Genesis
Introduction 1-9 A Wife for Isaac 10-14 The Prayer of the Servant 15-20 The Servant Meets Rebekah 21-25 Closer Acquaintance 26-27 The Servant Praises the LORD 28-31 Laban 32-49 The Report of the Servant and His Question 50-58 Reactions of Laban, Bethuel and Rebekah 59-61 Rebekah Goes with the Servant 62-67 Isaac and Rebekah
Introduction

In this chapter we have a striking picture of the work of the triune God for obtaining a bride for the Son. The initiative comes from the Father (verses 1-91Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way.2Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh,3and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live,4but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”5The servant said to him, “Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?”6Then Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there!7The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there.8But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.”9So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.), the servant is a picture of the Holy Spirit (verses 10-61), the bride is a picture of the church that is related with the Lord Jesus (verses 62-6762Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev.63Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.64Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel.65She said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself.66The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.67Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.).

Also practically there is much in this chapter that can help and encourage us in our lives with the Lord. As in the previous chapter, we do not hear a voice of God with a command. We don’t see any miracles either. We become partakers of considerations of believers who seek the way of the Lord and we see how the Lord leads.

The lesson is not that we get an answer to our prayers as quickly as the servant and then the answer we want. The lesson is that we may consider and in confidence ask the Lord for His guidance and that He gives it.


A Wife for Isaac

1Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way. 2Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “Please place your hand under my thigh, 3and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, 4but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” 5The servant said to him, “Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?” 6Then Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there! 7The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there. 8But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.” 9So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.

Abraham states that the wife for his son may not come from the nations, but from his own family. It must be someone who suits him. The application for today is that a believer may not enter into a relationship with an unbeliever (2Cor 6:1414Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?). He may only marry ‘in the Lord’ (1Cor 7:3939A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.), that is to say, someone who also belongs to the Lord Jesus.

The bride must be taken from the country where Abraham comes from. Isaac remains in the land of promise. Thus the Lord Jesus remains in heaven, while the Holy Spirit prepares the church to meet her Bridegroom.

Finding such a wife requires effort. There are many factors to take into account. If we look at these factors humanly, it is an impossible task. However, if we count on the guidance of the Lord, it is a path of faith that we can confidently follow to a good end.


The Prayer of the Servant

10Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. 12He said, “O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham. 13Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water; 14now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’—[may] she [be the one] whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.”

The servant sets out “with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand” (cf. verse 3636Now Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master in her old age, and he has given him all that he has.). For all these good things ten camels are needed, so it is not small what he takes with him. In the same way, today the Holy Spirit wants to show all the glories of the Father and the Son to the church, to us, to persuade us to go with Him through the wilderness, on our way to the Lord Jesus. Those precious things are not few.

In everything the servant does, we see full dependence on God. This is an example for us to surrender our whole lives to His guidance (Pro 3:66In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
). It is important – and we must pray for this – that God shows us His will and guidance and that we also have an eye for it (Psa 32:88I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
; 27:1111Teach me Your way, O LORD,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
).

The place where the servant prays is near a well of water. There he expects the answer to his prayer. Water is a picture of the Word of God (Eph 5:2626so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,). The Holy Spirit will never do anything without the Word of God. The servant asks the LORD if He will show him that the girl has characteristics which testify that she belongs to Abraham’s family, that is to say that he can see from her behavior the characteristics of Godly life, the characteristics of a believer. “A prudent wife is from the LORD” (Pro 19:14b14House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the LORD.
).

The servant asks the LORD to show him that the girl is doing more than he asks. He will ask her if she has water for him. If she consents and offers to draw water for the camels, it is the girl the LORD has destined for the son of his lord. The true believer is characterized by the fact that, without any request to that effect, he does more than is asked of him.


The Servant Meets Rebekah

15Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder. 16The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and no man had had relations with her; and she went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. 17Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar.” 18She said, “Drink, my LORD”; and she quickly lowered her jar to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19Now when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw also for your camels until they have finished drinking.” 20So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels.

The LORD heareth the prayer of the servant. He is done according to his faith. His prayer is answered quickly, even before he has finished speaking. The first one to come to draw water is the girl he prayed for. She responds to his prayer. That she also thinks of the camels, proves once again that she is a righteous one (Pro 12:10a10A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal,
But [even] the compassion of the wicked is cruel.
).

Rebekah is not only handsome and pure, she is also helpful and diligent. She shows her desire to refresh others when they ask for it. As said, she does more than she has been asked to do. The servant has asked for “a little water”, but she lets him drink until he has enough. After that she also draws for “your camels”. That is a huge job, because camels drink enormous amounts of water and it concerns ten camels (verse 1010Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.). She knows what she asks and does what she wants to do. This is how the Lord Jesus sees His church. How good is it, when we, as members of His church, are committed to what serves to refresh others.


