Trekking Genesis

Odë:hgöd

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Gen 22:11-12a . .Then an angel of God called to him from heaven: Abraham!
Abraham! And he answered: Here I am. And he said: Do not raise your hand
against the lad, or do anything to him.

There are some who feel that the angel stopped Abraham at this point because he
misunderstood the instructions God gave to him back in verse 2; which were: "Take
your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah,
and offer him there as a burnt offering"

But an interpretation of that nature impugns the quality of Abraham's spiritual
acumen as a man whom God said in Gen 20:7 was a prophet. Abraham no doubt
understood his Master perfectly and knew just what he was expected to do. He had
three days to pray about it and request confirmation.

Abraham was supposed to kill Isaac, and that is exactly what he tried to do, and
would have done; had not the angel stopped him in the nick of time. And the angel
stopped him not because it was wrong. No. The angel stopped Abraham from killing
Isaac because He had seen enough.


Gen 22:12b . . For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld
your son, your favored one, from me.

The words: "not withheld . . . from me" indicate Abraham's compliance with the
instructions he was given back in Gen 22:1-2.

Although the instructions originated with God, they didn't come to Abraham directly
from God, rather, via an angel of God; which are not always celestial beings, viz:
angels of God are sometimes apparitions, e.g. smoke, fire, earthquakes, voices,
horns, wind, and humans. (It is required that people respect those kinds of divine
appearances as it they are God himself in person.)


FAQ: Isn't God omniscient, and doesn't He have an ability to scan the future? Then
why did the voice say "now I know". Doesn't God always know everything there is
to know?


A: Knowing things as a spectator is quite a bit different than knowing things by
omniscience. God sometimes favors seeing things for Himself in real time, as an
eyewitness.

Of course God knew in advance that Abraham would go thru with offering his son,
but that kind of knowing doesn't always satisfy God. No, sometimes He prefers to
be on-site and observe things unfold as current events.

So although God knew by His intellect that Abraham would comply with the angel's
instructions, now He also has a first-hand knowledge of Abraham's compliance by
personal experience, i.e. God, via the angel, was there in the bleachers, so to
speak, watching all the action from first to last.


Gen 22:13 . .When Abraham looked up, his eye fell upon a ram, caught in the
thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a
burnt offering in place of his son.

The covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, and Deuteronomy a few centuries later would not have allowed Abraham
to substitute a ram for Isaac. (Lev 27:28-29)

According to a documentary I recently watched on NetFlix; approximately 2,000
Muslim butchers assemble for Mecca every year and slaughter something like
700,000 to 800,000 sheep to commemorate the ram that Abraham sacrificed in his
son's stead. Islam of course believes the son was Ishmael instead of Isaac.

The animals aren't consumed by the hajis. Instead; they're processed, packaged,
and shipped to poor people around the world. Well; it would be nice if some of the
people of Somalia and North Korea got a number of those sheep because they
could sure use them. Ironically, Islamic militants have been thwarting efforts to get
aid to the Somalian people. Where's the spirit of Mecca in that?


Gen 22:14 . . And Abraham named that site Adonai-yireh, whence the present
saying: On the mount of God there is vision.

Chabad dot org translates that like this:

"And Abraham named that place, The Lord will see, as it is said to this day: On the
mountain, the Lord will be seen."
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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Gen 22:15-18 . .The angel of God called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
and said: By Myself I swear, God declares; because you have done this and have
not withheld your son, your favored one, I will bestow My blessing upon you and
make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the
seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes. All the nations
of the earth shall bless themselves by your seed, because you have obeyed My
command.

Abraham obtained God's oath because "you have obeyed My command". What
command was that? The command to offer his son as a burnt offering (Gen 22:2).
See? Abraham didn't make a mistake. He understood God perfectly; and would
have slit Isaac's throat and burned him to ashes had not God pushed the stop
button in the final moments.

Far from being scolded for offering a human sacrifice, Abraham is highly
commended for complying; and the promises God made in previous chapters are
now reaffirmed. He lost nothing; but the rather, gained a spiffy bonus: the
Almighty's oath.

Concerning those promises: the first time around, God merely gave His word
(which is normally good enough, and in and of itself quite immutable). Another time
He passed between the pieces; thus notarizing the promises (double whammy). But
this time, God anchored the promises with an oath (grand slam). That is extremely
notable.

Would Abraham have failed to obtain the promises had he refused to offer his son?
No. He would still have obtained them because the original promises-- made prior
to the oath --are unconditional and guaranteed by the immutability of God's
integrity. What Abraham would have failed to obtain was the oath.

So then, God has gone to every possible length to assure Abraham's seed of the
certainty of those original promises with: 1) His testimony, 2) His passing between
the pieces, and 3) His oath. You won't find God taking oaths very often in the Bible.

This particular oath is part and parcel of the covenant that Moses' people agreed
upon with God as per Deut 29:9-15.


Gen 22:19 . . Abraham then returned to his servants, and they departed together
for Beer-sheba; and Abraham stayed in Beer-sheba.

Isaac isn't specifically named in either the return or the departure, except that the
words "departed together" are highly suggestive of the very same togetherness of
verses 6 and 8. And back in verse 5, Abraham told the servants that he and Isaac
would both return. If Isaac had not been with Abraham on the return trip, the
servants would have surely asked where he was.

The Targums have a pretty interesting postscript at this point.

