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A God-Ordained Arrangement — Genesis Chapter 24

This blog post will cover the devotionals #114-117 for Genesis Chapter 24.

Please note that this devotional book is for sale as a physical (paperback) &/or digital (PDF) book on my website.

[114] Genesis 24:1-9

After Sarah died, Abraham was 137 years old. His wife (and son’s mother) had died, and he was nearing that time as well. He felt the time was right to find his son a wife, and entrusted that task to his beloved servant, Eleazar (the same one he originally thought might have to be his heir). He asked Eleazar to put his hand under Abraham’s thigh and swear that he wouldn’t take Isaac a wife from the Canaanites or take his son back to their home country. Israel (Jacob) also shared the same experience as he was nearing death (in Genesis 47:29). He asked his beloved son, Joseph, to put his hand under Israel’s thigh and swear that he wouldn’t bury him in Egypt, but in the tomb of his fathers. This action of putting your hand under someone’s thigh (essentially letting them sit on your hand) when you make an oath to them, is done as a sign of submission to their authority—you'll obey and do what you promised to do. I find it interesting that it was the thigh of Jacob (Israel) that was dislocated when he was wrestling with God in Genesis 32. Perhaps the association with the thigh was utilized to test Jacob and cause him to think that he didn’t have authority over Him with Whom he wrestled—yet, in spite of that issue (both mental and physical), he prevailed until God submitted to do what Jacob claimed He had promised He would do: “I will not let You go unless You bless me.” We also see significant mention in Revelation 19:16 of Christ’s thigh when He returns. “And He has a name written on His clothing and on His thigh, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” In several places throughout Scriptures, we see there’s reference to the sword being kept on the thigh. Having that name written on that spot upon His return seems to be a symbol representing His power and authority as King and Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:23, 24 says, “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then the end comes, when He will have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He will have put down all rule and authority and power.” This brings us full circle in our understanding of the symbolism between the thigh and authority—and why it was an important aspect of the oaths made in those times.

[115] Genesis 24:5-8,10-27

Eleazar took ten of Abraham’s camels with him to Mesopotamia, where he was to search for a wife for Isaac in the city of Nahor. When he arrived, he kneeled them down outside the city by a well. It was evening, which is when women went to get water. He prayed there, “Oh Lord God of my master, Abraham, I beg You, send me good speed this day, and show kindness to my master, Abraham. Look, I stand here by the well; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: and let it happen, that the young woman to whom I will say, ‘Lower your pitcher, I beg you, so I may drink’; and she will say, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels to drink also’: let it be her that You have appointed for Your servant, Isaac; and by that will I know that You have shown kindness to my master.” Before he even finished that prayer, Rebekah (the daughter of Bethuel and granddaughter of Milcah and Nahor—Abraham’s brother), came out with her pitcher. She was a beautiful virgin. She filled her pitcher and Eleazar ran and began his test. She responded very quickly—without hesitation. She even drew water several times to make sure all his camels were fully satisfied. Eleazar just watched her engaging manners and courteous behavior, amazed and contemplating if God had already prospered his mission. When she was finished, he gave her a half-shekel gold earring, and two bracelets of ten shekels of gold, and asked her who her parents were, and if there was enough room in their home for them to lodge. She revealed her family’s name, and said that not only was there enough room, but also enough straw and feed for the camels. At her response, Eleazar praised God. Not only did Isaac’s wife come from his uncle’s land, but from his own family. Isaiah 65:24 says that “It will happen that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” God not only knew what Eleazar’s mission was, and who He would provide for Isaac, but even what Eleazar would ask as a sign of assurance. God answered his prayer before he even finished praying it. We know that God was always going to be the One to choose her for Isaac, because Abraham had told Eleazar in his mission instructions (in Genesis 24:7) that the Lord would send His angel before him as he went to find a wife. Abraham didn’t want Isaac to go there himself because they were all idolaters there—and he told Eleazar three times not to take him there. Isaac himself had to be submissive, once again, to the judgment of his father, in sending a servant to find him the woman with whom he’d share the rest of his life. Once again, he was greatly blessed by God—who gave him such a wonderful partner.

