Genesis 24:4
But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto 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).

Genesis 24:4After the death of Sarah, Abraham had still to arrange for the marriage of Isaac. He was induced to provide for this in a mode in harmony with the promise of God, quite as much by his increasing age as by the blessing of God in everything, which necessarily instilled the wish to transmit that blessing to a distant posterity. He entrusted this commission to his servant, "the eldest of his house," - i.e., his upper servant, who had the management of all his house (according to general opinion, to Eliezer, whom he had previously thought of as the heir of his property, but who would now, like Abraham, be extremely old, as more than sixty years had passed since the occurrence related in Genesis 15:2), - and made him swear that he would not take a wife for his son from the daughters of the Canaanites, but would fetch one from his (Abraham's) native country, and his kindred. Abraham made the servant take an oath in order that his wishes might be inviolably fulfilled, even if he himself should die in the interim. In swearing, the servant put his hand under Abraham's hip. This custom, which is only mentioned here and in Genesis 47:29, the so-called bodily oath, was no doubt connected with the significance of the hip as the part from which the posterity issued (Genesis 46:26), and the seat of vital power; but the early Jewish commentators supposed it to be especially connected with the rite of circumcision. The oath was by "Jehovah, God of heaven and earth," as the God who rules in heaven and on earth, not by Elohim; for it had respect not to an ordinary oath, but to a question of great importance in relation to the kingdom of God. "Isaac was not regarded as a merely pious candidate for matrimony, but as the heir of the promise, who must therefore be kept from any alliance with the race whose possessions were to come to his descendants, and which was ripening for the judgment to be executed by those descendants" (Hengstenberg, Dissertations i. 350). For this reason the rest of the negotiation was all conducted in the name of Jehovah.
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