Genesis 24:22
And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Earring.—Really nose-ring; for in Genesis 24:47 the man places it on her nose, wrongly translated face in our version. The word occurs again in Ezekiel 16:12, where it is rendered jewel, and again is placed “on the nose;” it is also similarly translated jewel in Proverbs 11:22, where it is placed in “a swine’s snout.” It was hung not from the central cartilage of the nose, but from the left nostril, the flesh of which was pierced for the purpose; and such rings are still the usual betrothal present in Arabia, and are commonly worn both there and in Persia, made not only of gold and of silver but of coral, mother-of-pearl, and even cheaper materials. (See Quotation in Note on Genesis 24:16.) Its weight, about a quarter of an ounce, would make it not more disfiguring than many of the personal ornaments worn at the present time.

Bracelets are profusely worn at this day by Oriental women, the whole arm to the elbow being usually covered by them.

Genesis 24:22. Two bracelets of ten shekels weight of gold — That is, about six ounces. According to Sir J. Chardin, the women wear rings and bracelets of as great weight as this through all Asia, and even much heavier. St. Paul and St. Peter have directed Christians to a more excellent way of adorning themselves; “not with gold, or pearls, or costly array, but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works;” “whose adorning, let it not be that outward plaiting of the hair, and of wearing of gold, but in that which is not corruptible, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which, in the sight of God, is of great price.”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.Rebekah makes herself known in reply to his inquiries. "A ring of gold." The single ring was worn in the nose, the side cartilage of which was pierced for the purpose. This is a custom of the East. "A beka" was half a shekel, somewhat less than a quarter of an ounce. "Ten of gold in weight." Ten bekas would be about two ounces and a quarter. If shekels, however, be understood, the weight will be double. These were merely a reward for her kindness and courtesy to a stranger. Two questions are now asked by the stranger - the one relating to her kindred, and the other to the means and the inclination they had to entertain a stranger, when inns were not yet in existence. She announces herself to be the daughter of his master's nephew, and assures him of the requisite accommodation.22. the man took a golden earring, &c.—The ring was not for the ear, but the nose; the armlets, such as young women in Syria and Arabia still appear daily at wells decked in. They are worn from the elbow to the wrist, commonly made of silver, copper, brass, or horn. The man took, i.e. gave to her, (as that word of taking, or receiving, is oft used, as Genesis 12:19 Exodus 18:12 29:25 Psalm 68:18, compared with Ephesians 4:8),

a golden earring; so the word signifies, Genesis 35:4 Exodus 32:2,3. Or, jewels for the forehead, which hung down from the forehead to the nose, or between the eyes. So the word is used, Genesis 24:47 Ezekiel 16:12. And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking,.... Having had enough to abate their thirst and satisfy them, by means of Rebekah's drawing water for them:

that the man took a golden earring; out of his pocket, or out of a box or parcel that was upon the camels; it is in the margin of our Bibles, "a jewel for the forehead"; or, as some render it, a "nose jewel" (y); and so in Genesis 24:47, "an earring upon her face", or "nose"; and this was a jewel that hung from the forehead upon a lace or ribbon between the eyes down upon the nose; and such the daughters of Sion wore in later times, Isaiah 3:21; see Ezekiel 16:12; and nose jewels are still in use with the Levant Arabs, as Dr. Shaw (z) relates. Rauwolff (a), who travelled through Mesopotamia and the parts adjacent in 1574, says of the women in those parts that are of greater substance, and have a mind to be richer and finer in their dress, that they wear silver and gold rings in one of their nostrils, wherein are set garnets, turquoise, rubies, and pearls: and in Egypt they wear nose jewels (b) and small gold rings in their right nostrils, with a piece of coral set in them (c) and this earring or jewel was

of half a shekel weight; which was eighty barley corns, for a whole shekel weighed one hundred and sixty. The Targum of Jonathan is,"the weight of a drachma, which was the half of a didrachma or common shekel:"

and two bracelets for her hands, of ten shekels weight of gold; a shekel of gold, according to Calmet (d), was worth eighteen shillings and three pence of English money, so that ten of them amount to nine pounds two shillings and six pence; according to Waserus (e), these made twenty Hungarian pieces of gold, which were worth upwards of ninety pounds of Swiss money. A handsome present this was, and suitable to a virgin. Jarchi and Jonathan allegorize the two bracelets of the two tables of the law, and the ten shekels of the ten commands on them.