T• And the angels on high took Izhak and brought him into the school (medresha)
of Shem the Great; and he was there three years. And in the same day Abraham
returned to his young men; and they arose and went together to the Well of the
Seven, and Abraham dwelt at Beira-desheva. And it was after these things, after
Abraham had bound Izhak, that Satana came and told unto Sarah that Abraham
had killed Izhak. And Sarah arose, and cried out, and was strangled, and died from
agony.
(Targum Jonathan)

Gen 22:20 . . Some time later, Abraham was informed: Milcah too has borne
children to your brother Nahor:

Just exactly how much time had passed after The Akedah until this announcement
is uncertain but it was likely at least three days because that's how long it took
Abraham's party to get back home. (Gen 22:4)

Nahor was one of Abraham's brothers and Milcah was Abraham's niece through
Haran, another brother: who was also Lot's dad. Milcah was Nahor's real wife. He
also had a concubine named Reumah.


Gen 22:21-24 . . Uz the first-born, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of
Aram; and Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel”-- Bethuel being the father
of Rebecca. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. And his
concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore children: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash,
and Maacah.

Bethuel and Rebecca are the only two who really stand out in that list. However,
Genesis records everybody because God, apparently for reasons of His own, thinks
they're all important in some way.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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Gen 23:1-2a . . Sarah's lifetime-- the span of Sarah's life --came to one hundred
and twenty-seven years. Sarah died in Kiriath-arba-- now Hebron --in the land of
Canaan;

This is the only woman in the entire Old Testament for whom an age is given at the
time of her death. Isaac was 37 at this point, having been born when Sarah was 90
(Gen 17:17) and Abraham was 137 since he and Sarah were ten years difference in
age (Gen 17:17). She lived in Canaan with her husband for 62 years and they
never once owned their own home. They moved there when he was 75 and she was
65 --and Abraham at this point has 38 years on the clock yet to go.


NOTE: If we can safely assume Sarah's death immediately followed the Akedah,
then Isaac would have been 37 when he and Abraham went to the mountain seeing
as how his mom was ninety when he was born.


Gen 23:2b . . and Abraham proceeded to mourn for Sarah and to bewail her.

Some people think it's weak and unspiritual to mourn for the dead. However; it is
the very best way to let them go. People shouldn't stifle their heartbreak, nor steel
themselves against it. I would rather see people get angry and withdrawn at the
loss of their loved ones than to blow it off as just another passing phase of life.

Sarah had quite a life you know. She was a strong pioneer woman-- taken into the
palaces of a Pharaoh and a King. And she was selected by Almighty God to be the
mother of the people of Israel, and of Messiah: Israel's ultimate monarch. Sarah
was also a genetic path to the seed promised Eve back in Gen 3:15. We can't just
put her in the ground as if she was a commoner no different than anybody else.


Gen 23:3a . .Then Abraham rose from beside his dead, and spoke to the Hittites,

Who is the most famous Hittite in the Old Testament? Give up? It's Uriah,
Bathsheba's first husband; whose unwarranted death David instigated. (2Sam
11:1-27)


Gen 23:3b-4 . . saying: I am a resident alien among you; sell me a burial site
among you, that I may remove my dead for burial.

Abraham had no ancestral claim upon the land. So he had to appeal to the Hittites'
sensibilities; and beg for some property. They, on the other hand, were in a
straight because the land was their heritage and selling off some of their holdings
would diminish the inheritances to be received by their heirs, and plus, the land
would be lost forever; and to an alien yet.


Gen 23:5b . . And the Hittites replied to Abraham, saying to him: Hear us, my
lord: you are the elect of God among us.

The word for "God"-- 'elohiym --is not really in that verse; an editor took the
liberty to insert it. And the word for "elect" is from nasiy' (naw-see') which doesn't
mean elect at all but means an exalted one; viz: a king or sheik. The Hittites had
great respect for Abraham; and in their estimation he earned the right to a
potentate's reception.


Gen 23:5b . . Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places; none of us will
withhold his burial place from you for burying your dead.

By donating a sepulcher, instead of selling the land, the Hittites would retain
ownership of the real estate and thus none would be lost to their posterity. In the
future, they could pave over it for a mall, or dig up the whole thing with earth
moving machinery for a residential sub division.


Gen 23:7 . .Thereupon Abraham bowed low to the people of the land, the Hittites,

How many Jews today would bow to a Hittite, or to any other Gentile for that
matter? Abraham was indeed a very humble man who never let his connection to
God go to his head nor give him a superiority complex. Pride and Prejudice are two
of the Jews' most widely known attributes in modern times; but they didn't get it
from their ancestor; that's for sure.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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Gen 23:8 . . and he said to them: If it is your wish that I remove my dead for
burial, you must agree to intercede for me with Ephron, son of Zohar.

The sons of Heth (who were Hittites themselves) would act as the mediator
between Ephron (a fellow Hittite) and Abraham (an Eberite: thus an outsider). It
was only a formality, but nonetheless, an important cultural protocol in those days.


Gen 23:9 . . Let him sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns, which is at the
edge of his land. Let him sell it to me, at the full price, for a burial site in your
midst.

The location is favorable for Ephron because it's at the edge of his property line, so
Abraham won't need an easement to access the site, nor will it be an eyesore stuck
out in the middle.


Gen 23:10a . . Ephron was present among the Hittites; so Ephron the Hittite
answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, all who entered the gate of his
town,

Ephron didn't have to answer personally; but chose to of his own volition.

People who actually lived in a town's proper, were the upper crust-- the merchants,
bankers, judges, city managers, the mayor, and like that. It was important that
those "who entered the gate of his town" be involved in a decision regarding
property sales because of the potential impact upon their own interests.

In those days, land owned by a clan like the Hittites defined the boundaries of their
territory; and each family within a clan owned parcels of it. So when one of the
families, like Ephron's for example, sold some of their parcel to a foreigner, the
whole community suffered a permanent loss of territory.


Gen 23:10b-11 . . saying: No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and I give
you the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your
dead.

