A Daily Genesis

Genesis 24:36-53

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 24:36a . . And Sarah, my master's wife, bore my master a son in her old age[/B]

Oddly, he doesn't mention Sarah's passing. But then, the Scriptures don't record every word that people ever spoke-- just excerpts really. Back in verse 30, Becky's entire experience at the spring is recounted in a very simple phrase: "Thus the man spoke to me."

If Becky wasn't listening before, you can just bet your equity line that her little ears perked up like a NORAD radar station at the mention of Abraham's son. And not just a son, but a son born in Sarah's old age; which would mean that Abraham's boy was relatively young, or at least age-appropriate for her liking-- and maybe available too.

Americans don't take marriage serious enough. It was life or death in those days. Ancient women didn't have the advantages of modern careers, open promiscuity, and independence like the women in twenty-first century America. Family life was all that really mattered to the women of old. It was their career goal and it was their old age security. Single women were failures and most likely headed for poverty. And some even felt it was an evidence of Divine disfavor to become an old maid-- which only served to aggravate their despair even more. So when those women got married and/or had a baby; it was a very big cause for celebration.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 24:36b . . and he has assigned to him everything he owns.[/B]

It's no doubt obvious by now to everyone in the house where the servant is going with his narrative. Why else would he tell of the son's inheritance if not to impress Becky's family in order to secure her for the son's bride?

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 24:37-41 . . Now my master made me swear, saying: You shall not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I dwell; but you shall go to my father's house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son. And I said to my master: What if the woman does not follow me?[/B]

[B]. . . He replied to me: The Lord, whose ways I have followed, will send His angel with you and make your errand successful; and you will get a wife for my son from my kindred, from my father's house. Thus only shall you be freed from my adjuration: if, when you come to my kindred, they refuse you--only then shall you be freed from my adjuration.[/B]

The "kindred" who might refuse the servant, includes the potential bride herself because Abraham said so at Gen 24:8.

In the ancient East, daughters were often given in arranged marriages without their consent. And normally, if Becky's kin were to say she was going to marry Isaac, well then she was going to marry Isaac and that was the end of discussion. Up ahead, we'll see that very fate befall Becky's nieces: Rachel and Leah.

But Abraham didn't want Isaac's bride to be purchased. No. In this case, Abraham broke with tradition and mandated the prospective bride herself cast the deciding vote. So if Becky refuses, the servant can't be blamed for dereliction of duty; and nobody is going to handcuff Becky and ship her off to Palestine via UPS ground. Abraham wants her to come down there of her own volition; and if not, then he'll look elsewhere . . . and no hard feelings about it.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 24:42-48 . . This portion is pretty much what went on before except that in this version, the family is told how Becky came to have the nose ring and the arm bands.[/B]

Becky hadn't known till just now that the servant prayed for special providence prior to her arrival at the spring-- the part concerning drinking the maiden's water, and her serving the camels. Becky must have been totally astonished to think that the actual True God led that man, not just to her doorstep, but right smack dab to her footsteps. Wow!

But she had no say in the negotiations at this point. Proposals were made to the senior members of the family in those days, not to the girl.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 24:49-51 . . And now, if you mean to treat my master with true kindness, tell me; and if not, tell me also, that I may turn right or left. Then Laban and Bethuel answered: The matter was decreed by Yhvh; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Here is Rebecca before you; take her and go, and let her be a wife to your master's son, as the Lord has spoken.[/B]

Actually Bethuel himself didn't say anything. Laban spoke in proxy for him in the same way that the steward was now speaking as Abraham in Isaac's best interests. Bethuel and Laban may have had a quiet pow-wow off to the side and then Laban came forward and announced their decision.

At this point, Becky would have normally become legally engaged to marry Isaac. But Abraham would not permit the marriage to be set in stone until the girl actually consented for herself. So it's not over yet.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 24:52 . .When Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed low to the ground before the Lord.[/B]

Abraham's steward is one of the most pious men in the Bible, and people like him can be very influential for God. If you've ever been in the presence of someone like him you know what I'm saying. All the prayers I learned as a child were rote; just a memorized litany of chant-like mantras. The first time I overheard someone pray candidly, from the heart, it was very moving.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 24:53 . .The servant brought out items of silver and gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebecca; and he gave presents to her brother and her mother.[/B]

The gifts were a good-faith token that the servant meant what he said; and I've no doubt that had Becky ultimately refused, he would not have demanded them back.

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