INTRODUCTION TO Genesis 24
This chapter shows Abraham's concern to get a suitable wife for his son Isaac, for which purpose he commits the affair into the hands of his eldest servant, and makes him swear that he will not take one from among the Canaanites, but out of his own country, and from among his own kindred, Genesis 24:1; which his servant agreed to, after having the nature of his charge, and of the oath, explained to him, Genesis 24:5; upon which he departed to Mesopotamia, and coming to the city of Nahor, and to a well near it, he prayed for success, and desired direction by a token, which was granted him, Genesis 24:10; and inquiring of the damsel, who answered to the token, whose daughter she was, and whether they had room for him and his in their house; and an agreeable answer being returned, he gave thanks to God that had directed him, and had so far made his journey prosperous, Genesis 24:23; the damsel acquainting her parents whom and what she met with at the well, a brother of her steps out, and invites the servant in, and makes him welcome, Genesis 24:28; but before he would eat anything, he tells his errand he was come upon, at the instance of his master; how, he had prayed for direction, and was heard, and for which he had given thanks, Genesis 24:34; and then treats with the relations of the damsel about her marriage to his master's son, to which they agreed, Genesis 24:49; and after having blessed God, and given his presents he brought with him to the damsel, and her family, and ate and drank with them, was for departing the next morning, Genesis 24:52; but the friends of the damsel being desirous of her stay with them some few days, and he urgent to be gone, the affair was referred to her, and she agreed to go with him directly, Genesis 24:55; upon which they dismissed her with their blessing, Genesis 24:59; who being met by Isaac in the way, was received and introduced into his mother's tent, and married by him, Genesis 24:61.
And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age,.... Being now one hundred and forty years of age, for as he was an hundred years old when Isaac was born, and Isaac was forty years of age when he married Rebekah, which was at this time, Abraham must be of the age mentioned, see Genesis 21:5,
and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things; with all kind of blessings, with temporal and spiritual blessings; the former seems chiefly designed here, because of what follows; God had blessed him, as Aben Ezra observes, with long life, and riches, and honour, and children, things desirable by men.
And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house,.... To Eliezer his servant, according to the Targum of Jonathan, and as is generally thought; and who may well be called an old servant, and his oldest servant, since he must have lived with him fifty years and upwards; one may trace him near sixty years in Abraham's family, and it is highly probable he lived much longer; he was his servant when he had the vision between the pieces, Genesis 15:2; and then he was the steward of his house, and bid fair to be his heir; which was some time before Hagar was given to Abraham; and Ishmael his son by Hagar was fourteen years of age when Isaac was born, and he was now forty years old, which make fifty five years, or thereabout. Bishop Usher places the vision of the pieces in A. M. 2092, and the marriage of Isaac in 2148, some fifty six years from each other; and so long Eliezer, if he is the servant here meant, must have been in Abraham's family, and how much longer cannot with certainty be said:
that ruled over all that he had; had the care and management of his house, and the affairs of it under him; this agrees with the character of Eliezer in Genesis 15:2,
put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: as a token of his subjection to him as a servant, and of his readiness, willingness, and fidelity to execute any commands he should lay upon him, and in order to take an oath, as appears by what follows; for it seems this rite was used in swearing, and is still used in India, as Aben Ezra affirms; and some say among the Ethiopians. The Jewish writers are pretty much of opinion that respect is had to the covenant of circumcision, by which Abraham made his servant to swear, which is not likely: rather respect is had to his seed, the promised Messiah, that should spring from his thigh, by whom the adjuration was made, as follows: though Dr. Clayton (k) thinks this is no other than an equivalent term for approaching in an humble servile manner, and means no more than "come near me", and I will make thee swear; and that, as a respectable method of approach with the Egyptian, as Herodotus (l) relates, was by bowing the body reciprocally when they met, and saluted one another, and by carrying their hands to each other's knee; so some such like ceremony as embracing the knee, and putting the hand under or round the thigh, might be used by servants when they approached their masters; but it should be observed, that this same rite or ceremony was required of Joseph, governor of Egypt, by his father Jacob; see Genesis 47:29.
(k) Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 130, 131. (l) Euterpe sive, l. 2.
And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of earth,.... The Maker and possessor of heaven and earth, by whom Abraham used to swear whenever he did, and by whom only men should swear, see Genesis 14:22. The Targum of Jonathan is,"I will make thee swear by the name of the Word of the Lord God,''which strengthens the sense given of the rite before observed:
that thou wilt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; these being not only idolaters, and very wicked people, degenerated yet more and more, but were the seed of the accursed Canaan; and who in process of time would be dispossessed of the land, and be destroyed. Now though Isaac was forty years of age, and one would think at an age sufficient to have chosen a wife for himself; but as Abraham knew that he had a great respect for this servant, and would be influenced by him in such a choice, and especially as this affair was now about to be committed to his care, and no doubt with the consent of Isaac, therefore he thus charges and adjures him.
But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.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.
