Genesis 24:16
And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
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(16) She went down to the well.—The water, therefore, was reached by a flight of steps, the usual rule wherever the well was fed by a natural spring. Cisterns, on the contrary, supplied from the rains were narrower at the top than at the bottom.

Mr. Malan (Philosophy or Truth, p. 93), in an interesting account of his visit to this well, says that on going out from Haran in the evening to examine it, he found “a group of women filling, no longer their pitchers, since the steps down which Rebekah went to fetch the water are now blocked up, but their water-skins by drawing water at the well’s mouth. Everything around that well bears signs of age and of the wear of time; for as it is the only well of drinkable water there, it is much resorted to. Other wells are only for watering the flocks. There we find the troughs of various height for camels, for sheep and for goats, for kids and for lambs; there the women wear nose-rings and bracelets on their arms, some of gold or of silver, and others of brass, or even of glass.”

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.The answer is immediate and direct. "He had not yet done speaking," when the answer came. A damsel "very fair to look upon," satisfying the taste of the old man, appears. He thereupon prefers his request, with which she promptly complies. The old man waits in wonder and silence to see if the Lord's approval will follow.15-21. before he had done speaking … behold, Rebekah came out—As he anticipated, a young woman unveiled, as in pastoral regions, appeared with her pitcher on her shoulder. Her comely appearance, her affable manners, her obliging courtesy in going down the steps to fetch water not only to him but to pour it into the trough for his camels, afforded him the most agreeable surprise. She was the very person his imagination had pictured, and he proceeded to reward her civility. She was a virgin not only in title and show, but in truth, for no man had known her, i.e. corrupted her.

And the damsel was very fair to look upon,.... Of a good countenance and beautiful aspect: a virgin:

neither had any man known her; not only was reckoned a virgin, but was really one, pure and incorrupt:

and she went down to the well and filled her pitcher, and came up; by which it appears the well lay low, there was a descent unto it, and an ascent from it. Rebekah was very diligent and speedy in doing her work, she did not stay to look at strangers, or hold an idle conversation with other damsels that came thither on the same account; but, having filled her pitcher, was making the best of her way home.

And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she {i} went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

(i) Here is declared that God hears the prayers of his own, and grants their requests.

Verse 16. - And the damsel was very fair to look upon. Literally, good of countenance, like Sarah (Genesis 12:11) and Rachel (Genesis 29:17; cf. Genesis 26:7 of Rebekah). A virgin. Bethulah, i.e. one separated and secluded from intercourse with men; from batik, to seclude (cf. Deuteronomy 22:23, 28; 2 Samuel 13:2, 18). Neither had any man known her. A repetition for the sake of emphasis, rather than because bethulah sometimes applies to a married woman (Joel 1:8). And she went down to the well, - "nearly all wells in the East are in wadys, and have steps down to the water" (Thomson, 'Land and Book,' p. 592) - and filled her pitcher, and came up - probably wholly unconscious of the old man's admiration, though by no means unprepared for his request, which immediately followed. Genesis 24:16The 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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