Ephron's generosity was no doubt sincere, but merely one more formality towards
closing a deal on the property. Not wanting to appear a greedy beast profiteering
on the loss of a man's wife, he first offered it to Abraham for free.

That was actually a very kind show of respect for Abraham's grief. Abraham will pay
for the property, and I have no doubt both men fully expected a monetary
settlement; but not before Ephron first has an opportunity to make certain
everyone in town sees him pay his respects for the dead of one of the most, if not
the most, highly respected men in all of Canaan.


Gen 23:12-15 . .Then Abraham bowed low before the people of the land, and
spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying; If only you would
hear me out. Let me pay the price of the land; accept it from me, that I may bury
my dead there. And Ephron replied to Abraham, saying to him; My lord, do hear
me. A piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver-- what is that between you
and me? Go and bury your dead.

The shekel of Abraham's day wasn't coinage; but rather, a unit of weight equal to
20 gerahs (Ezk 45:12) which is equivalent to 10 English pennyweights or 1/2 ounce
troy. So it would take two of Abraham's shekels to equal one troy ounce of silver.

The average value of a troy ounce of silver as of Feb 05, 2021 was around 26.36
US dollars. So 400 full shekels would be worth about 5,272 of today's US dollars
(4,396 Euro)

No doubt Ephron had mixed feelings about the property. On the one hand, he, as
well as his countrymen, would prefer it not be sold to a non Hittite. Yet they all
admired Abraham and didn't want to disappoint him, especially during a time of
bereavement.

Ephron didn't actually ask for four hundred shekels. He merely told Abraham what
the property was worth, but that its value meant nothing between friends; as if
Abraham could have it for free. But it was really a subtle way of naming a price
without actually coming right out and naming it; know what I mean?
_
 

pinacled

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Gen 23:8 . . and he said to them: If it is your wish that I remove my dead for
burial, you must agree to intercede for me with Ephron, son of Zohar.

The sons of Heth (who were Hittites themselves) would act as the mediator
between Ephron (a fellow Hittite) and Abraham (an Eberite: thus an outsider). It
was only a formality, but nonetheless, an important cultural protocol in those days.


Gen 23:9 . . Let him sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns, which is at the
edge of his land. Let him sell it to me, at the full price, for a burial site in your
midst.

The location is favorable for Ephron because it's at the edge of his property line, so
Abraham won't need an easement to access the site, nor will it be an eyesore stuck
out in the middle.


Gen 23:10a . . Ephron was present among the Hittites; so Ephron the Hittite
answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, all who entered the gate of his
town,

Ephron didn't have to answer personally; but chose to of his own volition.

People who actually lived in a town's proper, were the upper crust-- the merchants,
bankers, judges, city managers, the mayor, and like that. It was important that
those "who entered the gate of his town" be involved in a decision regarding
property sales because of the potential impact upon their own interests.

In those days, land owned by a clan like the Hittites defined the boundaries of their
territory; and each family within a clan owned parcels of it. So when one of the
families, like Ephron's for example, sold some of their parcel to a foreigner, the
whole community suffered a permanent loss of territory.


Gen 23:10b-11 . . saying: No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and I give
you the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your
dead.

Ephron's generosity was no doubt sincere, but merely one more formality towards
closing a deal on the property. Not wanting to appear a greedy beast profiteering
on the loss of a man's wife, he first offered it to Abraham for free.

That was actually a very kind show of respect for Abraham's grief. Abraham will pay
for the property, and I have no doubt both men fully expected a monetary
settlement; but not before Ephron first has an opportunity to make certain
everyone in town sees him pay his respects for the dead of one of the most, if not
the most, highly respected men in all of Canaan.


Gen 23:12-15 . .Then Abraham bowed low before the people of the land, and
spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying; If only you would
hear me out. Let me pay the price of the land; accept it from me, that I may bury
my dead there. And Ephron replied to Abraham, saying to him; My lord, do hear
me. A piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver-- what is that between you
and me? Go and bury your dead.

The shekel of Abraham's day wasn't coinage; but rather, a unit of weight equal to
20 gerahs (Ezk 45:12) which is equivalent to 10 English pennyweights or 1/2 ounce
troy. So it would take two of Abraham's shekels to equal one troy ounce of silver.

The average value of a troy ounce of silver as of Feb 05, 2021 was around 26.36
US dollars. So 400 full shekels would be worth about 5,272 of today's US dollars
(4,396 Euro)

No doubt Ephron had mixed feelings about the property. On the one hand, he, as
well as his countrymen, would prefer it not be sold to a non Hittite. Yet they all
admired Abraham and didn't want to disappoint him, especially during a time of
bereavement.

Ephron didn't actually ask for four hundred shekels. He merely told Abraham what
the property was worth, but that its value meant nothing between friends; as if
Abraham could have it for free. But it was really a subtle way of naming a price
without actually coming right out and naming it; know what I mean?
_
400 reminds me of a bossom

Judges 20:2
 
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Odë:hgöd

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Gen 23:16 . . Abraham accepted Ephron's terms. Abraham paid out to Ephron the
money that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites-- four hundred shekels of
silver at the going merchants' rate.

In those days they used a balance scale to weigh out precious metals for trading
purposes. Merchant rates are typically less than consumer rates. So Abraham's 400
shekels would have been weighed out with a lighter set of counterweights than
normal in order for him to buy the land at wholesale.


Gen 23:17-18 . . So Ephron's land in Machpelah, near Mamre-- the field with its
cave and all the trees anywhere within the confines of that field --passed to
Abraham as his possession, in the presence of the Hittites, of all who entered the
gate of his town.