And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?And the servant said unto him,.... Before he would take the oath, being cautious of it, and desirous of knowing how far it reached, and what it would or would not oblige him to, which was prudently done:
peradventure the woman will not be to follow me into this land; supposing this should be the case, as it is not unlikely that the woman would object to coming along with him to the land of Canaan, and insist upon Isaac's coming into her country, and dwelling there, what must then be done?
must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? that is, must I agree with the woman on these terms, and promise that Isaac shall come and dwell with her in Mesopotamia? Now there was good reason for the servant's putting this question, since he was neither ignorant of the call of Abraham out of that laud, no more to return to it, nor of the promise of the land of Canaan to him and his posterity: and as for bringing Isaac "again", where he never had been in person, this may be accounted for by his being in the loins of Abraham when he was there, and came from thence, as Levi is said to be in his loins when he paid tithes to Melchizedek, and to pay them in him, Hebrews 7:9; and in like manner he might be said to be brought again, or return to Abraham's country, should he ever go there, as all the seed of Abraham are said in the fourth generation to come to Canaan again, though they had none of them been in person there before, Genesis 15:16; besides, as Drusius observes, to bring again, or return, signifies sometimes only to bring on, or to go to some certain place, see Ruth 1:10; however, the justness of the expression is confirmed by Abraham's answer in the next words.
And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.And Abraham said unto him,.... Not blaming him for putting such a question, nor charging him with impertinence, but plainly seeing the propriety of it: and in order to clear up this matter to him, gives the following instructions:
beware thou, that thou bring not my son thither again; for the command to come out of the land of Chaldea, never to return more, and to come into the land of Canaan, and there abide, respected both Abraham and his posterity; and besides, it was dangerous for Isaac to go into a family, where, though there was some knowledge of the true God, yet there was much superstition and idolatry in it, as appears by various hints in the sequel of this history, lest he should be corrupted, and degenerate from the true religion.
The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.The Lord God of heaven, which took from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred,.... Jarchi distinguishes between his father's house, and the land of his kindred; the former he takes to be Haran, in which he seems to be right; for his father and his family came with him from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran, and there stayed, from whence Abraham was taken and separated from them; by the latter he understands Ur of the Chaldees, interpreting the phrase of the land in which he was born, as Onkelos and Jonathan, and the Septuagint version render it: but the same is meant as before, for Haran was the land of his kindred, where Terah his father died, and Nahor his brother and family lived; from whence he was taken and removed into the land of Canaan, by the call, direction, and providence of the Lord God, who made the heavens, and dwells therein:
which spake unto me, and that swore unto me; made a promise to him, and confirmed it with an oath, Genesis 15:18,
saying, unto thy seed will I give this land; the land of Canaan; and therefore his son, in whom his seed was to be called, must not be removed from hence, and settled in another country:
he shall send his angel before thee; Aben Ezra takes this to be a prayer or wish, "may he send his angel before thee"; for if it was a prophecy, he adds, why did he say "if the woman will not be willing?" but from Genesis 24:10; and from what follows, that the servant should take a wife to his son from thence, and the encouragement he had for his faith in it, and from what God bad done for him, and said unto him, it seems as if he was fully assured in his own mind of the event: this angel may be either understood of a created angel, such being frequently made use of in the affairs of Providence, directing and succeeding men, or of the uncreated Angel, the Son of God, since the servant attributes his direction and success wholly to the Lord.
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.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 the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master,.... Or "then" or "therefore the servant", &c. (n) being satisfied of the nature and extent of his oath, and thoroughly understanding how he was to act upon it, readily took it by using this rite; see Gill on Genesis 24:2,
and sware to him concerning that matter; of taking a wife to his son, engaging to do everything he had directed and enjoined him relative to it.
(n) "posuit ergo", V. L. "igitur", Tigurine version; "itaque", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "ita", Drusius; "tum", Schmidt.
And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.And the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his master,
and departed,.... Camels were much in use in the eastern countries; where, as Pliny (o) says, they were brought up among their herds of cattle, and their riches much consisted in them. Arabia abounded with them; Job had three thousand of them, Job 1:3; how many Abraham had is not said, only ten of them his servant took, being sufficient for his present purpose, and which he took with his master's leave, and by his order. These creatures are very strong and fit for carrying great burdens, even a thousand pound weight, as is affirmed; and for riding, especially such as have two humps on their backs, for some have but one; and for long journeys, being very swift, and will travel without water many days, and so very proper to take on such journeys in hot and desert countries; see Gill on Leviticus 11:4,
for all the goods of his master were in his hand; which agrees with what is before said, that he was the steward of his house, and ruled over all that he had; this in our version, and others, is put in a parenthesis, and given as a reason why the servant took, as it may seem of himself, so many camels as he did, and then set forward on his journey: though it may be rendered, "and of all the goods of his master in his hand"; that is, he took some of the choicest and most valuable things his master had, and carried them along with him as presents to the damsel and her friends; to which sense the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions interpret the words, as well as some others, and which may receive confirmation from Genesis 24:22, Jarchi thinks that Abraham's servant carried a schedule of all his master's goods and substance, which he had under his hand given to his son, whereby it would appear how rich he was, and how good a match Isaac would be to the woman, and which might the more incline her and her friends to listen to the proposal. Other Jewish writers (p) say, it was his testament or will that he carried:
and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia; or Aram Naharaim, Syria of the rivers, which lay between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates, called therefore by the Greeks Mesopotamia; the three Targums render it Aram or Syria, which is by Euphrates:
unto the city of Nahor; this was the brother of Abraham, and his city was Haran, whither he came, either with his father, or with Abraham, out of Ur of the Chaldees, or followed them thither, and where he and his family stayed and settled. From Hebron, where Abraham now was, to Haran, is reckoned a journey of seventeen days; the distance between them, according to Ptolemy, as Drusius observes, were eight degrees, which make one hundred and twenty German miles; the journey Abraham's servant took is computed to be four hundred and sixty eight miles (q).
(o) Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 18. (p) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 59. fol. 52. 2.((q) Bunting's Travels, p. 69.
