The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 24

Gen 24:1

Gen 24: Typical of the Marriage of the Lamb.

Abraham had no more revelations from God, yet he knew God was with him in this matter.

Isaac loves Rebekah, whom he has not seen: "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" (1Pe 1:8).

Gen 24:2

CHIEF (ELDEST) SERVANT: Eliezer: Gen 15:2.

PUT YOUR HAND UNDER MY THIGH: Cp Gen 47:29; "A transaction of great and solemn import". A euphemism prob ref the organ of procreation. Showing faith in promises made to Abraham re his seed (v 7). The old man Abraham has a simple faith that God will, by His providence, provide a solution to his problem of no seed.

Gen 24:4

Abraham's servant goes to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor (v 10). Abraham had had some news of his family there (Gen 22:20-24). A bride for the "son of promise".

Gen 24:5

Spiritual lesson: The "bride" of the true "seed" must be willing to leave her own country and her own family.

Gen 24:6

Abraham and his seed were to sojourn in Canaan and not to leave: cp Gen 26:3.

Gen 24:8

Like any preacher, all Eliezer could do was declare. He could not compel. See Act 18:6.

Gen 24:9

UNDER THE THIGH: A euphemism prob ref the organ of procreation: cp v 2.

Gen 24:10

Eliezer also took men with him (v 54).

Typ: the messenger takes a sample of his master's "riches": the gospel message, and the "earnest" of the inheritance (Eph 1:14).

CAMELS: One of the main indications of an anachronism in the Bible was thought to be that of the camel. Genesis reports that camels were mainstay beasts of burden and transportation already at the time of Abraham, in the 18th century BC. Yet it was originally thought that camels were first domesticated in the Middle East no earlier than the 12th century BC. This anachronism was a clear indication of the later writing of the Bible. Or so it was thought. All this changed with the turn of a shovel. Recent archaeological finds have clearly demonstrated that the camel was domesticated by the 18th century BC. What was previously thought to be a knockout punch against the Bible, is now evidence supporting it.

Gen 24:11

KNEEL DOWN: Camels are actually taught this from birth (LB 592).

NEAR THE WELL: How many men (or their representatives) met their future "brides" beside a well?

EVENING...THE WOMEN GO OUT TO DRAW WATER: In rural area, women only draw water, esp in evening, to prepare the evening meal. By the providence of God, he comes to the right place at the right time.

Gen 24:12

GOD OF MY MASTER ABRAHAM: From whom Eliezer had learned his own faith...

Gen 24:14

I'LL WATER YOUR CAMELS TOO: Quite an added burden: each camel would require 12-20 gal apiece. Drawing up by hand many skins full of water: "Going the second mile!"

Gen 24:15

"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear" (Isa 65:24). Angelic supervision in the ways of providence (WP 30-32).

ON HER SHOULDER: Egyptian and Negro carry on head, the Syrian on shoulder or hip (LB 592).

BETHUEL: Bethuel is still alive (v 50), but for some reason (illness?) he is insignificant throughout the story. Laban his son takes his place (vv 28,29). The brother and mother make decisions, but not father (vv 53,55). Cp also Gen 29:5. In this point, the author is consistent; he knows more than he tells. No fabrication: USC 32-34.

Gen 24:18

QUICKLY: Her haste complemented his haste (v 17). Cp her attitude: vv 56,58.

Gen 24:19

Her kind consideration for tired travelers showed a complete lack of pride... a willing and practical disposition, a warm and generous nature.

Gen 24:20

ENOUGH FOR ALL HIS CAMELS: Not a simple task: v 14.

Gen 24:22

GOLD NOSE RING: The gold ring, a token of betrothal: v 47; Isa 3:21; Eze 16: 12.

BEKA: AV: Half a shekel. "Beka" = to divide: Exo 38:26 -- the weight of the ransom money. "Rebekah" sig "to reunite that which has been divided", ie Gentile bride to Jewish seed of promise. Rom 8:23: "the redemption of the body".

Gen 24:24

Nahor was Abraham's brother. But his granddaughter is proper age to marry Abraham's son (ie 3rd generation with 2nd). This is explained by Abraham's great age at the birth of Isaac (USC 31).

Gen 24:27

KINDNESS AND FAITHFULNESS: This phrase is used quite often in Scripture in connection with God's covenants of promise to the fathers (Mic 7:20; Gen 32:9,10; Psa 89:28,29).