(y) "imponeret naso ejus monile aureum", Junius & Tremellius. (z) Travels, p. 241. Ed. 2.((a) Travels, par. 2. ch. 5. p. 128, 129. (b) Pitts's Account of Mahometanism, p. 68. (c) Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 85. (d) Dictionary, in the word "Shekel". (e) De Antiqu. numis, Heb. l. 2. c. 10.

And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden {k} earring of {l} half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;

(k) God permitted many things both in apparel and other things which are now forbidden especially when they do not suit our humble estate.

(l) The golden shekel is meant here, not silver.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. a golden ring] The ring (nezem) was probably a nose-ring, cf. Genesis 24:47. So the Samaritan version here reads “and put it on her nose.” LXX ἐνώτια, Lat. inaures = “earrings.”

See for the nezem Proverbs 11:22, Isaiah 3:21, Ezekiel 16:12, where in each case a nose-jewel is indicated.

half a shekel weight] Heb. beḳa. See Exodus 38:26. Half a shekel weighed one quarter of an ounce. There is only mention of one ring, and this is of light weight. The two bracelets weighed 10 shekels, or 5 ounces. These gifts reward her kindness in a lavish manner, and lead up to the request for a lodging at her home. On the shekel, see Genesis 20:16, Genesis 23:15.Verses 22-27. - And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, - "If it is remembered that camels, though endowed in an almost marvelous degree with the power of enduring thirst, drink, when an opportunity offers, an enormous quantity of water, it will be acknowledged that the trouble to which the maiden cheerfully submitted required more than ordinary, patience" (Kalisch) - that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, - the נֶזֶם, was neither a pendant for the ear (LXX., Vulgate) nor a jewel for the forehead (A.V., margin), but a ring for the nose (ver. 47), the side cartilage, and sometimes the central wall, of which was pierced for the purpose of admitting it (cf. Ezekiel 16:11, 12). Such rings are still worn by Oriental women, and in particular "the nose-ring is now the usual engagement present among the Bedouins" (Delitzsch). The weight of that presented to Rebekah was one בֶקַע, or half (sc. shekel), from בָקַע, to divide - and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; - the עָמִיר, from צָמַר, to bind or fasten, meant a circle of gold for the wrist or arm. So favorite an ornament is this of Oriental ladies, that sometimes the whole arm from wrist to elbow is covered with them; some- times two or more are worn one above the other; and not infrequently are they so numerous and heavy as almost to appear burdensome to the fair owners (Kalisch) - and said, Whose daughter art thou! tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in? The production of the bridal presents, and the tenor of the old man's inquiries, indicate that already he entertained the belief that he looked upon the object of his search. All dubiety was dispelled by Rebekah's answer. And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, - to show that she was not descended from Nahor's concubine (cf. ver. 15) - which she bare unto Nahor. This appears to have been the stage at which the jewels were presented (ver. 47). She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. It was now conclusively determined, by her answering all the pre-arranged criteria, that the Lord had heard his prayer and prospered his way, and that the heaven-appointed bride stood before him. And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord. The first verb expressing reverent inclination of the head, and the second complete prostration of the body, and both combining "to indicate the aged servant's deep thankfulness for the guidance of the Lord." And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham (on the import of בָּרוּך vide Genesis 2:26), who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: - literally, who hath not taken away his grace (i.e. the free favor which bestows) and ale truth (i.e. the faithfulness which implements promises) from ( = from the house of, as in Exodus 8:8, 25, 26; Gesenius) my master (cf. Psalm 57:3; Psalm 115:1; Proverbs 20:28) - I being in the way, the Lord led (or, hath led) me to the house of my master's brethren. The 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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