And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.And he made his camels to kneel down,.... Which these creatures are used to do when they are loaded and unloaded, and also when they take rest, and it was for the sake of the latter they were now made to kneel. It seems that this is what is not natural to them, but what they are learned to do: it is said (r),"as soon as a camel is born they tie his four feet under his belly, put a carpet over his back, and stones upon the borders of it, that he may not be able to rise for twenty days together; thus they teach him the habit of bending his knees to rest himself, or when he is to be loaded or unloaded.''This was done
without the city; the city of Nahor, Haran, near to which the servant was now come: and it was
by a well of water: which place was chosen for the refreshment of his camels, as well as of himself and his men. Rauwolff (s) says, that near Haran, now called Orpha,"there is a plentiful well still to this day (1575), called Abraham's well, the water of which hath a more whitish troubledness than others. I have (says he) drank of it several times, out of the conduit that runs from thence into the middle the great camp, and it hath a peculiar pleasantness, and a pleasant sweetness in its taste.''The time of Abraham's servant coming hither was
at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water; which was the custom for women to do, for the necessary uses of their families; as it was especially in the eastern countries: and the Arabian women to this time, after they have been hard at work all day, weaving, or grinding, or making bread, at evening they set out with a pitcher or a goat's skin, and, tying their sucking children behind them, trudge it in this manner two or three miles to fetch water (t).
(r) Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Camel". (s) Travels, par. 2. ch. 10. p. 177. Ed. Ray. (t) Shaw's Travels, p. 241. Ed. 2.
And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham,.... He does not call the Lord his God, though no doubt he was, since he appears throughout the whole to be a good man; but the God of Abraham, because God had often manifested and renewed his covenant with Abraham in an eminent manner, and had bestowed many favours upon him, and admitted him to much nearness and communion with him; and it was not on his own account, but on his master's business he now was:
I pray thee, send me good speed this day; or "cause something to happen before me this day" (u); some extraordinary event, which depends not upon the will, or skill, or contrivance of men, but upon the pleasure of God; and which, with respect to second causes, men call hap or chance, but with respect to God, is according to his determinate counsel and will. The Targum of Jonathan is,"prepare now a decent wife before me this day.''But the servant's meaning is, that something might turn up in providence that would lead on to such an event:
and shew kindness unto my master Abraham; which he would be ready to acknowledge as a favour, an instance of kindness and mercy, and not merit.
(u) "occurere fae nune coram me", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; so Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt, Ainsworth.
Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:Behold, I stand here by the well of water,.... Wishing, hoping, and expecting that something would turn out that would direct and instruct what further to do, and that would lead on to the business he came about:
and the daughters of the men of the city came out to draw water; which was the usual custom in those parts about that time. So Homer speaks (w) of meeting a girl before the city drawing or fetching water. And this was a principal reason why Abraham's servant stopped at the well, not only to refresh himself, his men, and his cattle, but in hopes he should meet with the damsel there he was come for; or at least should hear of her, or meet with some one or another that would direct him to her; or something would fall out there that would be a means in Providence of bringing about what he was sent to do.
(w) Odyss. 10. ver. 109.
And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say,
let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink,.... The pitcher of water she should have upon her shoulder, after she had drawn it out of the well:
and she shall say, drink, and I will give thy camels drink also; not only very readily and courteously invite him to drink himself but also propose to draw water for his camels too:
let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; to be his wife; he desired this might be the token by which he might know who the person was God had appointed, and whom he approved of as a proper wife for Isaac, and whom he pointed at in his Providence most clearly to be the person he had designed for him; and this was a very agreeable sign and token; for hereby he would know that she was a careful and industrious person, willing to set her hand to business when necessary; that she was humane and courteous to strangers; humble and condescending, and willing to do the meanest offices for the good of others; and such a wife as this he sought for, and knew would be a good one, and greatly acceptable to his master and to his son:
and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness to my master; by directing to so good a wife for his son, and prospering the journey of his servant according to his wishes.
And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.And it came to pass, before he had done speaking,.... In his heart, Genesis 24:45; for his prayer was mental; while the last words were dropping from him, that very moment, as the Targum of Jonathan; so soon were his prayers heard and answered, Isaiah 65:24,
that behold Rebekah came out; out of Haran, the city of Nahor:
who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother; a daughter of Bethuel, which Bethuel was the eighth and last son of Milcah, and who was the daughter of Haran and the wife of Nahor, both brothers to Abraham: this is the genealogy of Rebekah, and for the sake of her is the account of Nahor's family given, Genesis 22:20,
with her pitcher upon her shoulder; to fetch water from the well for the use of the family; which, though the daughter of a wealthy person, she did not disdain to do; an instance of diligence and humility this.
And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.And the damsel was very fair to look upon,.... Of a good countenance and beautiful aspect: a virgin:
neither had any man known her; not only was reckoned a virgin, but was really one, pure and incorrupt:
and she went down to the well and filled her pitcher, and came up; by which it appears the well lay low, there was a descent unto it, and an ascent from it. Rebekah was very diligent and speedy in doing her work, she did not stay to look at strangers, or hold an idle conversation with other damsels that came thither on the same account; but, having filled her pitcher, was making the best of her way home.
And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.And the servant ran to meet her,.... He did not stop her as she went to the well, but stayed till she had been there and filled her pitcher, and then he made all the haste he could to meet her, in order to have the sign and token answered he had requested, which could not be done until she returned:
and said, let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher; or taste a little of it, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; or suffer me to swallow a little of it; for it was not so much to quench his thirst that he asked for this, for he could have got, and perhaps had had water out of the well before this time, or however could easily have supplied himself; but this was done to try whether she was the person, and whether her conduct and carriage would answer the token. Josephus (x) says, he asked other virgins and they refused him, for which churlishness Rebekah rebuked them, and gave him water liberally.