ON THE JOURNEY: "In the way" (AV). "In the way" a light (Act 26:13).

Gen 24:28

The bride-elect displays her "gifts" to others!

HER MOTHER'S HOUSEHOLD: Not "her father's house", as did Rachel (ct Gen 29:2; see v 15n).

Gen 24:30

A change in appearance of the prospective bride!

Gen 24:31

Laban, true to character, is greedy and crafty, traits seen later in his dealings with Jacob. For some, faith/promises are a means of achieving gain (1Ti 6:5).

Gen 24:32

The camels dwell in the "house" also.

Gen 24:33

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (Joh 4:34).

Gen 24:35

Undoubtedly, Eliezer tells them of God's covenant with Abraham, by which He will bless him and his special seed Isaac. Thus he preaches the "gospel" to them (Gal 3:6-9). See esp v 60: To Rebekah: "Be the mother of thousands!" -- showing faith and understanding of promises.

Gen 24:40

See Gen 17:1n.

Gen 24:56

DO NOT DETAIN ME (HINDER ME NOT): Ct the Levite with concubine (Jdg 19:5-9). Rebekah believed that a glorious destiny awaited her; so she was in haste to go to it! (Are we, as the "Bride" of Christ, as eager to go forth to meet him?)

Gen 24:58

WILL YOU GO?: It was very unusual to ask the young woman in these circumstances.

I WILL GO: No hesitation.

Gen 24:59

The separation from her family was real and irrevocable (prob without the comfort of letters or visits). She was really severing all connections with her home, followed by a long journey. At the end of it, she was to marry a man whom she had never seen...

Gen 24:60

MAY YOU INCREASE TO (BE THOU THE MOTHER OF) THOUSANDS: Impl understanding and faith. Cp to Sarah -- to be mother of kings and nations (Gen 17:16).

Gen 24:61

The bride's long journey of faith to the Land of her husband.

Gen 24:62

BEER LAHAI ROI: "Well of life and vision" (cp Joh 4:6-8). As with Eliezer (v 11), so a well figures in Isaac's life. See Gen 25:11n.

Gen 24:63

THE FIELD: In the field we have a study richly furnished with texts for thought. From the mighty cedar to the humble hyssop, from the soaring eagle down to the chirping grasshopper, from the blue expanse of heaven to a drop of dew, all things are full of teaching. When the eye of faith is opened, that teaching is impressed upon the mind far more vividly than from written books. Our homes are neither so healthy, so suggestive of spiritual things, so agreeable, or so inspiring as the fields. Let us count nothing common or unclean, but feel that all created things point to their Maker, and then the field will be "hallowed ground" to us.

ONE EVENING: Likewise, the evening is a good time for reflection, meditation, prayer. The time of sunset, as it draws a veil over the day, is suitable for that time of mental rest, when earthly cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion. The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder, and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe. If time permits, it would be good to take a walk in the field or park in the evening. If not, however, we know the LORD is in the town too, and will commune with us in our private room or in the crowded street. Wherever we are, then, our hearts go forth to meet Him.

MEDITATE: Poss related to some grief (the death of his mother: v 67?) (USC 35). Cp v 67.

We should all know more, live nearer to God, and grow in grace, if we were more alone. Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutrients from the mental food gathered elsewhere.

Gen 24:64

REBEKAH... SAW ISAAC: Isaac found Rebekah while engaged in private meditations; many others have found their best beloved in the same place.

SHE GOT DOWN FROM (LIGHTED OFF) HER CAMEL: A mark of respect. She recognizes Isaac's position before God!

Gen 24:65

SHE TOOK HER VEIL AND COVERED HERSELF: (It was necessary to be covered in the presence of a stranger.) The identity of Christ's "bride" is hidden at the present time... veiled from the world!

Gen 24:67

SHE BECAME HIS WIFE, AND HE LOVED HER: "However important it is that love should precede marriage, it is far more important that it should continue AFTER marriage. The modern attitude lays all the stress upon the romance before marriage, but the older Jewish view emphasizes the lifelong devotion and affection after marriage" (Rabbi Hirsch).

ISAAC WAS COMFORTED AFTER HIS MOTHER'S DEATH: The "marriage" of the Lamb brings comfort after the age-long reign of death over the world!

"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 -- Luke 16:10" (CY).

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