Genesis 24:57
And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Genesis 24:57. Call the damsel, and inquire — As children ought not to marry without their parents’ consent, so parents ought not to marry them without their own. Before the matter is resolved on, ask at the damsel’s mouth; she is a party concerned, and therefore ought to be principally consulted.24:54-67 Abraham's servant, as one that chose his work before his pleasure, was for hastening home. Lingering and loitering no way become a wise and good man who is faithful to his duty. As children ought not to marry without their parents' consent, so parents ought not to marry them without their own. Rebekah consented, not only to go, but to go at once. The goodness of Rebekah's character shows there was nothing wrong in her answer, though it be not agreeable to modern customs among us. We may hope that she had such an idea of the religion and godliness in the family she was to go to, as made her willing to forget her own people and her father's house. Her friends dismiss her with suitable attendants, and with hearty good wishes. They blessed Rebekah. When our relations are entering into a new condition, we ought by prayer to commend them to the blessing and grace of God. Isaac was well employed when he met Rebekah. He went out to take the advantage of a silent evening, and a solitary place, for meditation and prayer; those divine exercises by which we converse with God and our own hearts. Holy souls love retirement; it will do us good to be often alone, if rightly employed; and we are never less alone than when alone. Observe what an affectionate son Isaac was: it was about three years since his mother died, and yet he was not, till now, comforted. See also what an affectionate husband he was to his wife. Dutiful sons promise fair to be affectionate husbands; he that fills up his first station in life with honour, is likely to do the same in those that follow.The servant's return with Rebekah. So plain an interposition of Providence admits of no refusal on the part of those who revere the Lord. Bethuel now appears as a concurring party. Laban, as the full brother of Rebekah, has a voice in the disposal of her hand; but the father only has the power to ratify the contract. The patriarch's servant first bows in acknowledgment to the Lord, who had now manifested his approval of the choice he had made, and then proceeds to distribute costly gifts to the bride, and to her brother and mother. Now at length the thankful guest partakes of the fare set before him along with his entertainers, and after the night's repose requests to be dismissed. "A few days;" perhaps a week or ten days. The mother and brother naturally plead for a little time to prepare for parting with Rebekah. They could not expect the servant, however, to stay months.

"Inquire at her mouth." This is the only free choice in the matter that seems to be given to Rebekah. Her consent may have been modestly indicated, before her family ratified the contract. It is plain, however, that it was thought proper that the parents should receive and decide upon a proposal of marriage. The extent to which the maiden's inclinations would be consulted would depend very much on the custom of the country, and the intelligence and good feeling of the parents. In later times the custom became very arbitrary. Rebekah's decision shows that she concurred in the consent of her relatives. "And her nurse." Her name, we learn afterward Genesis 35:8, was Deborah. The nurse accompanied the bride as her confidential adviser and faithful attendant, and died in her service; a beautiful trait of ancient manners. The blessing consists in a boundless offspring, and the upper hand over their enemies. These are indicative of a thin population, and a comparatively rude state of society. "And her damsels." We here learn, again, incidentally, that Rebekah had more female attendants than her nurse.

53. And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and … gold—These are the usual articles, with money, that form a woman's dowry among the pastoral tribes. Rebekah was betrothed and accompanied the servant to Canaan. i.e. Understand her mind by her words, not so much concerning the marriage itself, in which she resigned up herself to the disposal of her parents and friends, and to which she had given an implicit consent by her acceptance of those presents which were made to her for that end, as concerning the hastiness of her departure. And they said, we will call the damsel,.... Who perhaps through modesty had withdrawn herself to her own apartment, while the man and her friends were discoursing on this subject:

and inquire at her mouth; what she says to it, whether willing to go directly or not; the matter in question was referred to her, and left to her decision.

And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at {c} her mouth.

(c) This shows that parents do not have the authority to marry their children without the consent of both parties.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Laban and Bethuel recognised in this the guidance of God, and said, "From Jehovah (the God of Abraham) the thing proceedeth; we cannot speak unto thee bad or good," i.e., cannot add a word, cannot alter anything (Numbers 24:13; 2 Samuel 13:22). That Rebekah's brother Laban should have taken part with her father in deciding, was in accordance with the usual custom (cf. Genesis 34:5, Genesis 34:11, Genesis 34:25; Judges 21:22; 2 Samuel 13:22), which may have arisen from the prevalence of polygamy, and the readiness of the father to neglect the children (daughters) of the wife he cared for least.
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