(x) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 16. sect. 2.
And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.And she said, drink, my lord,.... Signifying at once that he was welcome to drink what he would, giving him a very honourable title, observing that he had a pretty large retinue with him of men and camels; so that she took him for some considerable personage:
and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand; from off her shoulder, and let it rest upon her hand or arm:
and gave him drink; let him drink what he would of it.
And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.And when she had done giving him drink,.... Whatever he pleased to have:
she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking; she proposed to go back to the well, and did, and fill her pitcher, and repeat it as often as was necessary, until the camels had enough; and this now was the sign or token the servant had desired might be, by which he would know who was the person intended for the wife of his master's son; and this was granted him, which shows that it was not a rash and ill thing which he asked, but what was agreeable to the will of God, and to which he was directed by an impulse of his.
And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.And she hasted and emptied her pitcher into the trough,.... The place out of which cattle drank water, being put there for that purpose, which was of wood or of stones made hollow; into this Rebekah poured out what was left in her pitcher after the servant had drank:
and ran again to the well to draw water; and which must be repeated several times to have enough for all the camels, for it follows:
and drew for all his camels; and there were ten of them; and these, being thirsty after so long a journey, required a great deal of water to satisfy them; therefore Rebekah must take a vast deal of pains and labour to draw water for them all until they had enough.
And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.And the man wondering at her,.... At her affability and courteousness to a stranger; at her humility and condescension to take upon her such a service; at her readiness, diligence, and laboriousness in it; and the quick dispatch she made; and at her expressions and conduct being so exactly agreeable to the token he desired to have; and at the providence of God in bringing him to this place so seasonably; and at the damsel, that she should come just at this time, and every way answer his expectations and desires:
held his peace, to wit; or to know, to think and consider further with himself:
whether, or "if"
the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not; or if not; he was musing and saying within himself, surely God had made his journey prosperous; or if not, how was it that such strange surprising circumstances should occur? or what else must be done by him? or what methods must be taken for the future.
And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking,.... Having had enough to abate their thirst and satisfy them, by means of Rebekah's drawing water for them:
that the man took a golden earring; out of his pocket, or out of a box or parcel that was upon the camels; it is in the margin of our Bibles, "a jewel for the forehead"; or, as some render it, a "nose jewel" (y); and so in Genesis 24:47, "an earring upon her face", or "nose"; and this was a jewel that hung from the forehead upon a lace or ribbon between the eyes down upon the nose; and such the daughters of Sion wore in later times, Isaiah 3:21; see Ezekiel 16:12; and nose jewels are still in use with the Levant Arabs, as Dr. Shaw (z) relates. Rauwolff (a), who travelled through Mesopotamia and the parts adjacent in 1574, says of the women in those parts that are of greater substance, and have a mind to be richer and finer in their dress, that they wear silver and gold rings in one of their nostrils, wherein are set garnets, turquoise, rubies, and pearls: and in Egypt they wear nose jewels (b) and small gold rings in their right nostrils, with a piece of coral set in them (c) and this earring or jewel was
of half a shekel weight; which was eighty barley corns, for a whole shekel weighed one hundred and sixty. The Targum of Jonathan is,"the weight of a drachma, which was the half of a didrachma or common shekel:"
and two bracelets for her hands, of ten shekels weight of gold; a shekel of gold, according to Calmet (d), was worth eighteen shillings and three pence of English money, so that ten of them amount to nine pounds two shillings and six pence; according to Waserus (e), these made twenty Hungarian pieces of gold, which were worth upwards of ninety pounds of Swiss money. A handsome present this was, and suitable to a virgin. Jarchi and Jonathan allegorize the two bracelets of the two tables of the law, and the ten shekels of the ten commands on them.
(y) "imponeret naso ejus monile aureum", Junius & Tremellius. (z) Travels, p. 241. Ed. 2.((a) Travels, par. 2. ch. 5. p. 128, 129. (b) Pitts's Account of Mahometanism, p. 68. (c) Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 85. (d) Dictionary, in the word "Shekel". (e) De Antiqu. numis, Heb. l. 2. c. 10.
And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in?And said,.... After he had given her the earring and the bracelets, he put the following question, according to Jarchi, and so our version seems to intimate the same; but, as it is related in Genesis 24:47; the question was put before those were given, therefore some render the words, "and he had said", or, "and after he had said" (f), namely, what follows; though, as Schmidt observes, the matter is easily reconciled, and both accounts stand clear and plain, if it be only remarked, that he took out the earring and bracelets before he put the question, but it was after it that he gave her them, or put them upon her:
whose daughter art thou? the reason of this question is, because by her answer to it he would know whether she was of the family related to Abraham or not; from whom only, according to his oath, he was to take a wife for Isaac, and which would in a good measure satisfy him as to what he had been musing about, whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not:
tell me, I pray thee, is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in? by her answer to this he would know whether her family was wealthy, and so fit to be in connection with his master's; and besides, if she appeared to be the person he hoped she was, he was desirous of lodging in her father's house, that he might have the better opportunity of managing the affair he was come about.
(f) "et dixerat", Drusius; "postquam dixisset", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah,.... Which Milcah was the daughter of Haran, Abraham's elder brother, and, as thought by many, sister to Sarah, Abraham's wife, see Genesis 11:29,
which she bare unto Nahor; Abraham's brother; so that her father was Nahor's son, not by his concubine Reumah, but by his lawful wife Milcah, which sets Rebekah's descent in a true light, see Genesis 22:20; whether she told her own name is not certain, it may be, since the servant bade it, Genesis 24:45.
