וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן בָּא בַּיָּמִים וַיהוָה בֵּרַךְ אֶת אַבְרָהָם בַּכֹּל 24:1
Gene. 24:1 And Abraham was old, coming on in days, and the Lord had blessed Abraham in everything.
וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֶל עַבְדּוֹ זְקַן בֵּיתוֹ הַמֹּשֵׁל בְּכָל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ שִׂים נָא יָדְךָ תַּחַת יְרֵכִי 24:2
Gene. 24:2 And Abraham said to his servant, the elder in his house, the ruler of all that was his, “Please put your hand under my thigh,
It appears that a custom of the time when an oath was to be sworn to someone was to place the hand “beneath the thigh.” I suspect this is a euphemism for “between the thighs” or “on the private parts.”
וְאַשְׁבִּיעֲך ָבַּיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם וֵאלֹהֵי הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לֹא תִקַּח אִשָּׁה לִבְנִי מִבְּנוֹת הַכְּנַעֲנִי 24:3
אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי יוֹשֵׁב בְּקִרְבּוֹ
Gene. 24:3 and I will make you swear by the Lord, God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanite among whom I am dwelling.”
Another non-inverting vav before an imperfect first-person verb in this verse: It is in the first word, translated as “and I will make you swear....”
כִּי אֶל אַרְצִי וְאֶל מוֹלַדְתִּי תֵּלֵךְ וְלָקַחְתָּ אִשָּׁה לִבְנִי לְיִצְחָק 24:4
Gene. 24:4 “But you shall go to my land and to my kindred and take a wife for my son, for Isaac.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הָעֶבֶד אוּלַי לֹא תֹאבֶה הָאִשָּׁה לָלֶכֶת אַחֲרַי אֶל הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת הֶהָשֵׁב אָשִׁיב 24:5
אֶת בִּנְךָ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יָצָאתָ מִשָּׁם
Gene. 24:5 And the servant said to him, “Suppose the woman will not consent to come after me to this land. Should I return to bring back your son to the land from which you came?”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְרָהָם הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן תָּשִׁיב אֶת בְּנִי שָׁמָּה 24:6
Gene. 24:6 And Abraham said to him, “Be on your guard lest you would bring my son back there.”
יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם אֲשֶׁר לְקָחַנִי מִבֵּית אָבִי וּמֵאֶרֶץ מוֹלַדְתִּי וַאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לִי וַאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לִי 24:7
לֵאמֹר לְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת הוּא יִשְׁלַח מַלְאָכוֹ לְפָנֶיךָ וְלָקַחְתָּ אִשָּׁה לִבְנִי מִשָּׁם
Gene. 24:7 “The Lord, God of heaven, Who took me from the house of my father and from the land of my birth, and Who spoke to me and Who swore to me saying, ‘To your seed will I give this land,’ He will send his angel before you and you will take a wife for my son from there.”
וְאִם לֹא תֹאבֶה הָאִשָּׁה לָלֶכֶת אַחֲרֶיךָ וְנִקִּיתָ מִשְּׁבֻעָתִי זֹאת רַק אֶת בְּנִי לֹא תָשֵׁב שָׁמָּה 24:8
Gene. 24:8 “And if the woman is not willing to come after you, then you will be released from my oath; this only, you shall not bring my son back there.”
וַיָּשֶׂם הָעֶבֶד אֶת יָדוֹ תַּחַת יֶרֶךְ אַבְרָהָם אֲדֹנָיו וַיִּשָּׁבַע לוֹ עַל הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה 24:9
Gene. 24:9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham, his master, and swore to him over this matter.
As I mentioned with respect to v. 24:2, a custom of the times when swearing to someone was to place one’s hand under the thigh of the other. What did one do if the other person was standing? Did he have to sit down? What might have been the basis for such a custom? Some very interesting and provocative discussions and comments can be found on this subject if you’re curious.
וַיִּקַּח הָעֶבֶד עֲשָׂרָה גְמַלִּים מִגְּמַלֵּי אֲדֹנָיו וַיֵּלֶךְ וְכָל טוּב אֲדֹנָיו בְּיָדוֹ וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל אֲרַם 24:10
נַהֲרַיִם אֶל עִיר נָחוֹר
Gene. 24:10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master and he left with everything good of his master in his hand, and he rose and went to Aram-naharaim, to the city of Nahor.