[116] Genesis 24:28-61

Rebekah realized that something powerful had just happened at the well, so she ran to tell her family about it. Laban, her brother, ran out to meet Eleazar at the well after hearing what happened and seeing the jewelry he’d given her. He invited Eleazar into the space he’d prepared for him, his men, and his camels—and then got them comfortable, clean, and fed. Eleazar refused to eat, though, until he could make his intentions known. He told them who he was in relation to Abraham, who’d been greatly blessed by God. He explained how Sarah had given birth to Isaac in her old age, and how Abraham gave him everything he owned. He related the oath that Abraham made him swear concerning his mission, and then the details of his prayer and its immediate answer at the well with Rebekah. Eleazar was direct and to the point, asking them to say whether they’d work with Abraham for their children’s marriage or not, so he’d know if he needed to continue his search or return home. He did on Isaac’s behalf what a man traditionally does before proposing to his beloved—asking her father (or appropriate family) for their approval / blessing. Her brother and father both said that they couldn’t say anything for or against it because it came from God. They gave their consent to take Rebekah to Isaac to be married. Eleazar once again praised God, and brought silver and gold jewels and clothes, and gave them to her. He also gave her brother and mother precious items. They ate, drank, and stayed the night, and when they got up the next morning, Eleazar asked to leave so he could return to Abraham. Rebekah’s family asked him to let her stay at least ten more days before leaving, but when Eleazar said he shouldn’t delay when God had prospered his mission (he was anxious, anticipating Abraham’s joy), they said they’d let Rebekah decide if she’d go. She agreed to go—believing that God’s providence had made it clear she was to marry Isaac. So, she left with her nurse (and her other young women) that same morning to go with Eleazar and his men. The words they spoke to her as she left were impactful. “You are our sister, become the mother of thousands of millions, and let your seed possess the gate of those which hate them.” Isaac was the son given to the couple that was promised to have countless offspring, and here, his wife-to-be, was given well-wishes to mother thousands of millions.

[117] Genesis 24:62-67

Isaac had been working with flocks in a bordering country, and he returned to Beersheba (where Abraham was living) to find out the results of Eleazar’s mission. In the evening, he was out in the fields meditating when he noticed the approaching camels. Rebekah also noticed Isaac, and when she learned who he was, she veiled herself. The term, ‘lighted off’ was used, in Genesis 24:64, to describe how Rebekah came down from the camel. We'd usually think that to mean that she jumped off quickly or merely descended gracefully (as would be seen in the meeting between Abigail and David in 1 Samuel 25:23), but a different root word was used for Rebekah that suggests she fell off the camel. Whether it was graceful or not, it was indeed intentional. She knew she was approaching her fiancé’s home, and to remain seated on her ride (as an ‘inferior’) while he stood would’ve suggested lack of respect for the future head of her home. Isaac was forty years old when Rebekah was chosen for him, and well-established. It was common in those times for parents to arrange marriages for their children. They didn’t usually force them to marry if they didn’t love each other, but it was basically a crime to go against the arrangements. However, most children (even at the grown age of Isaac) respected their parents’ judgment and chose to marry and give love and affection to the chosen spouse. Nowadays, people in their teens and twenties believe they have better judgment to select a spouse (even if strong disapproval is given concerning their choice), so it’s a stark contrast with a forty-year-old man who was raised to have such good judgment on his own, and still chose to submit to his father’s choice. He was confident that God would lead in the selection, and that was good enough for him. Sometime after hearing from Eleazar about how she was selected, he took Rebekah to the tent of Sarah (his late mother) and loved her. The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah is a beautiful example of domestic happiness, and a testament to the blessing that comes by trusting in God’s judgment and timing.

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