She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.She said moreover unto him,.... In answer to the second question:
we have both straw and provender enough; for the camels, straw for their litter, and provender for their food, as hay, barley, &c.
and room to lodge in; for him and his men; this she could venture to say, and invite him to come and take up his quarters in her father's house, without going home to relate the question put to her, and to have leave to give the invitation, knowing full well the generosity, liberality, and hospitable spirit of her father.
And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.And the man bowed down his head,.... To show what a deep sense he had of the divine goodness, and in humble acknowledgment of the favours he had received in being thus providentially directed:
and worshipped the Lord; gave thanks unto him, that he had thus far prospered him, hoping and believing that things were in good forwardness, according to his master's mind and will.
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren.And he said, blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham,.... See Gill on Genesis 24:12,
who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and truth; or hath not withdrawn his mercy, grace and goodness, truth and faithfulness; for his loving kindness he does not take away from his people, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail; his mercy and grace in making kind and gracious promises continue, and his truth in performing them sooner or later appear, and both in this case; as Abraham believed in the grace and goodness of God, that he would send his angel and direct his servant, and make his way prosperous, here was now an appearance of his truth and faithfulness, in making good the promise or prophecy on which Abraham's faith was built, see Genesis 24:7,
I being in the way; by the way of the well; in the right way, as Jarchi, in which he was directed; in the way of his duty, following the steps of divine Providence, and observing them. It is good to be in the way which God directs to and prescribes, especially in religious things, where the blessing and presence of God may be expected:
the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren: Nahor, whose granddaughter Rebekah was, was Abraham's brother, and Bethuel her father might be called so, as Lot was, who stood in the same relation to Abraham as he did, Genesis 14:16; and, though the servant was not as yet come to the house where they lived, he had met with one of the family, and had got an invitation to it, and was on his way thither and near it.
And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things.And the damsel ran,.... Having invited him to come and lodge at her father's house, that he might not be brought in abruptly, she ran before to acquaint the family of what had passed:
and told them of her mother's house these things; she did not go to her father to inform him of it; some think he was dead, as Josephus (g), but the contrary appears from Genesis 24:50; rather the reason was, because her mother had an house, a tent, or an apartment to herself, as women in those times and places used to have, see Genesis 24:67; and because daughters are generally more free to converse with their mothers and impart things to them than to their fathers, which may be the true reason of Rebekah's conduct.
(g) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 16. sect. 2.
And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban,.... Perhaps he was her only brother, or however the elder brother, the principal in the family, her father Bethuel being old:
and Laban ran out: out of his house, and out of the city of Haran:
unto the man unto the well; this was after Rebekah had got home, and had related to the family whom she had met with at the well, and what had passed between them, as follows:
And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.And it came to pass, when he saw the earring, and bracelets upon his sister's hands,.... From whence he concluded that he was a rich and generous man she had met with, and might hope to receive a gift also upon giving him an invitation to his house; or however might judge he should be no loser by receiving him kindly and entertaining him generously; therefore it was that he made haste, and ran to him to bring him in; for that Laban was of a covetous disposition, appears from the whole story of him:
and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, thus spake the man unto me; inquiring whose daughter she was, and whether there was any room in her father's house for him and those that were with him to lodge in:
that he came unto the man; made haste and ran till he came to him:
and, behold, he stood by the camels at the wall; he did not follow Rebekah, but kept still at the well, expecting somebody would come out of the house and give him an invitation into it, upon Rebekah's representation of him.
And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.And he said, come in, thou blessed of the Lord,.... Both with temporal and spiritual blessings; he concluded he was blessed with the former by the presents he had made to his sister, and by the men that attended him, and the number of camels that were with him; and with the latter by his devotion, his worshipping of God, and thankfulness to him, which Rebekah had observed and related: some Jewish writers say (h), he thought he was Abraham, and therefore gave him this title and this invitation to come into the house:
wherefore standest thou without? this he said either as reproving him that he did not follow his sister upon her invitation, or rather as pressing him to make no more delay:
for I have prepared the house: swept it clean, or ordered it to be so, as the word (i) signifies; had fitted and furnished it with everything convenient for him and those with him: Jonathan and Jarchi interpret it of purging the house from idols and strange worship, which he knew would be offensive to Abraham, or any that belonged to him; but the former sense is best:
and room for the camels; he had ordered the stable to be cleansed also, and everything provided there fit for the camels; so that some time elapsed between Rebekah's return home and Laban's coming to the well, though no doubt everything was done with as much dispatch as possible.
(h) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 60. fol. 52. 4. Targ. Jon. in loc. (i) "repurgavi", Drusius; "verri", Schmidt.
And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that were with him.And the man came into the house,.... Upon the pressing instance made unto him; for so it may be rendered, "wherefore the man came", &c. (k).
and he ungirded his camels; took off their bridles, which hindered them from eating, as the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi; or loosed their girts and took off their burdens, that they might have rest: this may be interpreted either of the servant and of his men by his order doing this, it being the first thing that travellers do when they come to an inn to take care of their cattle; or rather of Laban, as what follows must be interpreted of him:
and gave straw and provender for the camels; straw for their litter, and provender to eat; this Laban did, or ordered to be done: the Targum of Jonathan expresses his name, and no doubt he is intended, for who should give these but he?
and water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that were with him: which was usually done to strangers and travellers in those hot countries, see Genesis 18:4. The Vulgate Latin version is, "and water to wash the feet of the camels"; which, though it is possible might be done, yet is without any foundation in the text.