וַיַּבְרֵךְ הַגְּמַלִּים מִחוּץ לָעִיר אֶל בְּאֵר הַמָּיִם לְעֵת עֶרֶב לְעֵת צֵאת הַשֹּׁאֲבֹת 24:11
Gene. 24:11 And he made the camels kneel outside of the city at the well of water at the time of evening, at the time of coming out to draw water.
וַיֹּאמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם הַקְרֵה נָא לְפָנַי הַיּוֹם וַעֲשֵׂה חֶסֶד עִם אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם 24:12
Gene. 24:12 And he said, “Lord, God of my master, Abraham, please prepare a meeting before me today and do kindness toward my master, Abraham.”
הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי נִצָּב עַל עֵין הַמָּיִם וּבְנוֹת אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר יֹצְאֹת לִשְׁאֹב מָיִם 24:13
Gene. 24:13 “Behold, I am standing by the fountain of water and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw out water.”
וְהָיָה הַנַּעֲרָ אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיהָ הַטִּי נָא כַדֵּךְ וְאֶשְׁתֶּה וְאָמְרָה שְׁתֵה וְגַם גְּמַלֶּיךָ אַשְׁקֶה אֹתָהּ 24:14
הֹכַחְתָּ לְעַבְדְּךָ לְיִצְחָק וּבָהּ אֵדַע כִּי עָשִׂיתָ חֶסֶד עִם אֲדֹנִי
Gene. 24:14 “So let it be the girl to whom I say, ‘Please hold out your pitcher so I may drink,’ and she will say, ‘Drink, and also to your camels I will give drink.’ Let her be the right one for your servant, for Isaac; and by her I will know that You have shown kindness toward my master.”
וַיְהִי הוּא טֶרֶם כִּלָּה לְדַבֵּר וְהִנֵּה רִבְקָה יֹצֵאת אֲשֶׁר יֻלְּדָה לִבְתוּ אֵל בֶּן מִלְכָּה אֵשֶׁת נָחוֹר אֲחִי 24:15
אַבְרָהָם וְכַדָּהּ עַל שִׁכְמָהּ
Gene. 24:15 And it happened before he finished speaking that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, the brother of Abraham, was coming out with her pitcher on her shoulder.
וְהַנַּעֲרָ טֹבַת מַרְאֶה מְאֹד בְּתוּלָה וְאִישׁ לֹא יְדָעָהּ וַתֵּרֶד הָעַיְנָה וַתְּמַלֵּא כַדָּהּ וַתָּעַל 24:16
Gene. 24:16 And the girl was a very fair sight, a maiden and no man had known her, and she went down to the fountain and filled her pitcher and came up.
וַיָּרָץ הָעֶבֶד לִקְרָאתָהּ וַיֹּאמֶר הַגְמִיאִינִי נָא מְעַט מַיִם מִכַּדֵּךְ 24:17
Gene. 24:17 And the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.”
וַתֹּאמֶר שְׁתֵה אֲדֹנִי וַתְּמַהֵר וַתֹּרֶד כַּדָּהּ עַל יָדָהּ וַתַּשְׁקֵהוּ 24:18
Gene. 24:18 And she said, “Drink, my lord.” And she hastened and let down her pitcher to her hand and gave him drink.
וַתְּכַל לְהַשְׁקֹתוֹ וַתֹּאמֶר גַּם לִגְמַלֶּיךָ אֶשְׁאָב עַד אִם כִּלּוּ לִשְׁתֹּת 24:19
Gene. 24:19 When she had finished giving him drink, then she said, “I will also draw for your camels until they are finished drinking.”
וַתְּמַהֵר וַתְּעַר כַּדָּהּ אֶל הַשֹּׁקֶת וַתָּרָץ עוֹד אֶל הַבְּאֵר לִשְׁאֹב וַתִּשְׁאַב לְכָל גְּמַלָּיו 24:20
Gene. 24:20 And she hastened and emptied into the trough, and she ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels.
וְהָאִישׁ מִשְׁתָּאֵה לָהּ מַחֲרִיש ׁלָדַעַת הַהִצְלִיחַ יְהוָה דַּרְכּוֹ אִם לֹא 24:21
Gene. 24:21 And the man was stunned by her as he waited to know if the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.
וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר כִּלּוּ הַגְּמַלִּים לִשְׁתּוֹת וַיִּקַּח הָאִישׁ נֶזֶם זָהָב בֶּקַע מִשְׁקָלוֹ וּשְׁנֵי צְמִידִים עַל יָדֶיהָ 24:22
עֲשָׂרָה זָהָב מִשְׁקָלָם
Gene. 24:22 And it was as the camels finished drinking that the man took a ring of gold, its weight a half shekel, and two bracelets for her hands, their weight ten gold shekels.
וַיֹּאמֶר בַּת מִי אַתְּ הַגִּידִי נָא לִי הֲיֵשׁ בֵּית אָבִיךְ מָקוֹם לָנוּ לָלִין 24:23
Gene. 24:23 And he said, “Please tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in the house of your father for us to lodge?”
וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו בַּת בְּתוּאֵל אָנֹכִי בֶּן מִלְכָּה אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לְנָחוֹר 24:24
Gene. 24:24 And she said to him, “I am The daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.”
וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו גַּם תֶּבֶן גַּם מִסְפּוֹא רַב עִמָּנוּ גַּם מָקוֹם לָלוּן 24:25
Gene. 24:25 And she said to him, “Both straw and provender enough, also room to lodge with us.”
וַיִּקֹּד הָאִישׁ וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לַיהוָה 24:26
Gene. 24:26 And the man bowed and prostrated himself to the Lord.
וַיֹּאמֶר בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָזַב חַסְדּוֹ וַאֲמִתּוֹ מֵעִם אֲדֹנִי אָנֹכִי 24:27
בַּדֶּרֶךְ נָחַנִי יְהוָה בֵּית אֲחֵי אֲדֹנִי
Gene. 24:27 And he said, “Blessed is the Lord, God of my master, Abraham, Who does not withhold His mercy and His truth from my master; as for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of the brother of my master.”
וַתָּרָץ הַנַּעֲרָ וַתַּגֵּד לְבֵית אִמָּהּ כַּ דְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה 24:28
Gene. 24:28 And the girl ran and reported to the house of her mother about these words.
וּלְרִבְקָה אָח וּשְׁמוֹ לָבָן וַיָּרָץ לָבָן אֶל הָאִישׁ הַחוּצָה אֶל הָעָיִן 24:29
Gene. 24:29 Now Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran to the man outside to the fountain.
וַיְהִי כִּרְאֹת אֶת הַנֶּזֶם וְאֶת הַצְּמִדִים עַל יְדֵי אֲחֹתוֹ וּכְשָׁמְעוֹ אֶת דִּבְרֵי רִבְקָה אֲחֹתוֹ לֵאמֹר 24:30
כֹּה דִבֶּר אֵלַי הָאִישׁ וַיָּבֹא אֶל הָאִישׁ וְהִנֵּה עֹמֵד עַל הַגְּמַלִּים עַל הָעָיִן
Gene. 24:30 So it was after his seeing the ring and the bracelets on the hands of his sister, and after his hearing the words of Rebekah, his sister, saying, “The man spoke to me thus,” that he went to the man and behold, he stood by the camels at the fountain.
וַיֹּאמֶר בּוֹא בְּרוּךְ יְהוָה לָמָּה תַעֲמֹד בַּחוּץ וְאָנֹכִי פִּנִּיתִי הַבַּיִת וּמָקוֹם לַגְּמַלִּים 24:31
Gene. 24:31 And he said, “Come, blessed of the Lord! Why should you stand outside, as I have prepared the house, and a place for the camels?”
וַיָּבֹא הָאִישׁ הַבַּיְתָה וַיְפַתַּח הַגְּמַלִּים וַיִּתֵּן תֶּבֶן וּמִסְפּוֹא לַגְּמַלִּים וּמַיִם לִרְחֹץ רַגְלָיו וְרַגְלֵי 24:32
הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ
Gene. 24:32 And the man came into the house and ungirded the camels, and he was given straw and fodder for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.
At this point, somewhat late in the story, we learn that others had come with Abraham’s servant. We can see from this that perhaps seemingly unimportant details can be omitted until they become pertinent.
ויִּישֶׂם לְפָנָיו לֶאֱכֹל וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא אֹכַל עַד אִם דִּבַּרְתִּי דְּבָרָי וַיֹּאמֶר דַּבֵּר 24:33
Gene. 24:33 And he set before him to eat. But he said, “I cannot eat until I have told my business.” And he said, “Speak!”