Closer Acquaintance

21Meanwhile, the man was gazing at her in silence, to know whether the LORD had made his journey successful or not. 22When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold, 23and said, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room for us to lodge in your father’s house?” 24She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25Again she said to him, “We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to lodge in.”

Before he comes to the conclusion that she is the wife for whom he has prayed, he observes her silently. He does not rush, but seeks the confirmation of what he has asked the LORD (cf. Hab 2:11I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.
). He doesn’t disturb her in her work, but also lets her take care of the camels. When the camels have drunk enough, he decorates Rebekah with the decorations he received from Abraham (verse 4747Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him’; and I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists.).

Rebekah has shown her service. That is a decoration. Our practice as a Christian is an ornament of the teachings of Christ (Tit 2:1010not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.). In everything in which the believer makes the new life work, he is decorated, making his beauty even greater.

To convince himself that she is the woman for whom he has prayed the LORD, he asks who she is. At the same time he asks if he can spend the night in her father’s house. Rebekah tells that she is the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham (Gen 11:2626Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.). She belongs to the family of Abraham and thus meets the necessary condition to be the wife of Isaac. The servant’s second question, about the possibility of spending the night, is answered by her with a hospitable offer.


The Servant Praises the LORD

26Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD. 27He said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.”

After he has received the assurance that Rebekah is the woman who responds to his order, he praises the LORD for His great fidelity to Abraham and the guidance he himself has experienced. He has prayed for prosperity, and now that he has obtained it, he thanks God for it. What we receive as an answer to our prayer should as a first reaction of be answered by us with thanksgiving (Dan 2:1919Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven;).


Laban

28Then the girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things. 29Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran outside to the man at the spring. 30When he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, “This is what the man said to me,” he went to the man; and behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. 31And he said, “Come in, blessed of the LORD! Why do you stand outside since I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels?”

Rebekah’s brother, Laban, is a man who is only interested in adoration. He is a picture of an earthly- and worldly-minded Christian. Outwardly such a Christian belongs to the family of God, but like Laban, it is only about monetary gain (cf. Acts 8:13-2413Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.14Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John,15who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.16For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.17Then they [began] laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.18Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,19saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”20But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!21You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.22Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.23For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”24But Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”).


The Report of the Servant and His Question

32So the man entered the house. Then Laban unloaded the camels, and he gave straw and feed to the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33But when [food] was set before him to eat, he said, “I will not eat until I have told my business.” And he said, “Speak on.” 34So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35The LORD has greatly blessed my master, so that he has become rich; and He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and servants and maids, and camels and donkeys. 36Now Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master in her old age, and he has given him all that he has. 37My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; 38but you shall go to my father’s house and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.’ 39I said to my master, ‘Suppose the woman does not follow me.’ 40He said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives and from my father’s house; 41then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my relatives; and if they do not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.’ 42“So I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now You will make my journey on which I go successful; 43behold, I am standing by the spring, and may it be that the maiden who comes out to draw, and to whom I say, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar”; 44and she will say to me, “You drink, and I will draw for your camels also”; let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’ 45“Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder, and went down to the spring and drew, and I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 46She quickly lowered her jar from her [shoulder], and said, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’; so I drank, and she watered the camels also. 47Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him’; and I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists. 48And I bowed low and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. 49So now if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, let me know, that I may turn to the right hand or the left.”

If food is set before the servant to eat, he will not eat until he has told his business. What occupies him internally – his lord’s command – is more important to him than the needs of his body (verses 32-3332So the man entered the house. Then Laban unloaded the camels, and he gave straw and feed to the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.33But when [food] was set before him to eat, he said, “I will not eat until I have told my business.” And he said, “Speak on.”). We see the same with the Lord Jesus in His life on earth (Jn 4:3434Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.).

The servant tells them in detail the wonderful confluence of circumstances, in which he clearly describes the guidance of God. First he introduces himself. He is the servant of Abraham. Then he tells about his sponsor and how he is blessed by the LORD, and that there is a son to whom Abraham has given all that he possesses (verses 34-3634So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant.35The LORD has greatly blessed my master, so that he has become rich; and He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and servants and maids, and camels and donkeys.36Now Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master in her old age, and he has given him all that he has.).

