communion with him; and it was not on his own account, but on his master's business he now was:

I pray thee, send me good speed this day; or "cause something to happen before me this day" (u); some extraordinary event, which depends not upon the will, or skill, or contrivance of men, but upon the pleasure of God; and which, with respect to second causes, men call hap or chance, but with respect to God, is according to his determinate counsel and will. The Targum of Jonathan is,"prepare now a decent wife before me this day.''But the servant's meaning is, that something might turn up in providence that would lead on to such an event:

and shew kindness unto my master Abraham; which he would be ready to acknowledge as a favour, an instance of kindness and mercy, and not merit.

(u) "occurere fae nune coram me", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; so Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt, Ainsworth.

And he said, O {f} LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.

(f) He grounds his prayer on God's promise made to his master.

12. O Lord, the God of my master] Referring to Genesis 24:7. The servant, though possibly (Genesis 15:2) a native of Damascus, worships the God of Abraham; cf. Genesis 24:26.

Verses 12-14. - And he said, - commencing his search for the maiden by prayer, as he closes it with thanksgiving (ver. 26) - a beautiful example of piety and of the fruits of Abraham's care for the souls of his household, Genesis 18:19 (Wordsworth) - O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day. Literally, cause to meet (or come before) me, i.e. what I wish, the maiden of whom I am in quest; hence εὐόδεσον ἐναντίον ἐμοῦ, make the way prosperous before me (LXX.); less accurately, occurre obsecro mihi (Vulgate). And show kindness unto my master Abraham. The personal humility and fidelity displayed by this aged servant are only less remarkable than the fervent piety and childlike faith which discover themselves in the method he adopts for finding the bride. Having cast the matter upon God by prayer, as a concern which specially belonged to him, he fixes upon a sign by which God should enable him to detect the bride designed for Isaac. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; literally, Behold me standing (cf. ver. 43) - and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water (vide on ver. 11, and cf. Genesis 29:9; Exodus 2:16): and let it come to pass that the damsel - הַגַּעַרָ, with the vowels of the Keri; the word used for Abraham's young men (cf. Genesis 14:24; Genesis 18:7; q.v.). In the Pentateuch it occurs twenty-two times, without the feminine termination, meaning a girl (vide Genesis 24:16, 28, 55; Genesis 34:3, 12; Deuteronomy 20:15, &c.); a proof of the antiquity of the Pentateuch, and of this so-called Jehovistic section in particular, since in the latter books the distinction of sex is indicated by the affix ה being appended when a girl is intended ('Speaker's Commentary'); but this happens at least once in the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 22:19) - to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: - the sign fixed upon was the kindly disposition of the maiden, which was to be evinced in a particular way, viz., by her not only acceding with promptitude to, but generously exceeding, his request It is probable that the servant was led to choose this sign not by his own natural tact and prudence, but by that Divine inspiration and guidance of which he had been assured (ver. 7) before setting out on his important mission - let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac. "The three qualifications in the mind of this venerable domestic for a bride for his master's son are a pleasing exterior, a kindly disposition, And the approval of God" (Murphy). And thereby - ἐν τούτῳ (LXX.), per hoc (Vulgate); but rather, by her, i.e. the damsel - shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master. Genesis 24:12The 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.
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