Genesis 24:8
And if the woman will not be willing to follow you, then you shall be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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. Thou shalt be clear from the obligation of this oath, and from the penalties of the violation of it. And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee,.... Or "but" if (m), which is said by Abraham, not as doubting she would be willing, of which he was satisfied, being persuaded that that God that had made him willing to leave his own country, and his father's house, would make her willing to do the like, and come and settle with his son in the land that God had given him; but this, and what follows, he said to make the mind of his servant easy, who had some doubt about it, or however was desirous of knowing how he must act should that be the case; and what it was he was to take an oath to do, and how far, and how far not, that would oblige him:

then thou shalt be clear from this my oath; which he enjoined his servant to take; the sense is, when he had done all he could to get the consent of the damsel, and her friends, to go with him and marry his master's son; and after all she could not be prevailed upon to come with him, then he was free from his oath, having done all that that obliged him to, and he not attempting to take one from any other quarter:

only bring not my son thither again; neither agree with the damsel and her parents, that he shall come to them, nor persuade him to comply with such terms.

(m) "sin autem", V. L.

And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. thou shalt be clear from this my oath] Cf. Genesis 24:41. The word “clear” is used in the sense of “innocent,” or “guiltless,” as in Joshua 2:17, “we will be guiltless of this thine oath.” “Clear” in this sense is old English. Cf. Shakespeare, Macb. i. 7, “… this Duncan … hath been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels.”After 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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