There’s a definite error in the first word of the Hebrew, ויִּישֶׂם. In some bibles, the second yad in the word is said to be a vav. I believe that the error is more likely to be a transposition of the second yad and the sin. As I see it, the word should read וַיּשִּׂים.
וַיֹּאמַר עֶבֶד אַבְרָהָם אָנֹכִי 24:34
Gene. 24:34 And he said, “I am a servant of Abraham.”
וַיהוָה בֵּרַךְ אֶת אֲדֹנִי מְאֹד וַיִּגְדָּל וַיִּתֶּן לוֹ צֹאן וּבָקָר וְכֶסֶף וְזָהָב וַעֲבָדִם וּשְׁפָחֹת וּגְמַלִּים 24:35
24:35 “And the Lord has greatly blessed my master and he has become great, and He has given him sheep and cattle and silver and gold and menservants and maidservants and camels and donkeys.”
וַתֵּלֶד שָׂרָה אֵשֶׁת אֲדֹנִי בֵן לַאדֹנִי אַחֲרֵי זִקְנָתָהּ וַיִּתֶּן לוֹ אֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לו ֹ 24:36
Gene. 24:36 “And Sarah, the wife of my master, bore a son to my master after she was old, and to him has he given all that was his.”
וַיַּשְׁבִּעֵנִי אֲדֹנִי לֵאמֹר לֹא תִּקַּח אִשָּׁה לִבְנִי מִבְּנוֹת הַכְּנַעֲנִי אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי יֹשֵׁב בְּאַרְצוֹ 24:37
Gene. 24:37 “And my master made me swear saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanite though I am dwelling in his land.’”
אִםלֹא אֶל בֵּית אָבִי תֵּלֵךְ וְאֶל מִשְׁפַּחְתִּי וְלָקַחְתָּ אִשָּׁה לִבְנִי 24:38
Gene. 24:38 “’But instead you shall go to the house of my father and to my kindred and you shall take a wife for my son.’”
וָאֹמַר אֶל אֲדֹנִי אֻלַי לֹא תֵלֵךְ הָאִשָּׁה אַחֲרָי 24:39
Gene. 24:39 “And I would say to my master, ‘Suppose the woman will not come after me.’”
I would like to point out what seems like a bit of trivia here. This verse contains a first person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix. The word is וָאֹמַר, translated as “And I would say ....” Other translations say “And I said ....” See vss. 24:46, 24:47, 24:48, and 24:49 below for more of the same.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָי יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הִתְהַלַּכְתִּי לְפָנָיו יִשְׁלַח מַלְאָכוֹ אִתָּךְ וְהִצְלִיחַ דַּרְכֶּךָ וְלָקַחְתָּ אִשָּׁה לִבְנִי 24:40
מִמִּשְׁפַּחְתִּי וּמִבֵּית אָבִי
Gene. 24:40 “And he said to me, ‘The Lord before Whom I walk shall send His angel with you so he will prosper your way and you will take a wife for my son from my kindred and from the house of my father.’”
אָז תִּנָּקֶה מֵאָלָתִי כִּי תָבוֹא אֶל מִשְׁפַּחְתִּי וְאִם לֹא יִתְּנוּ לָךְ וְהָיִיתָ נָקִי מֵאָלָתִי 24:41
Gene. 24:41 “’But you shall be freed from my oath when you will come to my kindred, and if they do not give her to you; then shall you be free from my oath.’”
וָאָבֹא הַיּוֹם אֶל הָעָיִן וָאֹמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם אִם יֶשְׁךָ נָּא מַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכִּי אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי 24:42
Gene. 24:42 “And I would come today to the fountain and say, ‘Lord, God of my master, Abraham, if it is You now prospering my way on which I am walking,
Here’s another non-inverting vav before an imperfect first-person verb. It’s in the first word, translated as “And I would come....”
הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי נִצָּב עַל עֵין הַמָּיִם וְהָיָה הָעַלְמָה הַיֹּצֵאת לִשְׁאֹב וְאָמַרְתִּי אֵלֶיהָ הַשְׁקִינִי נָא 24:43
מְעַט מַיִם מִכַּדֵּךְ
Gene. 24:43 behold, I am standing at the fountain of water; so let it be that a maiden will be coming to draw and I shall say to her, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher,’
וְאָמְרָה אֵלַי גַּם אַתָּה שְׁתֵה וְגַם לִגְמַלֶּיךָ אֶשְׁאָב הִוא הָאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר הֹכִיחַ יְהוָה לְבֶן אֲדֹנִי 24:44
Gene. 24:44 then let her say to me, ‘Both you drink, and I will also draw for your camels.’ She is the woman who the Lord has appointed for the son of my master.’”