(k) "intravit itaque", Tigurine version, Piscator; "quare", Schmidt.
And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.And there was set meat before them to eat,.... By the order of Bethuel or Laban, or both; or, "afterwards was set" (l); that is after care had been taken the camels, then food being provided was set before the men to refresh them:
but he said, I will not eat until I have told mine errand; or, "spoke my words" (m); delivered the message he was sent with, and declared the business he came about; which shows him to be a diligent faithful servant, who had his master's interest at heart, and preferred it to his necessary food:
and he said; either Bethuel or Laban, for both were present, to whom the servant directed his discourse, Genesis 24:47; perhaps Laban spoke in the name of his father, and bid him
speak on; go on with his discourse until he had said all he had to say, signifying that they were ready to give attention to him.
(l) "post appositum", Drusius, Schmidt. (m) "donec loquar sermones meos", V. L. "vel mea verba", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator.
And he said, I am Abraham's servant.And he said, I am Abraham's servant. Not Abraham himself, this undeceived Laban, if he so thought, but a servant of his; which was enough to introduce his discourse, his master being a near relation of theirs, and well known to them by name, if not in person.
And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly,.... With temporal blessings, after enumerated, which are of God, and are here ascribed to him, the Father, fountain, author, and giver of all such mercies:
and he is become great; in the world, and highly honoured and esteemed among men:
and he hath given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and menservants and maidservants, and camels and asses; though many of them were obtained in the diligent use of means, yet with the blessing of God; and others were the gifts of princes to him, as of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and Abimelech king of Gerar; yet, as it was the Lord that put it into their hearts to be so liberal to him, they are here called his gifts; see Genesis 12:16.
And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath.And Sarah, my master's wife,.... Who must be well known to this family, by name at least, being, as is generally supposed, the sister of Milcah, Nahor's wife, and Bethuel's mother; the same
bare a son to my master when she was old; even when ninety years of age, Genesis 17:17; this is mentioned because it was an extraordinary thing, and an instance of divine power and of the favour of God; and this son of their old age must be very dear unto Abraham, as it follows:
and unto him hath he given all that he hath; by his will: Jarchi says, the servant had now the schedule of all in his hands, which he showed; but this is mere conjecture.
And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell:And my master made me swear,.... See Gill on Genesis 24:3. In Genesis 24:37, the servant relates the oath his master made him take, and the charge he gave him, much in the same language as in Genesis 24:3.
But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son.But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred,
and take a wife unto my son. See Gill on Genesis 24:4.
And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. See Gill on Genesis 24:5.
And he said unto me, The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house:And he said unto me, the Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee. See Gill on Genesis 24:7.
Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath.Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath,.... See Gill on Genesis 24:8.
And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go:And I came this day unto the well,.... Hither he was come at length by several days' journey; not on the same day he came from Abraham, as the Jewish writers say (n), by means of a miracle:
and said, O Lord God of my master Abraham; being come to the well, he prayed as follows:
if now thou do prosper the way which I go; his meaning is, that if it was the pleasure of God that he should succeed in what he was come about, that he would let him know it by a token; and in Genesis 24:42 he relates the token he desired, which was granted him, and his success, as before recorded, from Genesis 24:21.
(n) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 95. 1. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 59. fol. 52. 2. Jarchi in loc.
Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;Behold, I stand by the well of water, and it shall come to pass,.... See Gill on Genesis 24:14.
And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master's son.And she say to me, both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels,.... See Gill on Genesis 24:14.
And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder,.... See Gill on Genesis 24:15.
and she went down unto the well, and drew water: See Gill on Genesis 24:16.
and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. See Gill on Genesis 24:17.
And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also.And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder,.... See Gill on Genesis 24:18.
And said, drink, and I will give thy camels drink also. See Gill on Genesis 24:19.
so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. See Gill on Genesis 24:20.
And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou?.... See Gill on Genesis 24:23.
And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: See Gill on Genesis 24:24.
and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. See Gill on Genesis 24:22.
And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son.And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the Lord,.... See Gill on Genesis 24:26.
And blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son. See Gill on Genesis 24:27.
And now if ye 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.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.
Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.Then Laban and Bethuel answered,.... The order of the words in the original is, "then answered Laban and Bethuel"; the word for "answered" is in the singular number, from whence it may be concluded, that Laban gave the answer in the name of Bethuel, he consenting to it, who might be an old man, and left the management of his family affairs to his son, who, Aben Ezra thinks, excelled his father in wisdom and honour; but Jarchi represents him as a wicked and impudent man, who took upon him to speak before his father: but some have thought that this Bethuel was not old Bethuel, the father of Rebekah, but young Bethuel his son, the younger brother of Laban and Rebekah, their father Bethuel being dead, as Josephus says, before observed; and this seems to be countenanced by Genesis 24:59, where they are represented as blessing Rebekah, and calling her their sister:
and said, the thing proceedeth from the Lord: that Rebekah should be given to Isaac, as the Targum of Jonathan adds: this matter appears to be according to his will and pleasure, he seems to have appointed it in his decree, and to be bringing it about by his providence; for these men, though they were in part idolaters yet had some good notions of the true God, and of his government of the world, and of his ordering all things in it according to the counsel of his will:
we cannot speak unto thee good or bad; cannot deny the request; the thing was so plain that they had not anything to object to it.
Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken.Behold, Rebekah is before thee,.... Not only was present, but she was delivered to him, or his request was granted:
take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife; not that they meant he should go away directly with her; for they afterwards solicit her stay with them some time; but they agreed that he should bare her and conduct her to Isaac, to be taken by him for his wife:
as the Lord hath spoken; for so they understood the token given to the servant to know her by, as the determination of God.
