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A Wife for Isaac

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A Wife for Isaac

Scripture Reference:

Genesis 24:1–67 KJV 1900
1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: 3 And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. 5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? 6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. 7 The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. 8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. 9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter. 10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. 12 And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. 15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. 16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. 18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. 19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. 21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. 22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; 23 And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in? 24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor. 25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. 26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord. 27 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren. 28 And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things. 29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. 30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well. 31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. 32 And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. 33 And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on. 34 And he said, I am Abraham’s servant. 35 And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. 36 And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath. 37 And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: 38 But thou shalt go unto my father’s house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son. 39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. 40 And he said unto me, The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father’s house: 41 Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath. 42 And I came this day unto the well, and said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: 43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; 44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master’s son. 45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. 46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. 47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. 48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son. 49 And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left. 50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. 51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the Lord hath spoken. 52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth. 53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. 54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master. 55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go. 56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. 57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. 58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. 59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. 61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahai-roi; for he dwelt in the south country. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. 65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. 67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Suggested Emphasis or Theme:

It is important to marry a person who worships God.

Story Overview:

Abraham wanted his son to marry a woman who worship God so he sent a servant back to the land of his relatives to find a wife for Isaac. Rebekah and her family believed in God. She decided to leave her home and her family and travel back to Canaan to become Isaac’s wife. Isaac married her and loved her and they followed God together.

Background Study:

Many years had passed since God First Called Abram to leave his relatives in Haran and follow him into the land of Canaan. Abraham, as he was now called, had grown in faith and continued to follow God’s leading in a nomadic way of life. His wife Sarah was now dead () and buried in Hebron and the time had come to find a wife for his son, Isaac.
Abraham only ever lived in tents in Canaan and never saw this land as his “home” or the Canaanites as “his people”. God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be a great nation and it was important that his son marry someone who followed God. This meant returning to his relatives in Haran.
Finding a wife for Isaac is one of, if not the, longest single narrative in the book of Genesis. This match was very important. It would set the tone of each generation after this. The future of what would become known as the Jewish people and the Nation of Israel depended on men and women who faithfully followed God, established strong families and passed their faith on to the next generations.
Abraham entrusted the task to his chief servant. This man was possibly “Eliazer of Damascus” as mentioned earlier in . Abraham makes him swear by oath to find a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s relatives instead of from the nearby Canaanite people who followed other Gods. The unusual sealing this oath by placing the hand on the thigh would be seen again few generations later when when Jacob (Israel) asks Joseph to make an oath ().
The events in this chapter involve the faith of Abraham but also the faith of:
His servant: He asked for God’s guidance in leading him to Abraham’s relatives. He specifically asked God to reveal which girl to choose in the way she would offer to water his camels at a well (verses 12-21). He also faithfully and accurately repeated what God had done and gave glory to God. His faithful account to repeated this to both Rebekah’s family and later to Isaac (verses 33-49 and then verse 66) in ways that convinced them of God’s plan.His relatives: Bethual (Abraham’s nephew and Rebekah’s father) and Laban (Abraham’s great-nephew and Rebekah’s brother) in believing the account of events as shared by Abraham’s servant, being obedient to God’s will and entrusted Rebekah with him (verses 50-51).Rebekah: She recognised God’s hand in this incident and was willing to leave her family, travel to a strange land and marry Isaac (verses 55-61)Isaac: He consented to his father’s choice and married Rebekah. He loved Rebekah. ()
As you share this story with children mention that someday they will probably marry. Talk about the importance of finding someone who has a strong faith in God.
What happened before this story?
What happens after this story?

Way to Introduce the Story:

Bring wedding photos to class today and share them with your pupils. This lesson emphasises the importance of two Christians marrying. You might want to invite a Christian couple with a strong marriage to bring their wedding photos to show. “We have been learning about Abraham and his son, Isaac. When Isaac was a grown man Abraham wanted him to marry someone who believed in God. In today’s lesson we will learn about how Abraham helped his son find a wife.” top

The Story:

Abraham was a great man of God. God had promised Abraham that someday he would have grandchildren and then they would have children and then they would have children. God promised Abraham that he would have many many descendants. God wanted Abraham’s descendants to love him just as much as Abraham did.
But Abraham’s son, Isaac was not even married yet. Abraham knew it was time to find a wife for Isaac.
But not just any woman would do. Abraham wanted Isaac to marry a woman who believed in God. Then Isaac and his wife could have children and teach them to love God too.
Abraham thought about all the women who lived nearby in Canaan. They did not love God. They worshiped false gods and bowed down to them. Abraham did not want Isaac to marry a woman from Canaan. He remembered when he used to live in Haran. Many of Abraham’s relatives still lived near Haran in a place called “Nahor”. His relatives believed in God. This would be the perfect place to find a wife for Isaac.
So Abraham called in his most trusted servant and said, “Promise me that you will find a wife for Isaac. Make sure that she is not a Canaanite. Go to my home country, to my relatives, and find Isaac a wife there.”
The servant did as Abraham asked. He took along camels loaded with gifts to give to the father of whoever the bride would be. The servant traveled a long time before he came to Haran, the place where Abraham’s family lived.
When the servant arrived he decided to go to a place where the young women of the city went every day. He took his camels and waited beside the spring of waters where the girls came to get water for their families.
He prayed, “O Lord God, be kind to me and to Abraham today. I’m going to stand here to watch the young women come to get water. I will say, ‘May I have a drink.’ May the one who answers, ‘Have a drink and I will water your camels too,’ be the one You have chosen for Isaac’s wife.”
The servant had not even finished his prayer when a beautiful and kind girl named Rebekah came to the well to get water.
The servant said, “Please, give me a drink.”
“Of course, take some of my water.”
Then Rebekah saw his thirsty camels and said, “I’ll get water for your camels too.” It was hard work but Rebekah ran back and forth to the well to get water for the thirsty camels. Finally, all the camels had plenty of water to drink.
Abraham’s servant was so happy! God had answered his prayer. He knew Rebekah was the right wife for Isaac. The servant gave Rebekah two gold bracelets and a gold nose ring.
“Whose daughter are you? Is there room for my camels and me to stay overnight at your house?” he asked.
“My father is Bethuel the son of Nahor. Yes, there is room at our house. I will go and tell my family.”
How thankful the servant was. Of all the people he could meet on his journey God had led him straight to Abraham’s relatives!
The servant went to Rebekah’s home and explained who he was and why he was there. Rebekah’s father, Bethuel, and brother, Laban, listened carefully to the servant explain how God had led him to their house and to Rebekah. Everyone was amazed at this. And they were also happy when they heard how God had blessed their relative, Abraham. He had left them long ago and they were so happy that he still loved God like they did.
Then the servant asked an important question, “Will you let Rebekah travel with me back to Canaan to marry Isaac?”
Bethuel agreed that this was what God would want so they said “yes”. Abraham’s servant wanted to leave right away but Rebekah’s family did not want her to go yet. They finally said, “We will let Rebekah decide.”
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