Genesis 24 A Bride For Isaac.
Abraham had been blessed in many ways, both materially and spiritually. He had just been mourning the loss of a great blessing in his life-Sarah (v. 1). Isaac was also a child of promise to him. However, before he left this life he wanted to do what he could to see to it that Isaac married within the faith. Asking his servant to swear on oath to this end was his answer to this problem, no doubt a man whom he knew he could trust. It would not have been right for Abraham to leave the land of promise again, but it was also not right that Isaac should marry a pagan, someone outside of the covenant. Abraham had made the mistake of having sexual relations with Hagar. No doubt he did not want to see Isaac make the same mistake (vv. 2-4). But if the servant were to find such a woman, she might not be willing to come back to the promised land. So Abraham made it clear that Isaac was not to leave and go to her (vv. 5-6). Abraham reiterated the LORD’s faithfulness to him, and he was confident that if his servant could not bring back a suitable bride, that the LORD would provide in another way (vv. 7-9). So we see, that finally in his old age, Abraham had learned to not try and manufacture things his own way, but rather to obey the LORD in the LORD’s way and timing.
This begins a series of very important principles for making godly principled decisions based on the way of wisdom, in this case involving finding a godly mate. Of first importance is that one must marry within the faith. It wasn’t impossible that a Christian woman could be found in the promised land, but it was more likely that Abraham’s servant would find one in the land of his fathers, and the fact that Isaac had not found anyone at this point, probably suggests that one could not be found where they were. Secondly, being a member of the visible church was not enough for Abraham’s servant. Gideon had once put a fleece for some guidance, but he was simply looking for evidence of a miracle-God doing something contrary to the normal laws of nature. First of all, the servant was looking for something more. He brought of his master’s abundance to show that he could back up his words with actions. His master’s son was a man who could provide (vv. 10-11). Secondly, Abraham’s servant was looking for something similarly beyond mere outward membership in the church from the bride he was searching for. The “test” which he was putting out there was a test of character-whether he could find a woman who gave evidence of the genuineness of her faith by caring for a stranger (vv. 12-14).
We read that even as the servant was speaking Rebekah appeared and she in fact both drew water for him and also for his camels (vv. 15-21). When he asked her about her family he then learned that the other condition of being a member of the covenant community was fulfilled (vv. 22-25), a covenant family that was as generous as her. With both conditions having been fulfilled he could see that the LORD was indeed answering his prayer in his providence. “Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the LORD” (v. 26). He confessed to Rebekah what he was giving thanks for, and Rebekah ran home to her family (vv. 27-28). So here we see, thirdly, another principle at work-in this case by Rebekah-she sought out the advice and consult of her family, and her brother Laban took the lead (vv. 29-31). The family offered food and lodging-just as Rebekah had said, but the servant had to settle the matter of his journey first (vv. 32-33). His testimony to Rebekah’s family reiterates the above points. Firstly, his master’s son was a member of the covenant, and secondly the blessings he delineated show that he and his family, including Isaac, were hard workers who had experienced covenantal blessing. Now, thirdly, he was making his case to Rebekah’s family (vv. 34-49).
Fourthly, in this case which the servant is making to the family he adds an additional point, he was not only looking for a covenant member who showed the fruit of true membership by showing compassion to a stranger, but he was also looking for the same moral purity that characterized Isaac’s life-namely that she was a virgin (vv. 16, 43). The end result of the servant making his case was that Laban and Bethuel her father gave their blessing, acknowledging the providence and wisdom of the LORD (vv. 50-51). So, fifthly, it was necessary that there be this blessing from the male leadership, in particular Rebekah’s father. This again led the servant to worship the LORD and to shower additional gifts upon Rebekah (vv. 52-53). The family and the servant enjoyed some time of fellowship with each other, but the servant wanted to return as soon as possible to his master (vv. 54-56). But there was another principle that was necessary to follow-they needed to ask Rebekah if this was her choice (v. 57). Unlike her brother and mother, for Rebekah there was no hesitation, she said, “I will go” (v. 58). So finally the whole family issues their blessing and she and Abraham’s servant are sent on their way with the reiteration of the LORD’s covenantal promise confirmed to Abraham (vv. 59-61 Cf. Gen. 17:16; 22:17).
It is no coincidence that we are told that Isaac had been spending his time in ‘Beer Lahai Roi’, meaning, “well of the one who lives and sees me.” This was Isaac’s life. His trust and hope was in the living God who continually saw him, his person, his circumstances, and in this case his loneliness, suffering as he did from the recent loss of his mother (vv. 62, 67b). In fact, as Rebekah and Abraham’s servant were approaching, Isaac had gone out into the field to meditate (v. 63). No doubt he had been reflecting on the journey of his father’s servant and what might come of it. When Rebekah asked who the man was and found out it was her husband to be, she veiled and covered herself (vv. 64-65). We then read that the servant explained to Isaac everything that had taken place and what he had done (v. 66). It is interesting that Abraham is out of the picture now and the servant calls Isaac his master. Evidently Isaac totally concurred with what his servant had done and the providence of God through it all, because he both took her as his wife, remembering that she had already said yes, and he loved her (v. 67a). The two are not always together, but Rebekah truly captured Isaac’s heart. “So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (v. 67b).