Genesis 24:4
But you shall go to my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife to my son Isaac.
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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. My country, i.e. Mesopotomia, Genesis 24:10, which being largely taken for the country between those two famous rivers Euphrates and Tigris, from which situation it hath that name; so Chaldea, whence Abraham came, Genesis 11:31 12:1, was a part of it.

My kindred, the family of Nahor, concerning the increase whereof he had received information, Genesis 22:20, &c., which he justly preferred before the Canaanites, partly because though they were idolaters, as appears from Genesis 31:19,30,32,35 Jos 24:2, yet they did worship the true God together with idols, as may be gathered from Genesis 24:31,50, and from other places; and therefore there was more hopes of the conversion of one of that family; and partly because they lived at a great distance from the place where Abraham and his posterity did and should live, and therefore one of that stock would be more easily disentangled from her superstition and idolatry, because she was removed from the influences of the evil counsels and examples of her nearest relations, and partly because they were of the race of blessed Shem, and not of cursed Canaan. But thou shalt go unto my country,.... Not Canaan, which though his by promise, yet not in possession, but Mesopotamia, as appears from Genesis 24:10; which taken largely included the Chaldea, see Acts 7:2, the country where Abraham was born, and from whence he came:

and to my kindred; the family of Nahor his brother, which now dwelt at Haran in Mesopotamia, called the city of Nahor, Genesis 24:10; see Genesis 29:4; of the increase of whose family Abraham had heard a few years ago, Genesis 22:20,

and take a wife to my son Isaac; from among them, who though they were not clear of superstition and idolatry, yet they worshipped the true God with their "idols"; and a woman taken out of such a family, and removed at a distance from it, it might be reasonably concluded would be brought off of those things, and adhere to the pure and undefiled religion; and the rather this family was chosen, not only because related to Abraham, but because it had sprung from Shem, who was blessed of God, and whose God the Lord was; nearness of kin was no objection and hinderance to such a marriage, the laws relating to marriage not being given till the time of Moses.

But thou shalt go unto my {c} country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

(c) He did not want his son to marry out of the godly family: for the problems that come from marrying the ungodly are set forth in various places throughout the scriptures.

4. my country … kindred] Here, as in Genesis 28:2 (P), the country and kindred of Abraham are to be sought, not in Ur of the Chaldees, but in the land of Haran, or Paddan-aram; cf. Genesis 24:7.

take a wife for my son Isaac] It was customary for the father to select a bride for his son; cf. Genesis 34:4; Jdg 14:2. The same custom prevailed in Babylon, as appears from the Code of Hammurabi, § 155, “if a man betroth a maiden to his son,” &c.

“Marriage between cousins has been and still is particularly common in the East (cp. Genesis 24:4; Genesis 29:19; 1 Kings 14:31; 1 Kings 15:2), and the tie between them is closer and more sacred than that between an ordinary couple” (Burckhardt, Ar. Prov., quoted in Stanley Cook, p. 99)."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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