אֲנִי טֶרֶם אֲכַלֶּה לְדַבֵּר אֶל לִבִּי וְהִנֵּה רִבְקָה יֹצֵאת וְכַדָּהּ עַל שִׁכְמָהּ וַתֵּרֶד הָעַיְנָה וַתִּשְׁאָב 24:45
וָאֹמַר אֵלֶיהָ הַשְׁקִינִי נָא
Gene. 24:45 “Before I could finish speaking in my heart then behold, Rebekah was coming forth with her pitcher on her shoulder and she went down to the fountain and she drew, and I would say to her, ‘Let me drink please.’”
וַתְּמַהֵר וַתּוֹרֶד כַּדָּהּ מֵעָלֶיהָ וַתֹּאמֶר שְׁתֵה וְגַם גְּמַלֶּיךָ אַשְׁקֶה וָאֵשְׁתְּ וְגַם הַגְּמַלִּים הִשְׁקָתָה 24:46
Gene. 24:46 “And she hurried and took down her pitcher from off her and she said, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels to drink.’ So I would drink, and she also gave the camels to drink.”
This verse contains another first person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix. The word is וָאֵשְׁתְ, the fourth from the last word, translated as “So I would drink ....” All other translations of which I am aware say, “So I drank ....” See the next three verses for more of the same.
הַנֶּזֶם עַל אַפָּהּ וְהַצְּמִידִים עַל יָדֶיהָ
Gene. 24:47 “And I would ask her and say, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel son of Nachor, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I could put the ring on her nose and the bracelets on her hands.”
Strangely, this verse contains no less than three more examples of a first person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix. They are the first, third, and sixteenth words: וָאֶשְׁאַל, וָאֹמַר, and וָאָשִׂם, translated as “And I would ask ... and say, ...,” and “So I could put ....” Again other translations say, “And I asked ... and said, ...,” and “And I put ....” [Return to Gene. 26:3]
וָאֶקֹּד וָאֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לַיהוָה וָאֲבָרֵךְ אֶת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲדֹנִי אַבְרָהָם אֲשֶׁר הִנְחַנִי בְּדֶרֶךְ אֱמֶת 24:48
לָקַחַת אֶת בַּת אֲחִי אֲדֹנִי לִבְנוֹ
Gene. 24:48 “And I would bow down, and I prostrate myself to the Lord and bless the Lord, God of my master, Abraham, Who guided me in the right way to get the daughter of the brother of my master for his son.”
Now this verse contains three more examples of a first person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix. They are the first, second, and fourth words: וָאֶקֹּד, וָאֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה and וָאֲבָרֵךְ, translated as “And I would bow down and prostrate myself ...,” and “... and bless ....” Other translations say, “And I bowed down and prostrated myself ...,” and “... and blessed ....”
וְעַתָּה אִם יֶשְׁכֶם עֹשִׂים חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת אֶת אֲדֹנִי הַגִּידוּ לִי וְאִם לֹא הַגִּידוּ לִי וְאֶפְנֶה עַל יָמִין אוֹ 24:49
Gene. 24:49 “And now if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right or to the left.”
Finally, this verse contains one more example. It is the fifteenth word, וְאֶפְנֶה, translated as “... that I may turn ....” Other translations are similar to this. Although it’s easy to dismiss these instances of translational deviations as pretty trivial, as I’m sure just about everyone would, I find it intriguing that something subtle is probably being implied by them. All the examples are contained in the quoted dialogue of the servant as he relates what happened. Using the verb tense that is found in the five verses (24:39, 24:46, 24:47, 24:48, and 24:49) suggests deference on the servant’s part. To my mind, it’s as if he is minimizing his part in the events, being extra polite. I can imagine he would be hoping that he would find favor with Rebekah’s family by this.
וַיַּעַן לָבָן וּבְתוּאֵל וַיֹּאמְרוּ מֵיְהוָה יָצָא הַדָּבָר לֹא נוּכַל דַּבֵּר אֵלֶיךָ רַע אוֹ טוֹב 24:50
Gene. 24:50 And Laban responded, and Bethuel, and they said, “The matter comes from the Lord; we will not be able to speak to you bad or good.”