Abraham's purchase of Hittite territory was done in the presence of a goodly
number of blue-blooded Hittite witnesses so there would be no basis for anyone to
contest his rightful ownership. Abraham didn't purchase just the cave, but also the
wooded grounds around it so that Sarah's gravesite was originally a very nice
cemetery.

But if you want to visit her burial site today, be forewarned. The region in and
around Hebron is a political strife zone these days. The monumental shrine erected
over the cave in which Abraham was buried makes this one of the great sights for
visitors with an interest in scriptural history; but since there are frequently violent
clashes between Arabs and Israelis in Hebron it is essential before visiting the town
to check up on the current situation with the tourist information office in Jerusalem.

Sarah's gravesite today (if indeed anybody knows where it really is) is covered by
an Islamic structure called Al-lbrahimi Mosque; in honor of Abraham, Ishmael's
dad. It should be pointed out that the Mosque isn't intended to promote Judaism's
Yhvh, but rather, Islam's Allah.


Gen 23:19-20 . . And then Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field
of Machpelah, facing Mamre-- now Hebron --in the land of Canaan. Thus the field
with its cave passed from the Hittites to Abraham, as a burial site.

Not only a burial site, but also as a permanent real estate holding-- the people of
Israel's very first piece of their very own country; which gives them legitimate roots
there even prior to the Exodus; and way ahead of the Palestinians.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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Gen 24:1a . . Abraham was now old, advanced in years,

Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born (Gen 21:25). The lad was 40 when he
married Rebecca (Gen 25:20). So that makes Abraham 140 at this point in the
record. But although Abraham was worn; he wasn't worn out. Abraham still had
plenty of vigor left in him and would go on to live another 35 years and even father
more children. As far as the Scriptural record goes, Abraham enjoyed excellent
health at this point in his life and still had his wits about him too.

Gen 24:1b . . and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.

The "all things" at this point in the narrative would pertain to Abraham's economic
prosperity because that's how his steward will represent him at verse 35.

Gen 24:2a . . And Abraham said to the steward of his household, who had charge
of all that he owned,

It is impossible to identify the steward because his name isn't disclosed anywhere
throughout chapter 24. It could be the Eliezer of Gen 15; however, many years
have gone by since then. Abraham was eighty-six when Ishmael was born in
chapter 16, and he is 140 in this chapter; so it has been more than 54 years since
the last mention of Eliezer. The steward at this point in Abraham's home may even
be Eliezer's son by now, but nobody really knows for sure.

Abraham's steward is going to act as an ambassador-- not for Abraham, but for
Isaac. Abraham, for reasons undisclosed, can't leave Canaan to do this himself. So
the steward is dispatched as a proxy for Abraham to act in his son Isaac's best
interests.

Gen 24:2b-3a . . Put your hand under my thigh and I will make you swear

Some Bible students construe Jesus' words at Matt 5:33-37 to mean that taking an
oath is intrinsically a sin. But that's not the tenor of his words at all. What he really
said in that passage is that taking an oath sets you up for a fall because for one
thing; people are too quick to swear, and for another human beings cannot
guarantee that unforeseen circumstances won't prevent them from making good on
their oath.

In other words: the nature of promises is that they are immune to changing
circumstances. So unless you can see the future, then if at all possible, make your
promises without sealing them with an oath because if you drag God into your
promise; He's going to expect you to make good on it come hell or high water or
risk getting called on the carpet to explain why you think so little of His name.

"If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond;
he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his
mouth." (Num 30:2)

Anyway: if taking an oath were intrinsically a sin, then God himself would be a
sinner (e.g. Gen 22:15-18, Ps 89:3-4, Ps 89:35-37, Ps 110:4, Isa 14:24, Isa
45:23, Isa 54:9, Heb 4:3, et al). Jesus too would be in contradiction of his own
teachings because he testified under oath that he was the Messiah; God's son.
(Matt 23:63-65)

Gen 24:3b . . by Yhvh, the God of heaven and the God of the earth

Exodus 6:3 makes it appear that Abraham wasn't supposed to be aware of the
name Yhvh. But here in Gen 24, Abraham made his steward swear by that very
appellation; so there can be no doubt he was fully aware of it.

The word for "thigh" is from yarek (yaw-rake') and has a couple of meanings. It can
be the actual thigh (e.g. Gen 32:26, Song 7:1) and it can mean a man's privates.
(e.g. Gen 46:26, Num 5:21)

In those days, men didn't always raise their right hands to take an oath with each
other-- sometimes they held sacred objects in their hand like we do today when a
swearer puts their hand upon a Bible or a Torah Scroll. In this particular case in
Genesis, the object held in the hand was a holy patriarch. Only twice in the entire
Old Testament is an oath recorded taken in this manner. The first is here, and the
other is Gen 47:29.


NOTE: The similarities between the procurement of Isaac's bride, and that of the
bride of Christ are remarkable. Neither of the fathers of the grooms go themselves
to woo the brides; but rely upon a nameless servant who can be trusted to
faithfully look out for the grooms' best interests. Guided by providence, the
servants locate candidates, give them some gifts, explain their missions, tell of the
wealth of the fathers, tell of the inheritances of the grooms, tell the candidates
something of the grooms' genealogies; and are especially careful to explain the
circumstances of the grooms' miraculous births.

The candidates never see any photos or pictures of their potential husbands, are
given no information disclosing the grooms' personalities, and are permitted to
know only certain general details about the grooms and nothing more-- at first. At
this point, the servants then press for a response, and proceed no further until the
candidates make their decision. However, no one can force the bridal candidates to
accept the grooms. The candidates must consent to join him of their own volition.