And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth.And it came to pass, that when Abraham's servant heard these words,.... That Laban and Bethuel said; and no doubt but the mother of Rebekah, and she herself consented that she should be the wife of Isaac, believing it was agreeable to the will of God:
he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth; in the most humble manner he prostrated himself before the Lord, acknowledging his kindness, and goodness, his faithfulness and truth, his power and his providence in this affair.
And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold,.... Ornaments for women, which he had brought along with him for presents, and which were a proof of the riches of his master, and of his generosity and liberality, who had furnished him with such a profusion of rich things to bestow on the person that should be got for his son's wife:
and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah; costly suits of clothes such as in those times were given to persons at their marriage, or in order to it; and which custom still continues among the Arabs, who, as Dr. Shaw says (p), have the marriage contract previously made between the parents, wherein is express mention made not only of the "saddock", as they call that particular sum which the bridegroom settles on the bride; but of the several changes of raiment, and the quantity of jewels, and the number of slaves that the bride is to be attended with when she first waits upon her husband; a gold and silver "sarmah", he says (q), which is a thin flexible plate of gold or silver, of a triangular shape, artfully cut through and engraven in imitation of lace; one or two sets of earrings bracelets and shekels, a gold chain to hang over their breasts, with half a dozen vests, some of brocades, others of rich silk, were usually the wedding clothes of a lady of fashion. And so in Barbary, the man buys his bride a suit of apparel, earrings, bracelets, a chest, &c. and gives the father a considerable sum of money, according to the qualities and circumstances of the parties (r):
and he gave also to her brother, and to her mother, precious things; things of worth and value, which were part of the good things he brought with him from Abraham, Genesis 24:10; the word being sometimes used for fruit, Jarchi interprets it of various kinds of the fruits (s) of the land of Israel; but it is not likely that these should be carried by him on so long a journey; much better Aben Ezra understands by them honourable and costly raiment; and it is observed by some (t), that the word in general signifies everything valuable and excellent, as gold, silver, &c. no mention being made of her father, only of her brother Laban, and of her mother, seems to confirm the notion of Josephus that he was dead; or however he concerned himself no further in this affair than to give his consent to the marriage, and left everything else to his wife and son to take care of, and therefore the presents are only made to them.
(p) Travels, p. 239. (q) Ib. No. 9. p. 229. (r) Ockley's Account of Southwest Barbary, c. 6. p. 76. (s) So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed. fol. 76. 1. Aruch in voce (t) Ib.
And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.And they did eat and drink, he, and the men that were with him,.... Every thing being settled with respect to the affair he came about, he then sat down at table, and ate of the provisions set before him; he and the men that came along with him; and refreshed themselves:
and tarried all night; lodged there all night:
and they rose up in the morning; the servant and his men:
and he said, send me away to my master; either to Abraham, who was waiting to hear what success his servant would have; or to Isaac, who also was solicitous about the matter: the sense is, that he desired leave to go away, and begged he might not be detained any longer, having now done the business he came about; still showing himself a diligent faithful servant, heartily and sincerely attached to his master's interest, and not consulting his own ease and pleasure, which might have been indulged by staying longer in a family, where he would have been entertained in a sumptuous manner.
And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.And her brother and her mother said,.... Here her brother Laban is set before his mother, as above before his father, being the chief speaker and the principal manager of business:
let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; which was but a reasonable request; and if no more time is intended, it is much the servant should object, and not readily agree to it; but in the margin it is, "a full year" or "ten months"; and so Onkelos and Jonathan, and other Jewish writers (u), who say it was customary for a virgin to have twelve months allowed her to furnish herself with ornaments; and therefore if a full year could not be admitted of, it is requested that at least ten months would be granted: this by many is thought to be unreasonable, that a servant should be desired to stay so long from his master, and especially it would not be asked, when it was perceived he was in such haste to be gone directly; but when it is observed that it was the usual custom of those times for virgins espoused to continue in their father's house a considerable time before the marriage was consummated, and that Rebekah was going into a distant country, and very likely she and her friends would never see each other, the motion will not appear so very extravagant:
after that she shall go; when that time is elapsed, but cannot think of it before.
(u) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 60. fol. 53. 2. Jarchi, Ben Gersom & Ben Melech in loc.
And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.And he said unto them, hinder me not,.... Do not detain me, let me set forward on my journey:
seeing, the Lord hath prospered my way; succeeded him in what he came about; and by his being succeeded so well, and so soon, it seemed to be the mind of the Lord that he should hasten his journey homeward:
send me away, that I may go to my master; and carry him the good news of his success, and attend his domestic affairs, over which he was set.
And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth.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 called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.And they called Rebekah,.... Or ordered her to be called by one of the servants:
and said unto her, wilt thou go with this man? that is, directly; the question was not about her marriage of Isaac, that was agreed upon, and she had doubtless given her consent, and which she tacitly did by accepting of the presents, but about taking the journey immediately:
and she said, I will go; the note of Jarchi is,"of myself, and even if you are not willing,''which seems to make her answer rude, as well as resolute; but it must be interpreted consistent with her decent and modest behaviour, and as expressive of her agreeing to go with the man directly, having no manner of objection on her mind to it; but on the contrary found a strong inclination to it, and was determined on it; and perhaps was under a divine impulse, which strongly wrought upon her, and caused her to be so willing to leave her own people, and her father's house.
