Genesis 24:1-4 Abraham wanted his top trusted servant to return to Abraham’s kindred (City of Haran in Nahor of Mesopotamia) and find Isaac a wife. This was a 550 mile journey that probably took about 21 days. Abraham wanted to make sure before he died that he saw his son Isaac married to the right kind of girl, even if she was Isaac’s 1st cousin (once removed). In those days, it was customary for parents to arrange the marriage of their children within the same tribe.
Notes: Abraham’s servant here is most likely Eliezer of Damascus, the servant that Abraham thought originally would be his heir because he had at the time no offspring.
Genesis 24:5-9 Isaac must stay in the Promised Land and not return to Abraham’s kindred in fear that he might not come back and the promises may become void. Even though Abraham assured his servant that he would be released from the vow if the woman did not come, Abraham knew that God would send His angel with the servant and the job would get done.
Notes: Placing of one’s hand under the thigh of another may have indicated submission to that person’s strength and authority. In any case, by undertaking this action, the servant binds himself to obey Abraham’s request.
Genesis 24:10-14 Abraham sent ten camels and gifts for a dowry to purchase a bride for his son. The servant prayed that God would intervene and show him His choice of a bride for Isaac. The conditions set by the servant reveal that he was seeking a wife who had a generous and caring disposition similar to that of God, who showed steadfast love to Abraham.
Notes: Hospitality required giving water to a thirsty stranger, but not to animals. A woman who would do that was unusually kind and served beyond the call of duty.
Genesis 24:15-21 The Lord answered the servant’s prayer before he even finished praying and produced Isaac’s bride right away. Rebekah’s actions exactly mirror what the servant had earlier prayed for.
Notes: A single camel can hold up to 25 gallons of water and he had 10 of them. Serving them was a great task as she filled them all.
Genesis 24:22-25 This is the same Rebekah that was introduced to us in the previous chapter. The servant presented her with a gold ring and bracelets as a gift.
Genesis 24:26-28 God’s swift answer to the servant’s prayer evokes an immediate response of worship and praise. Rebekah, most likely hearing stories about Abraham from her family, went and told them that a representative of Abraham had arrived.
Genesis 24:29-33 Rebekah’s brother Laban, who we will see and learn more about in the coming chapters in regards to Isaac’s son-to-be, Jacob, was motivated to hospitality most likely by seeing the treasures that accompanied Abraham’s servant.
Notes: While Laban’s father Bethuel is still alive, his lack of involvement in the narrative suggests that he may well have been incapacitated, possibly through old age.
Genesis 24:34-49 Abraham’s servant reveals Abraham’s intention and proclaims that Rebekah is God’s choice for Isaac’s bride. He waits for answer whether they will grant Rebekah to leave with him.
Genesis 24:50-52 Rebekah’s brother and father acknowledge that the providential nature of all that has taken place convincingly indicates that Rebekah should become Isaac’s wife. This is clearly God’s will.
Genesis 24:53-54 Abraham’s servant gave gifts to Rebekah, Laban, and her mother Milcah. This was a bride’s dowry, paid to the bride’s family.
Genesis 24:55-59 Laban and Milcah insisted that the servant stay for a while, at least 10 days to perhaps give them a chance to properly say good-bye. The servant did not want to delay and take any chances that something would go wrong and insisted that they left now. They asked Rebekah if it was okay that she went right away, and seeing she had no problem with it, they let her go immediately along with Rebekah’s nurse.
Notes: Like Abraham, Rebekah left her family and country by faith to marry Isaac whom she never met. God orchestrated the servant’s faithfulness, Rebekah’s positive response, and some unlikely events to bring about the marriage; they would be better able to see their very existence as the result of God’s guiding hand.
Genesis 24:63 Isaac was meditating and in prayer with the Lord when Rebekah arrived.
Genesis 24:65 It was customary for a woman to cover her face with a veil during the period of betrothal until they were married.
Genesis 24:67 After hearing the servant’s story, Isaac took Rebekah and made her his wife.