After the candidates consent to go and be with the grooms, the servants then cull
the candidates from their native people, and from their native lands, and safely
escort them to the lands and peoples of the grooms. The grooms, upon receipt of
the candidates, accept them just as they are, give them a nice home, and love and
care for them to the very end.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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Gen 24:3c-4 . . that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the
Canaanites among whom I dwell, but will go to the land of my birth and get a wife
for my son Isaac.

The words "land of my birth" can also mean "to my country and to my relatives."
That is exactly how the steward understood them because that is how he will
narrate Abraham's instructions in Gen 24:38.

I just bet Abraham was fully aware of the fate of the men of God who married the
daughters of men back in the early parts of Genesis. Those men of God all died in
the Flood right along with their impious wives.

The influence of a non God-fearing spouse could prove fatal to Isaac's future. If he's
going to serve and worship his dad's god, then he is going to have to marry a girl
who fully appreciates and supports the prophecies regarding Abraham's progeny.

Spouse hunting demands a level head and cold steel discernment or there is real
risk in ending up like Solomon, one of the greatest of God's men, who was ruined
by his marriages to women who didn't share his religious beliefs. (1Kgs 11:1-10)


Gen 24:5-6 . . And the servant said to him: What if the woman does not consent
to follow me to this land, shall I then take your son back to the land from which you
came? Abraham answered him: You must not, for any reason, take my son back
there!

I think Abraham knew only too well just how much like sheep men are. When they
fall in love, they'll literally sacrifice their lives to keep a woman; which is exactly
what Jacob did. Rachel was a good girl; but she cost Jacob fourteen years of his life
away from home in a foreign land with a bad influence: uncle Laban.

Suppose Isaac went up north and feasted his glims on Rebecca? Well, up ahead
we're going to find out that she was young, cute, and filled out in all the right
places. I've seen what that does to men. I worked with a married man once who
kept a young love on the side. He often used his wages to buy that girl jewelry
while his wife and two little kids were housed in a ramshackle rental unit.

It was too risky to let Isaac go up there. He might be tempted to remain with
Rebecca if she refused to live so far off from her family. Isaac's future was in the
land deeded to Abraham on oath; not up there in Mesopotamia; and his bride's
place was with him and Yhvh; not with her family and Laban's idols.


Gen 24:7 . .The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house
and from my native land, who promised me on oath, saying "I will assign this land
to your offspring" He will send His angel before you, and you will get a wife for my
son from there.

The identity of "His angel" is interesting. It's not referred to as one of His angels;
just His angel. Jacob knew His angel as Yhvh; the divine benefactor he encountered
on the way north during his flight from Esau. (Gen 28:12-15, Gen 48:17)


NOTE: I sincerely believe that God Himself has never even once been to the Earth
in person. He stays put, secluded in a sort of forbidden city somewhere apart from
the cosmos and His business down here is conducted by a supreme celestial being
who has the authority to speak for God, to speak as God, and to be respected as
God. This supreme celestial being is curious in that it is capable of appearing in a
fully functioning human body, viz: a living avatar. (eg. Gen 18:1-33, Ex 24:9-11,
John 1:18)


Gen 24:8-10a . . And if the woman does not consent to follow you, you shall then
be clear of this oath to me; but do not take my son back there. So the servant put
his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore to him as bidden. Then
the servant took ten of his master's camels

Nobody is quite sure exactly when camels were domesticated. The earliest depiction
of them in relief and cuneiform text as beasts of burden and transportation is
sometime around 1100 BC.


Gen 24:10b . . and set out, taking with him all the bounty of his master;

The servant will need to demonstrate to the bride, and to the bride's family, that
she'll be well taken care of. The servant of course didn't take along everything
Abraham owned in total, but merely an adequate representation of his abundant
wealth; which by inheritance, would all be Isaac's some day; and, by association,
his future wife's too.

Additional men accompanied the servant (Gen 24:32) who were very likely all
armed (Gen 14:14); not only for the caravan's protection, but for the bride's as
well. No doubt included among the camel's burdens were tents, victuals, provender,
water, and appropriate accommodations for the bride's comfort on the journey back
to Canaan. It was at least five hundred miles from Hebron up to Abraham's people
in Mesopotamia, so the return trip couldn't possibly be made in a single day on
camels and would necessitate overnight bivouacs in rugged country.
_
 

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Gen 24:10c . . and he made his way to Aram-naharaim, to the city of Nahor.

The Greek translation renders naharaim in dual form meaning, "two rivers", and
from that arose the name Mesopotamia-- the land between the two rivers. Some
feel that the name naharaim really means "the land along the river" or "the land
within the river".

It's a territory bounded approximately on the east by an imaginary north/south line
drawn from Ar Raqqah Syria to Urfa Turkey. The southern and western borders are
delineated by the Euphrates as it runs from Ar Raqqah Syria towards Gaziantep
Turkey: an area within which at one time lay the kingdom of Mitanni. This is called
Naharain in the Egyptian texts, and Naharima in the El-Armana letters.

The details of the journey are passed over. It would have been fun to hear about
the caravan's adventures. How they had to dodge a flock of ostriches that ran out
in the road, and maybe how a lion came around at night and spooked everybody, or
how one of the men fell asleep at the wheel and his camel ran off the road and hit a
tree; stuff like that. But Genesis has priorities; and the journey's details were not
one of them. In a blink, the caravan arrives; a trip that took maybe two weeks or
so; and Rebecca rapidly becomes the prime focus. This chapter, after all, about the
bride; rather than the groom.


Gen 24:11 . . He made the camels kneel down by the well outside the city, at
evening time, the time when women come out to draw water.

"evening time" is from an ambiguous word that indicates any time between high
noon and sunset as opposed to morning which can indicate any time between
sunrise and high noon.