הִנֵּה רִבְקָה לְפָנֶיךָ קַח וָלֵךְ וּתְהִי אִשָּׁה לְבֶן אֲדֹנֶיךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה 24:51
Gene. 24:51 “Behold, Rebekah is before you; take and go that she become a wife for the son of your master as the Lord has spoken.”
וַיְהִי, כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע עֶבֶד אַבְרָהָם אֶת דִּבְרֵיהֶם וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַרְצָה לַיהוָה 24:52
Gene. 24:52 And it was after the servant of Abraham heard their words that he bowed down earthward to the Lord.
וַיּוֹצֵא הָעֶבֶד כְּלֵי כֶסֶף וּכְלֵי זָהָב וּבְגָדִים וַיִּתֵּן לְרִבְקָה וּמִגְדָּנֹת נָתַן לְאָחִיהָ וּלְאִמָּהּ 24:53
Gene. 24:53 And the servant brought forth ornaments of silver and ornaments of gold and garments that he gave to Rebekah, and he gave precious things to her brother and to her mother.
וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתּוּ הוּא וְהָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר עִמּוֹ וַיָּלִינוּ וַיָּקוּמוּ בַבֹּקֶר וַיֹּאמֶר שַׁלְּחֻנִי לַאדֹנִי 24:54
Gene. 24:54 And they ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and they passed the night; and they arose in the morning and he said, “Send me to my master.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אָחִיהָ וְאִמָּהּ תֵּשֵׁב הַנַּעֲרָ אִתָּנוּ יָמִים אוֹ עָשׂוֹר אַחַר תֵּלֵךְ 24:55
Gene. 24:55 And her brother said, with her mother, “Let the damsel remain with us at least ten days; after she may go.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם אַל תְּאַחֲרוּ אֹתִי וַיהוָה הִצְלִיחַ דַּרְכִּי שַׁלְּחוּנִי וְאֵלְכָה לַאדֹנִי 24:56
Gene. 24:56 And he said to them, “You must not delay me, as the Lord has made my way prosperous; send me away that I may go to my master.”
To emphasize the consistency of the non-inverting vav for first person imperfect verbs, let me point out another instance here. It is וְאֵלְכָה, translated as “... that I may go ....” See also the next verse.
וַיֹּאמְרוּ נִקְרָא לַנַּעֲרָ וְנִשְׁאֲלָה אֶת פִּיהָ 24:57
Gene. 24:57 And they said, “We will call for the damsel and ask her assent.”
Yet another first person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav, this time in the speech of Rebekah’s men folk. It is the word וְנִשְׁאֲלָה, translated as “... and ask her ....”
וַיִּקְרְאוּ לְרִבְקָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלֶיהָ הֲתֵלְכִי עִם הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלֵךְ 24:58
Gene. 24:58 And they called for Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”
וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת רִבְקָה אֲחֹתָם וְאֶת מֵנִקְתָּהּ וְאֶת עֶבֶד אַבְרָהָם וְאֶת אֲנָשָׁיו 24:59
Gene. 24:59 And they sent Rebekah, their sister, away, with her nurse, and the servant of Abraham and his men.
“Their sister?” Did Rebekah have other siblings?
וַיְבָרְכוּ אֶת רִבְקָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ לָהּ אֲחֹתֵנוּ אַתְּ הֲיִי לְאַלְפֵי רְבָבָה וְיִירַשׁ זַרְעֵךְ אֵת שַׁעַר שֹׂנְאָיו 24:60
Gene. 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah as they said to her, “Our sister, you be for thousands of ten thousands, so that your seed possesses the gate of those hating him.”
וַתָּקָם רִבְקָה וְנַעֲרֹתֶיהָ וַתִּרְכַּבְנָה עַל הַגְּמַלִּים וַתֵּלַכְנָה אַחֲרֵי הָאִישׁ וַיִּקַּח הָעֶבֶד אֶת רִבְקָה 24:61
Gene. 24:61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they mounted on the camels, and they came after the man. And the servant took Rebekah and left.
Gene. 24:62 Now Isaac had come from the way of Beer-lahai-roi, as he dwelled in the land of the south.