Next, he announces with which commission his lord sent him on his way, how he reacted to it and what Abraham said about it (verses 37-4137My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live;38but you shall go to my father’s house and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.’39I said to my master, ‘Suppose the woman does not follow me.’40He said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives and from my father’s house;41then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my relatives; and if they do not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.’). He tells them how he prayed to ask for guidance through a sign (verses 42-4442“So I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now You will make my journey on which I go successful;43behold, I am standing by the spring, and may it be that the maiden who comes out to draw, and to whom I say, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar”;44and she will say to me, “You drink, and I will draw for your camels also”; let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’). Then he recounts how God has answered his prayer – which he has spoken in his heart – to the smallest details (verses 45-4745“Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder, and went down to the spring and drew, and I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’46She quickly lowered her jar from her [shoulder], and said, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’; so I drank, and she watered the camels also.47Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him’; and I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists.). Finally, he reports how he bowed his knees before the LORD and worshipped Him for the goodness shown to him (verse 4848And I bowed low and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had guided me in the right way to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son.).

The servant’s report contains a wealth of data on the greatness of his lord and his son. He also talks about what his lord’s plan is with regard to the bride. He also mentions the way he went.

In all this we can see a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit Who wants to tell us about the glory of the Lord Jesus and God’s plans with the church: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose [it] to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose [it] to you” (Jn 16:13-1513But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.14He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose [it] to you.15All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose [it] to you.).

When the servant has reported, he asks them for their reaction. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is waiting for a response from us when He has told us about the Father and the Son. Are we prepared to leave everything behind to be with the Bridegroom?


Reactions of Laban, Bethuel and Rebekah

50Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The matter comes from the LORD; [so] we cannot speak to you bad or good. 51Here is Rebekah before you, take [her] and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken.” 52When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the LORD. 53The servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother. 54Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night. When they arose in the morning, he said, “Send me away to my master.” 55But her brother and her mother said, “Let the girl stay with us [a few] days, say ten; afterward she may go.” 56He said to them, “Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.” 57And they said, “We will call the girl and consult her wishes.” 58Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”

Brother Laban and father Bethuel acknowledge that the LORD is at work. They cannot say anything “bad or good”, that is to say that they cannot add or take away anything. They can’t change anything about it (cf. Num 24:1313‘Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything contrary to the command of the LORD, either good or bad, of my own accord. What the LORD speaks, that I will speak’?). Therefore they give permission to the servant to take Rebekah with them. Their consent, by the way, seems to be more forced than warm-hearted. This also appears to be the case further on, when attempts are made to delay Rebekah’s departure. The servant accepts the consent from the hand of the LORD and honors Him for it.

The preparations for the journey from Rebekah to Isaac include a new series of gifts. For Rebekah he brings out silver and gold jewelry and clothing. Laban and her mother receive precious gifts. When all is ready, the servant and those who are with him can eat and drink and sleep peacefully.

The next day the servant wants to return to his Lord. There is no reason to stay any longer. He knows how Abraham and Isaac are looking forward to the outcome of his mission. Rebekah’s brother and mother, however, do not share that desire. They want Rebekah to stay with them for another ten days or so. The servant, however, does not allow himself to be detained. Then Rebekah is asked if she wants to go “with this man”. Her answer is short and powerful: “I will go.”

When we grew up in a Christian family and have heard a lot about all the treasures of the Father and the Son, the question comes to us as to whether, under the guidance of God’s Spirit, we want to consecrate ourselves to the Lord Jesus in our journey to Him. The answer will be clear from our lives.


Rebekah Goes with the Servant

59Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60They blessed Rebekah and said to her,
“May you, our sister,
Become thousands of ten thousands,
And may your descendants possess
The gate of those who hate them.”
61Then Rebekah arose with her maids, and they mounted the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed.

If Rebekah has made her decision known without any reservation, she may go. Her family wishes her numerous offspring and the victory over her enemies. Then she prepares herself and follows the man, that is the servant, who takes her and leaves for his lord and the son of his lord.


Isaac and Rebekah

62Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev. 63Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. 65She said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself. 66The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

The actual trip is not mentioned. Rebekah’s heart is full of her groom. The heart of Isaac is full of his bride. Isaac is at the well Lahai-Roi, there he lives. When Rebekah hears who he is, she covers herself with a veil. That is not for not to be seen by other men, but to be alone for him. The woman’s long hair, called a veil (1Cor 11:1515but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.), is a beautiful expression of the devotion of the church, the bride, to the Lord Jesus, the Bridegroom.

Then Isaac brings her into his mother Sara’s tent and marries her. Here, for the second time, there is talk of ‘love’ in the Bible. The first time it concerns the love between Abraham and Isaac, a picture of the Father and the Son (Gen 22:22He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”). This is the love between Isaac and Rebekah, a picture of the Lord Jesus and the church. Sarah is replaced by Rebekah; so the church has replaced Israel.

This is not about the rapture of church to be with the Lord Jesus. The place of association is here a tent. That speaks of being a stranger. The picture we have before us is the desire of the Father and the Holy Spirit to already work on earth for the church to find her all in the Son and to have fellowship with Him already, to the joy of His heart.


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