Gen 24:12 . . And he said: O Lord, God of my master Abraham, grant me good
fortune this day, and deal graciously with my master Abraham:

This steward was truly a God-fearing man, and truly faithful to the one who sent
him on this errand. His prayer is not self centered, but centered upon the best
interests of his master's son. Incidentally, this is the very first prayer recorded in
the Bible of any individual clearly requesting Divine providence.


Gen 24:13-14 . . Here I stand by the spring as the daughters of the townsmen
come out to draw water; let the maiden to whom I say "Please, lower your jar that
I may drink" and who replies "Drink, and I will also water your camels"-- let her be
the one whom You have decreed for Your servant Isaac. Thereby shall I know that
You have dealt graciously with my master.

This man didn't beat around the bush, nor begin reading from a siddur, nor a
missal, nor did he chant by rote, nor blather in tongues. He gets right down to
business and spells out his concerns in plain language. Let me say something very
clearly: If you are the kind of person who has to pray in tongues because you don't
have enough command of your own native language to express yourself in any
other way, then maybe you should go back to school for a while.

Of great interest is the steward's apparent lack of concern regarding the
prospective bride's looks. Only God truly knew who would be right for Isaac, and
Abraham's steward is not going to select a bride for his master's son like as if she's
flesh on the line the way the sons of God did back in Gen 6:2. No; she must be
hand-picked by God alone because He alone knows what's in a heart. If the girl that
God chooses for Isaac is attractive; well that will be a bonus, but absolutely not the
deciding factor.
_
 

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Gen 24:15 . . He had scarcely finished speaking, when Rebecca-- born to Bethuel,
the son of Milcah the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor --came out with her jar on
her shoulder.

As fortune would have it, the very first girl to arrive is Becky. Although she's related
to Abraham, at this point Abraham's steward doesn't know who she is yet. In fact
he's probably expecting to conduct many tiresome interviews; testing one girl after
another until the right one shows up.


Gen 24:16a . .The maiden was very beautiful,

Some chafe at that passage and refuse to believe Genesis is talking about Becky's
physical assets. However, later on, in Gen 26:6-7, Isaac will attempt his dad's old
trick and say Becky is his sister; in order to save his skin. The reason Isaac gives
for the lie is he believed the men of Gerar would be tempted to kill him because
Becky was attractive. It is highly unlikely pagan men would take Becky away from
Isaac just because she had a beautiful personality. As a rule, ancient men didn't
fight over the nice girls; they battled for the alluring ones.


Gen 24:16b . . a virgin

Becky is two girls in one: a virgin, and a virgin. What the heck you say? How is she
two virgins?

The word for "virgin" in 24:16 is bethuwlah (beth-oo-law') which can indicate a
maiden, a bride; and also a city or state. Technically, bethuwlaw doesn't necessarily
indicate a girl who's never slept with a man. The primary denotation is
chronological, and the word simply indicates a mature young woman of
marriageable age whether she is married or not; e.g. Joel 1:8, where a bethuwlah
laments the husband of her youth.


Gen 24:16c . . whom no man had known.

Well; that settles it. Becky was a flower in full bloom, and as fresh as any daisy
could ever be.
_
 

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Gen 24:16d . . She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up.

The "spring" in this case was a small pool of water fed by an aquifer, which is
different than an artesian well; they gush, while aquifers seep.

Some of the shafts of ancient man-made wells in that part of the world resemble
mini open-pit mines; with steps hewn into the sides to facilitate access to the water
for dipping jars and buckets. Becky's spring was likely constructed like that.


Gen 24:17a . .The servant ran toward her

The Hebrew word for "ran" is the same word used in Gen 18:2 and 18:7 to describe
Abraham's movement when the three men appeared in his camp. Abraham was
about 99 years old at the time and it's very doubtful he was able to move his legs
all that fast. It's far more likely he just hastened.

In any case, it was nevertheless essential that Abraham's steward not waste any
time because Becky had strong legs and would surely be gone away home in a
blink.


Gen 24:17b . . and said: Please, let me sip a little water from your jar.

It's amazing that a gorgeous young girl like Becky would allow a total stranger to
approach her without protest or without screaming for help. Was she naïve? Was
she foolish?

Well . . maybe in that day, and around her town, you could trust people. But it
would not be wise to do that in some parts of New York or Los Angeles. A
seemingly honest appeal for assistance could very well be a distraction while an
accomplice sneaks up behind you.

Although Becky arrived first, ahead of the other girls, by now there may have been
several others milling around the spring because that was the time of day for them
to be there. In groups, they could all watch out for each other. Genesis doesn't tell
about any of the others though because the spotlight is totally on Isaac's future
bride.


Gen 24:18a . . Drink, my lord: she said,

The Hebrew word for "lord" is 'adown (aw-done') and is suitable for courteously
addressing a male superior; whether actual or assumed; viz: fathers, aged men,
kings, husbands, and/or God.


Gen 24:18b . . and she quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and let him drink.

The word for "quickly" is from mahar (maw-har') which means: to be liquid or flow
easily; viz: nimble (the opposite of that would be the sluggishness of molasses in
January) and implies to act promptly. I really like the way Becky responded. When
people do things grudgingly, they often stonewall, perform slowly, and drag their
feet just to show you they're annoyed. But Becky didn't hesitate. She gave water to
the man whole-heartedly, sharply, and immediately.

Whether she actually let him drink out of her hand is doubtful. Lowering the jar
upon her hand merely indicates it was previously up on her shoulder or maybe on
top of her head. Becky probably just supported it from underneath with one hand
while tilting the top with the other so the contents would pour out and Abraham's
steward could slack his thirst.


