Genesis 24:49
And now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
24:29-53 The making up of the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah is told very particularly. We are to notice God's providence in the common events of human life, and in them to exercise prudence and other graces. Laban went to ask Abraham's servant in, but not till he saw the ear-ring, and bracelet upon his sister's hands. We know Laban's character, by his conduct afterwards, and may think that he would not have been so free to entertain him, if he had not hoped to be well rewarded for it. The servant was intent upon his business. Though he was come off a journey, and come to a good house, he would not eat till he had told his errand. The doing our work, and the fulfilling our trusts, either for God or man, should be preferred by us before our food: it was our Saviour's meat and drink, Joh 4:34. He tells them the charge his master had given him, with the reason of it. He relates what had happened at the well, to further the proposal, plainly showing the finger of God in it. Those events which to us seem the effect of choice, contrivance, or chance, are appointed out of God. This hinders not, but rather encourages the use of all proper means. They freely and cheerfully close with the proposal; and any matter is likely to be comfortable, when it proceeds from the Lord. Abraham's servant thankfully acknowledges the good success he had met with. He was a humble man, and humble men are not ashamed to own their situation in life, whatever it may be. All our temporal concerns are sweet if intermixed with godliness.The reception of Abraham's servant. Laban now comes on the scene. He is ready to run with his sister to find the man, and invite him, as a matter of course, to his father's house. "When he saw the ring." The presents to his sister assure him that this is the envoy of some man of wealth and position. "Thou blessed of the Lord." The name of Yahweh was evidently not unfamiliar to Laban's ears. He calls this stranger "blessed of Yahweh," on account of his language, demeanor, and manifest prosperity. The knowledge and worship of the living God, the God of truth and mercy, was still retained in the family of Nahor. Being warmly invited, the man enters the house. "And he ungirded the camels." Laban is the actor here, and in the following duties of hospitality. "The men's feet that were with him." It comes out here, incidentally, as it was reasonable to infer from the number of camels, that Abraham's steward had a retinue of servants with him. The crowning act of an Eastern reception is the presenting of food. But the faithful servant must deliver his message before partaking of the friendly meal.

Verse 34-49

The servant's errand is told. He explains his business in a singularly artless and pleasing manner. He then leaves the matter in the hands of the family. "Given unto him all that he hath." His children by Hagar and Keturah were dismissed with portions during his life, and the main bulk of his property was conveyed to Isaac.

32-49. the man came into the house, &c.—What a beautiful picture of piety, fidelity, and disinterestedness in a servant! He declined all attention to his own comforts till he had told his name and his errand. If you will show true kindness and real friendship to him in giving your daughter to his son,

tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may look out a wife for him elsewhere. It is a proverbial expression, Numbers 20:17 22:26 Deu 2:27. And now, if you deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me,.... The servant directs himself to more than one, to the whole family, especially to Laban and Bethuel; if you will do my master a kindness, and grant him the favour he requests, that a damsel of this family may be given for a wife to his son; and, if you are hearty and sincere in granting this, tell me at once:

and if not, tell me: if you do not choose to gratify my master, and are not hearty in this matter, let me know:

that I may turn to the right hand or to the left; look out elsewhere among the daughters of some of the other sons of Nahor; for he had seven more which Milcah bare to him besides Bethuel, as well as four others by a concubine, Genesis 22:20; though some of the Jewish writers (o) by "the right hand" understand the daughters of Ishmael, that dwelt to the right, and by "the left hand" the daughters of Lot, who were to the left, which is not likely: it seems to be only a proverbial expression, that, if they did not choose to attend to his proposal in his master's name, he must take some other method, as he might be directed; he knew not for the present which way, whether he should steer his course to the right or left, but some way he must take. The Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,"to the south or to the north;''because when a man stands with his face to the east, the south is on his right hand, and the north on his left.

(o) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 60. fol. 53. 1. Jarchi in loc.

And now if ye will deal {z} kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the {a} right hand, or to the left.

(z) If you will freely and faithfully give your daughter to my master's son.

(a) That is, that I may look elsewhere.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
49. deal kindly and truly] Lit. “do kindness and truth”; cf. Genesis 47:29. See note on Genesis 24:27.

to the right hand, or to the left] The servant asks for a prompt reply, so that, if his request is refused, he may consider what course next to pursue. For fanciful Rabbinic interpretations of “the right hand and the left,” cf. Calvin’s note, futilis autem argutia quam adducunt quidam Hebraei quod iturus sit ad Lot vel ad Ismael.As soon as Laban her brother had seen the splendid presents and heard her account, he hurried out to the stranger at the well, to bring him to the house with his attendants and animals, and to show to him the customary hospitality of the East. The fact that Laban addressed him as the blessed of Jehovah (Genesis 24:31), may be explained from the words of the servant, who had called his master's God Jehovah. The servant discharged his commission before he partook of the food set before him (the Kethibh ויישׂם in Genesis 24:33 is the imperf. Kal of ישׂם equals שׂוּם); and commencing with his master's possessions and family affairs, he described with the greatest minuteness his search for a wife, and the success which he had thus far met with, and then (in Genesis 24:49) pressed his suit thus: "And now, if he will show kindness and truth to my lord, tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand or to the left," sc., to seek in other families a wife for Isaac.
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