Two interesting tidbits: One is that the place where Isaac dwelled, Beer-lahai-roi, had been named by the angel who was sent to save Hagar and Ishmael (Gene. 16:14). We shall see a parallel with Ishmael and Isaac soon. Two is that we learn from this verse that Isaac dwelled apart from Abraham. More evidence for estrangement in the family!
וַיֵּצֵא יִצְחָק לָשׂוּחַ בַּשָּׂדֶה לִפְנוֹת עָרֶב וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה גְמַלִּים בָּאִים 24:63
Gene. 24:63 And Isaac came out to walk in the field for evening meditation, and he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.
A third interesting tidbit is that the servant brought Rebekah directly to Isaac; he didn’t return first to Abraham. Who could NOT use a servant so faithful and conscientious!
וַתִּשָּׂא רִבְקָה אֶת עֵינֶיהָ וַתֵּרֶא אֶת יִצְחָק וַתִּפֹּל מֵעַל הַגָּמָל 24:64
Gene. 24:64 And Rebekah lifted her eyes and saw Isaac, and she alighted from the camel.
וַתֹּאמֶר אֶל הָעֶבֶד מִי הָאִישׁ הַלָּזֶה הַהֹלֵךְ בַּשָּׂדֶה לִקְרָאתֵנוּ וַיֹּאמֶר הָעֶבֶד הוּא אֲדֹנִי וַתִּקַּח 24:65
Gene. 24:65 And she said to the servant, “Who is this man coming in the field to meet us? And the servant said, “He is my master.” And she took the veil and covered herself.
Once more, and for the last time, the servant shows himself to be exemplary. He identifies himself as not only the servant of Abraham but of Isaac.
וַיְסַפֵּר הָעֶבֶד לְיִצְחָק אֵת כָּל הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה 24:66
Gene. 24:66 And the servant recounted to Isaac all the things that he had done.
Gene. 24:67 And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah, his mother, and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. And Isaac was comforted after his mother.
Here in the last verse of the chapter, we learn that Isaac had come to the south and had lived with his mother, now passed away. Did Abraham send his remarkable servant on his mission so that, if he was successful, Isaac would be comforted after his mother’s death? It would seem reasonable to conclude so.
But there’s something most remarkable about this chapter. It is the following. The name of Abraham’s servant, who is the lead character in this chapter, is not mentioned in it. This is utterly remarkable and astonishing. There is no other individual in the entire bible who plays such a lengthy and important part in the narrative whose name is not mentioned. This servant was true and faithful to his oath, and was aware of God. Yet Isaac apparently didn’t even thank him, and the servant is never mentioned again. I won’t believe that the scribe neglected to mention his name. He must have deliberately omitted it. Why? After all, we actually know or surmise his name; it is Eliezer. This can be reasonably deducted from the only place his name is mentioned, in Gene. 15:2.
I think a possible explanation is that Isaac would have been diminished more than he was if the servant had been named here. The scribe thought to keep the servant as unobtrusive as possible so he wouldn’t shine so much more than Isaac. After all, Isaac is the only one of the patriarchs who didn’t find and take his own wife. And we will learn that Isaac’s life was uneventful and subdued, and he lacked the color of his father and of his son, Jacob. In fact, it seems to me at this point in the narrative, that in a stunningly surprising way, the near sacrifice of Isaac on Moriah (Gene. 22:9) was actually successful. Despite the fact that he is eternally identified with the other patriarchs, his father and son, Isaac is not in the same league with them. Isaac seems to be little more than the link between Abraham and Jacob, the two characters that stand out in Genesis. [Return to Gene. 25:6]
Something else about this chapter is remarkable and mysterious. It concerns Bethuel, Rebekah’s father. In vss. 24:15 and 24:24 he is referred to as Bethuel, son of Milcah (his mother). Rarely, if ever is a man identified that way. It’s always “a man’s name, son of his father.” In fact, the Hebrew phrase translated as “son of father” is part of a man’s Hebrew name. Then in v. 24:47 Bethuel is referred to properly as son of Nahor (his father). But recall that in [Gene. 11:24, 25, and 26] Nahor was the name of Abraham’s grandfather and also of his brother. That informs us that Bethuel was Abraham’s nephew. So Laban was Abraham’s great-nephew.
Finally, in v. 24:50 we learn that Bethuel has been present throughout the narrative of this chapter, he was just mentioned as if he weren’t present. Odd indeed!