Gen 24:19-20 . .When she had let him drink his fill, she said: I will also draw for
your camels, until they finish drinking. Quickly emptying her jar into the trough,
she ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels.

Flo-Jo Becky-- scurrying all over the place like a US Navy SEAL trainee in hell week.
No time to waste if she was going to water all those camels before dark.

The Arabian camel can drink more than twenty gallons of water in one sitting when
it's very thirsty. I hope that man gave them some water earlier because he had ten
camels and Becky could be hauling as much as 200 gallons. If her pitcher held five
gallons, the weight would be about 41 pounds of water for each one of the forty
trips she would have to make down and back up out of that spring. Wow that girl
was fit! Well, she did it-- and all without any grousing about it.


Gen 24:21 . .The man, meanwhile, stood gazing at her, silently wondering
whether The Lord had made his errand successful or not.

That man must have been totally blown away. The very thing about which he
prayed barely five minutes ago was occurring right before his eyes and all so brisk
and sudden too. This was just too easy and just too unbelievable. Could this really
be of The Lord? He dared not let himself enjoy any success yet until he knew for
sure.


Gen 24:22 . .When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose
ring weighing a half-shekel, and two gold bands for her arms, ten shekels in weight.

The word for "nose-ring" is nexem (neh'-zem) which just means ring, or jewel.
Without a modifier, there is no way of knowing for sure if the ring is for the nose or
the ear. However, in verse 47 up ahead, Abraham's steward will say he installed
the ring in Becky's nose.

The half shekel was a unit of weight and a media of exchange in those days. It
weighed about 6.019 grams which is equal to about 92.87 grains. Typical .22
caliber lead bullets weigh approximately 40 grains apiece, so it would take at least
two and a third of them to equal the weight of the ring. That's really not much, but
if it's stuck in your nose or hanging on your ear I guess it would become noticeable
after a while.

The combined weight of the two bands was ten shekels, which is twenty times the
weight of the ring; or about 1,857 grains; which is equivalent to forty-six .22 cal
lead bullets.

1,857 grains + 93 grains = 1,950 grains; which is equivalent to 4.06 troy ounces of
gold. ( a troy ounce is equal to 480 grains) As of Feb 11, 2021 the commodity value
of gold was roughly 1,834US dollars per troy ounce. So to date, Becky's gold, in
commodity value, was worth roughly 7446.04 US dollars. (6,137 Euro)
_
 

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Gen 24:23-25 . . Pray tell me; he said: whose daughter are you? Is there room in
your father's house for us to spend the night? She replied: I am the daughter of
Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor. And she went on: There is
plenty of straw and feed at home, and also room to spend the night.

That did it. The identity of Becky's family was the final chop that felled the tree.
Abraham's steward had no more doubts about the Lord's providence. At this point,
he put the ring in Becky's nose and the bands on her arms.


Gen 24:26-27 . .The man bowed low in homage to The Lord and said: Blessed be
The Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld His steadfast
faithfulness from my master. For I have been guided on my errand by The Lord, to
the house of my master's kinsmen.

How utterly astounded Becky must have been that this stranger would give her all
that gold for doing nothing more than watering him and his camels; and then his
prayer to boot.

I'm guessing that at this point, Becky began to suspect that something was up.
There were men with Abraham's steward who were no doubt all intently observing
this scene and gauging Becky's reactions throughout the whole incident. Looking at
them, looking at the man, looking at his camels loaded down with all manner of
stuff, and that there were more saddled camels than men to ride them; I think
Becky began to get nervous because right then she took off out of there for home
like a United passenger with scarcely seconds to spare to catch their connection
from Chicago to Seattle.


Gen 24:28 . .The maiden ran and told all this to her mother's household.

Becky told the story to her mom's side of the family, which suggests that her dad
Bethuel may have kept a concubine as well as a wife.

Here's a possible scenario of what happened next.

Becky's mom (whose name isn't given) has become anxious-- it's getting late, and
her baby hasn't returned yet with the evening water supply.

Then, WHAM! as sudden and unexpected as a California earthquake: an excited,
out of breath Becky-girl comes crashing through the door with a shriek and a
squeal; dropping her jug on the floor with a thud, sloshing water over the floor,
accompanied by the incomprehensible jabbering of a flock of magpies-- gasping for
air, lungs burning; she spits her tale as arms flash with gold, and the ring in her
nose sparkles like a glimmering salmon lure every time she turns her head; which
is quite often.

At first, in dazed silence, everyone is paralyzed and nobody moves.

Then, BOOM! the whole place erupts and people start scrambling. Chairs get
knocked over, tables bumped out of their places, lamps teeter, and doors slam with
the whump and concussion of incoming mortar rounds. People out in the courtyard
are barking orders to the servants at the tops of their voices; as everyone bolts off
from ground-zero in ten different directions like panicked North Koreans making
emergency preparations to put Kim Jong-Un up for the night.

Meanwhile, Becky's brother Laban (who just happens to be infected with a severe
case of unbridled avarice) ignites the afterburners and sails out the door at Mach 2
on his way to fetch Abraham's steward.


Gen 24:29-30a . . Now Rebecca had a brother whose name was Laban. He ran
out to the man at the spring when he saw the nose-ring and the bands on his
sister's arms, and when he heard his sister Rebecca say: Thus the man spoke to
me.

There's no record that Laban ever actually met Abraham in person, but Bethuel
surely must have talked about him around the dinner table-- how the god of Noah
had called uncle Abram to leave Mesopotamia and head south to the frontier. And
caravans arriving from Egypt surely passed through Abraham's region, picking up
news and information about the great sheik's exploits and the fact that Abraham's
camp was very large; a community of at least a thousand people.