And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men.And they sent away Rebekah their sister,.... Not in a pet or angry humour, but with good will; they agreed she should go, and took their leave in a very honourable and affectionate manner. This is to be understood of her brother Laban, and of other brethren and sisters she might have; though by the connection of the words with the preceding, they seem to design her brother and mother, who spoke last; and probably all her relations are meant, who call her their sister, because so nearly related to them:
and her nurse: who had been her nurse in former times, as Aben Ezra observes, in her infancy, for whom she had a particular affection, as is often the case; her name was Deborah, as appears from Genesis 35:8,
and Abraham's servant, and his men; who were dismissed in an handsome manner by the family.
And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.And they blessed Rebekah,.... That is, her parents and her friends, they wished the best and choicest of blessings might descend upon her:
and said unto her, thou art our sister; the Targum of Jonathan is,"hitherto thou hast been our sister,''as if the relation now ceased, having entered into another; and especially as she was going away from them into a distant country, and might never see her more, it was as if she was no more to them or to be enjoyed by them:
be thou the mother of thousands of millions; as she was, the Edomites and Israelites both springing from her:
and let thy seed possess the gate of those that hate them; exercise dominion and authority over their enemies: let them not only be numerous, but powerful and victorious, as both the nations were at times, and especially the latter; and particularly this had its accomplishment in Christ, who sprung from her in the line of Jacob, Matthew 1:2; some respect seems to be had to the promise made to Abraham, Genesis 22:17; of which this family might have knowledge from Abraham's servant, who might report not only how great his master was, but what promises were made to him with respect to his posterity.
And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.And Rebekah arose, and her damsels,.... Her maids that were given her by her parents to wait upon her, as was usual in those times and countries:
and they rode upon the camels; that Abraham's servant had brought with him:
and followed the man; who rode before and directed the way; the sense is only, that she went along with him:
and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way; took her under his care, and to be the wife of his master's son, at the hands of her friends, and then set forward on his journey.
And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi,.... The well at which the angel met with Hagar, when she fled from her mistress, Genesis 16:7. The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem say, that Isaac came from the school of Shem the great:
for he dwelt in the south country: at Beersheba, to which Abraham, it seems, was returned again; for that they dwelt together as yet, is clear from his mother Sarah's tent, into which he introduced Rebekah, Genesis 24:67; see Genesis 22:19.
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at eventide,.... Both the time and place were very proper for meditation: the place, "in the field": where he might view the works of nature, and be led to the Creator of them, and the praise of him, and where he might be alone, and nothing to disturb his thoughts: and the time, "at evening"; after the labour, care, and hurry of the day were over, and before repose at night, and when the air was cool and refreshing, and everything was assisting to, and served to compose the mind, and help thought and contemplation. Onkelos and Jonathan render the word "to pray", and the time and place he chose were very fit for that service; and perhaps his thoughts in prayer might be directed to, and greatly employed in desiring success to his father's servant in the business he was gone on his account, and that he might safely and speedily arrive, and if so, his prayers were quickly answered:
and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming; which his servant had took with him in his journey, and was now returning with them, and which Isaac knew full well.
And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.And Rebekah lifted up her eyes,.... And looked about:
and when she saw Isaac; whom she suspected him to be, and therefore inquired of the servant, who told her who he was:
she lighted off the camel; or "fell" (w) from it, not accidentally, or through surprise, but willingly, and in honour to Isaac, as was customary; for had she sat on her camel when she met him, it would not have seemed respectful enough to him; though Jarchi thinks she did not get off, but only bowed herself upon the camel, when she came near him.
(w) "et cecidit", Montanus, Drusius.
For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.For she had said unto the servant,.... As soon as she saw a man walking towards them, who she thought with herself might be Isaac:
what man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? for by the course he steered, she perceived that he was coming towards them, and so concluded it must be one of the family, and probably the person she was to be married to; for otherwise, had he not by his look and motion discovered that he knew the servant, and was coming towards them, she would have took no notice of him
and the servant had said, it is my master: meaning not Abraham, but his son, who also was his master:
therefore she took a veil, and covered herself; both out of modesty, and as a token of subjection to him: for the veil was put on when the bride was introduced to the bridegroom, as among the Romans (x) in later times. The Arab women always have veils when they appear in public, so that their faces cannot be seen; and though in the summer months they walk abroad with less caution, yet then, upon the approach of a stranger, they put on their veils (y).
(x) Vid. Lucan. l. 2. & Martial. Epigr. l. 2. 74. (y) See Shaw's Travels, p. 228. Tertullian. de Virgin. Veland, c. 17.
And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. By what means he found out the person designed for his wife, and got knowledge of her father's house, to which he was introduced, and where he was made welcome; and what agreement he had made with the parents and relations of Rebekah to be his wife, whom he had brought with him.
And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent,.... The apartment in which she dwelt when living; for women in those times and places had separate apartments from their husbands; this was done after many other things had passed, not here recorded; a conversation with her, an espousal of her, and an introduction of her to Abraham, with whose consent, no doubt, she had his wife's apartment allotted to her:
and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; consummated the marriage, first contracted by his servant, then confirmed by himself, and now finished:
and he loved her; as a man ought to love his wife, even as his own body, Ephesians 5:28; and she was a person to be beloved, being very fair, and of a goodly countenance, Genesis 24:16. The Jews say (z) she was but fourteen years of age at this time:
and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death; which was three years ago; see Gill on Genesis 25:20; and had made such impressions upon his spirit, that at times he was very sorrowful, and much distressed on that account; but now being blessed with so agreeable a yokefellow, his sorrow for his mother subsided, and he became cheerful and comfortable.
(z) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 1. p. 3.