Genesis 24:3
And I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
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Genesis 24:3. I will make thee swear — This was both for Abraham’s own satisfaction, and to engage his servant to all possible care and diligence in this important business. Thus God swears his servants to their work, that, having sworn, they may perform it. By the Lord, (Hebrews Jehovah,) the God of heaven and the God of earth — Observe with what reverence Abraham speaks of God, and with what solemnity this oath is administered and taken! And see how careful Abraham is that his son should not marry one of corrupt principles and manners. He was in such high esteem among the Canaanites, that, undoubtedly, he could have married Isaac to a daughter of one of the princes of the land. But he saw that the Canaanites were degenerating into great wickedness, and knew that they were designed for ruin; and he would not marry his son among them, lest they should be a snare to his soul. To obtain for him, as a partner in life, a person of piety and virtue, is his chief, if not his sole concern, and therefore he sends even to a distant country for such a one. Alas! how different is this from the conduct of many! Wealth and dignity are the chief objects they fix their thoughts on in marrying their children. They seek not in their choice those that are sincere and devout worshippers of God, but those who have the largest possessions; not those rich in good works, but those rich in the world. And this, perhaps, is one chief and principal cause of the great corruption of manners among us.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.The appeal is to God as "Yahweh, God of heaven and God of the earth." Yahweh is the personal name of God, which is properly used by those who are in fellowship with him. He is the Author of all being, and therefore of heaven and earth; and hence the arbiter of the destiny of the oath-taker, both in spiritual and material things, both in this life and in what is to come. "Not of the daughters of the Kenaanite," a race sinking fast into ungodliness and unrighteousness, doomed to extirpation, to whom the promised seed is to succeed. The kindred of Abraham were Shemites, Hebrews, and still retained some knowledge of the true God, and some reverence for him and his will. The experienced elder of Abraham's house does not wish to bind himself by an oath to what it may be impossible to fulfill. He makes the supposition of the unwillingness of the bride whom he may select, and obtains a quittance from his oath in that ease. The patriarch, however, charges him not to bring his son back to the land of his fathers, and expresses his confidence in the God of promise, that he will direct his servant to the suitable wife for his son. "His angel" Genesis 16:7. This is the Lord in the function of an angel or messenger opening the way for the servant of Abraham. He does not make any appearance to the servant, though a superintending Providence is strikingly displayed in the whole affair. The faithful elder now understands and takes the required oath.3. thou shalt not take a wife, &c.—Among pastoral tribes the matrimonial arrangements are made by the parents, and a youth must marry, not among strangers, but in his own tribe—custom giving him a claim, which is seldom or never resisted, to the hand of his first cousin. But Abraham had a far higher motive—a fear lest, if his son married into a Canaanitish family, he might be gradually led away from the true God. i.e. Not persuade nor engage my son to take; for Isaac, though forty years old, was not only willing to be governed by his father in this affair, but also to hearken to the counsel of this wise and faithful servant, of whom both his father and himself had such long and large experience. He knew that

the Canaanites were not only gross idolaters and heinous sinners, for so many others were; but that they were a people under God’s peculiar curse, Genesis 9:25, and devoted to extirpation and utter destruction, which was to be inflicted upon them by Abraham’s posterity; and therefore to marry his son to such persons had been a high degree of self-murder, whereby the holy and blessed seed had been in danger of great infection from them, and utter ruin with them. And Abraham’s practice was afterwards justified by God, who hath oft showed his dislike of such unequal matches of his people with those infidels and idolaters, by severe prohibitions and sharp censures. See Exodus 34:16 Deu 7:3 Joshua 23:12 Ezra 9:1-3 Nehemiah 13:23,25 2 Corinthians 6:14,15. And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of earth,.... The Maker and possessor of heaven and earth, by whom Abraham used to swear whenever he did, and by whom only men should swear, see Genesis 14:22. The Targum of Jonathan is,"I will make thee swear by the name of the Word of the Lord God,''which strengthens the sense given of the rite before observed:

that thou wilt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; these being not only idolaters, and very wicked people, degenerated yet more and more, but were the seed of the accursed Canaan; and who in process of time would be dispossessed of the land, and be destroyed. Now though Isaac was forty years of age, and one would think at an age sufficient to have chosen a wife for himself; but as Abraham knew that he had a great respect for this servant, and would be influenced by him in such a choice, and especially as this affair was now about to be committed to his care, and no doubt with the consent of Isaac, therefore he thus charges and adjures him.

And I will make thee {b} swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:

(b) This shows that an oath may be required in a lawful cause.

3. the God of heaven … earth] This solemn title of Jehovah as God of the whole universe is more common in later Hebrew writings; cf. Ezra 5:11. This form of adjuration indicates the conviction of the writer that the God of the Hebrews was the God of the whole world, not merely of a particular locality or nation: compare Genesis 18:25. No change of country, no lapse of time, would constitute an exemption from the binding character of the oath.

of the daughters of the Canaanites] The dread of the marriage of an Israelite with a Canaanite which is found here, is also expressed in Genesis 26:34-35, Genesis 27:46; Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3; Ezra 9:2. For “Canaanite,” cf. Genesis 10:18-19, Genesis 12:6, Genesis 13:7 (J).

Religious feeling underlies this prohibition. The purity of the Hebrew race is to be maintained. Intermarriage would involve participation in religious rites. Separateness would give a corresponding freedom from moral contamination."Thus arose (ויּקם) the Abraham for a possession;" i.e., it was conveyed to him in all due legal form. The expression "the field of Ephron which is at Machpelah" may be explained, according to Genesis 23:9, from the fact that the cave of Machpelah was at the end of the field, the field, therefore, belonged to it. In Genesis 23:19 the shorter form, "cave of Machpelah," occurs; and in Genesis 23:20 the field is distinguished from the cave. The name Machpelah is translated by the lxx as a common noun, τὸ σπήλαιον τὸ διπλοῦν, from מכפּלה doubling; but it had evidently grown into a proper name, since it is sued not only of the cave, but of the adjoining field also (Genesis 49:30; Genesis 50:13), though it undoubtedly originated in the form of the cave. The cave was before, i.e., probably to the east of, the grove of Mamre, which was in the district of Hebron. This description cannot be reconciled with the tradition, which identifies Mamre and the cave with Ramet el Khalil, where the strong foundation-walls of an ancient heathen temple (according to Rosenmller's conjecture, an Idumaean one) are still pointed out as Abraham's house, and where a very old terebinth stood in the early Christian times; for this is an hour's journey to the north of modern Hebron, and even the ancient Hebron cannot have stretched so far over the mountains which separate the modern city from Rameh, but must also, according to Genesis 37:14, have been situated in the valley (see Robinson's later Biblical Researches, pp. 365ff.). There is far greater probability in the Mohammedan tradition, that the Harem, built of colossal blocks with grooved edges, which stands on the western slope of the Beabireh mountain, in the north-western portion of the present town, contains hidden within it the cave of Machpelah with the tomb of the patriarchs (cf. Robinson, Pal. ii. 435ff.); and Rosen. is induced to look for Mamre on the eastern slope of the Rumeidi hill, near to the remarkable well Ain el Jedid.
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