Genesis: The Beginning
A Wife for Isaac 1-23-16
READ: Genesis 24
Yesterday, we read about the death of Sarah, as well as Abraham’s first seed planted as a property owner in the Promised Land when he buys a cave in which to bury Sarah. Today, we will read about Isaac, the son of Promise, and how God provided him a wife, Rebekah.
Abraham is getting much older (140 years old) and he is planning to turn everything over to Isaac. One thing is missing; Isaac needs a wife to carry on the descendants of Abraham. So, Abraham calls in his faithful servant, Eliezer (name translates “God has helped”), and makes him take an oath. Abraham commissions Eliezer to go and find a wife for Isaac from among his own people. Abraham is going to arrange a marriage for Isaac with a young woman who will be compatible with the family. Isaac (40 years old) will have no say in the matter and will not be allowed to go on this journey. Eliezer accepts this challenging task and makes a plan to fulfill his master’s request. Eliezer will make a 500 mile trip back to Mesopotamia to find the right wife for Isaac and bring her back.
Eliezer loads ten (ten represents the perfect authority of God) camels with expensive gifts and heads out toward the home of Abraham’s brother, Nahor. It is evening when Eliezer arrives at the well outside of town. He prays, “O LORD, please give me success today…I am standing beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘’Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” And, before Eliezer could finish praying, he opens his eyes looking for God to work and there is Rebekah—granddaughter of Nahor.
Rebekah is gracious and she responds exactly the way Eliezer has requested of the LORD; she offers Eliezer water and then begins to water the camels. (NOTE: offering to water a traveler’s camels is above and beyond expected hospitality; we see Rebekah has a servant’s heart). Camel’s can drink a lot of water after a long journey; each camel can drink as much as 25 gallons of water to be refreshed after a week’s journey. So this is a big commitment by Rebekah as she offers to water all ten of the stranger’s camels with her water jug. Eliezer sees that this young woman is hard-working, beautiful, and courteous; he rewards her with a nose ring and bracelets. He recognizes Yahweh’s provision (God has helped) in this moment, so he bows to worship the LORD.
Rebekah is overwhelmed with everything that has happens at the well, so she runs home to tell her family. Rebekah’s older brother, Laban, hears the story and comes to check out the goods on the camels—yes, he’s motivated relationally due to wealth and we will see his greed again later in our study of Genesis. Laban invites Eliezer to come home and enjoy their hospitality. Once at the home, Eliezer wants to skip the food and get right down to business; his purpose for being there is to find a wife for Isaac—the son of Promise—a miracle from Yahweh through Abraham and Sarah. He shares the entire miraculous story. After listening to the servant’s witness, Bethel and Laban also recognize Yahweh’s providence, so they give Eliezer permission to take Rebekah back to marry Isaac. Eliezer bows to worship the LORD, again. It is obvious a true worshiper of Yahweh gets His help.
All of the gifts sent by Abraham are given to the family when they agree to this marriage; then, they all sit and share a meal together. The next morning, Eliezer is ready to leave and head back home to Abraham, but Rebekah’s family tells him they want her to stay with them at least ten more days. That will not do with Eliezer; he is ready to go without delay. So, the family allows Rebekah to choose; she decides to go with Eliezer. The family prays a blessing over her; “may she become the mother of many millions! Eliezer, Rebekah, and her servants depart for Canaan.
Isaac is out in the field deep in thought when he sees Eliezer and the camels returning. Eliezer tells Isaac the whole story, introduces him to Rebekah, and she becomes his wife. God is providing according to His promise. Rebekah will be the new matriarch of the family. Eliezer, the servant, has played an important part of multiplying the father of nations with God’s help.
God works behind the scenes in the lives of his children to accomplish His will. Our responsibility is to seek the LORD’s guidance through prayer and then praise and thank Him for the answers. Eliezer is an example of spiritually tapping into God’s provision by being a diligent person of his word.