Then; Shazaam! Abraham's steward seemingly materializes out of nowhere--
totally unexpected like Forrest Gump's friend Jenny after a long absence --with
samples of Abraham's prosperity. That must have been really exciting: akin to news
from early-day Texas oilfields.


Gen 24:30b-31a . . He went up to the man, who was still standing beside the
camels at the spring. He said: Come in, O blessed of The Lord;

The word for "Lord" is actually YHVH and is the very name of deity the steward
used in his prayer.

Laban didn't actually worship Yhvh nor serve Him either. The steward's god was
Yhvh; so for now, Yhvh would be Laban's god too. Becky's brother was a clever,
Machiavellian manipulator. By feigning respect for the steward's god; Laban no
doubt hoped it would work to advantage. Later we're going to discover that Laban's
own personal religion was actually idolatry. He kept a supply of divine figurines in
his home-- little statuettes called teraphim.


Gen 24:31b . . why do you remain outside, when I have made ready the house
and a place for the camels?

Unlike Abraham's home, where Abraham ruled supreme, the daddy in Becky's home
doesn't seem to have much voice or power in it. Bethuel's son, is the principle
spokesman. He and his mom together seemed to run the place. Some husbands are
happy with that kind of an arrangement so what the hey, if it works for them? It
could be too that the daddy's health was not all that good and so he preferred
letting his family manage the home.
_
 

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Gen 24:32 . . So the man entered the house, and the camels were unloaded. The
camels were given straw and feed, and water was brought to bathe his feet and the
feet of the men with him.

In those days, when somebody "entered the house" they actually entered a
gateway into a courtyard bordered by living quarters and stables.

Who took care of the animals? Probably servants. Which would indicate that Bethuel
had done pretty well for himself in life. His home was spacious enough to shelter
the servant and his detachment; plus he had enough provender and bedding for at
least ten camels.

Hmmmm. Makes one curious why Becky was out there fetching water. Why did she
have to do it if they had servants? Well, I don't think she really had to; but Isaac's
future bride was no narcissistic prima donna: she was one of those people who
don't mind pitching in and getting their hands dirty. Privileged or no privileged; that
girl was something.


Gen 24:33a . . But when food was set before him, he said: I will not eat until I
have told my tale.

Always one for business, the man got straight to the point.


Gen 24:33b . . He said: Speak, then.

Who was it said: speak? Well, the nearest antecedent is Laban. You know, that boy
reminds me of Sonny Corleone; the eldest brother in Mario Puzo's book "The
Godfather
". Sonny was headstrong, outspoken, and a slave to his passions; just
like ol' Laban.


Gen 24:34 . . I am Abraham's servant: he began.

I think it's commendable that this man, so far from home, didn't introduce himself
by his own name but rather by the name of the one whom he represented.


Gen 24:35 . .The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become rich:
He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels
and burros.

I love the way this man gives credit to Yhvh for Abraham's good fortune rather than
to idols, heathen deities, dumb luck, brute force, fortuitous circumstance, and/or
Abraham's business skills.

It was important that the man tell Becky's family about Abraham's religion, and
about his wealth, because in a moment he's going to drop a 2,000 pound bunker
buster that will change their lives forever.
_
 

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Gen 24:36a . . And Sarah, my master's wife, bore my master a son in her old age

Curiously, 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 education, special rights, 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.


Gen 24:36b . . and he has assigned to him everything he owns.

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?


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?

. . . 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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.


Gen 24:52 . .When Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed low to the
ground before the Lord.

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.


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.

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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Gen 24:54-55 . .Then he and the men with him ate and drank, and they spent
the night. When they arose next morning, he said: Give me leave to go to my
master. But her brother and her mother said: Let the maiden remain with us some
ten days; then you may go.

Their request was reasonable. After all, this was all so sudden. They didn't even
have a chance to announce the engagement nor organize a bridal shower. Becky's
friends would all want to come over to the house and ooo and ahhh the jewelry and
go nuts over the exotic fashions from Canaan. And they would all want to give her
one last hug and wish blessings on her new life. What's so wrong with that? There's
nothing wrong with that; but Abraham's wishes have to take priority in this matter.
(cf. Luke 9:61-62)

Gen 24:56-57a . . He said to them: Do not delay me, now that The Lord has
made my errand successful. Give me leave that I may go to my master.

Abraham probably had a pretty good idea how long his servant should be gone; and
if the return was delayed, Abraham might begin to become anxious and wonder
what was going on up there in Haran what with no internet email, telephones, HAM
radio, telegraph, nor even any way to send a post card back home.

Becky has now agreed to be Isaac's bride. She made that decision the moment she
accepted clothing and jewelry that were offered to her in Isaac's name. The big
question now is: how much longer does she wish to remain a maiden before
becoming a married woman with a home of her own, and fulfilling a woman's
purpose in life per Gen 2:18.

Gen 24:57b-58 . . And they said: Let us call the girl and ask for her reply. They
called Rebecca and said to her: Will you go with this man? And she said: I will.

Exactly what so strongly motivated Becky to agree to leave home on such short
notice is open to speculation. Some feel it was because, unknown to the writer of
Genesis, she had been praying for The Lord's providence in this very matter of
finding the right man. The events of the previous evening were enough to convince
Becky that this was truly divine providence; and she wasn't about to procrastinate
now and louse up her chances for God-given happiness and security. That man was
leaving, and the soon-to-be Mrs. Isaac ben Abraham was not going to miss her
ride; uh-uh, no way!

Gen 24:59a . . So they sent off their sister Rebecca

The word for "sister" is from 'achowth (aw-khoth') and isn't limited to siblings. It
applies to all manner of female kin-- sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces; even to a
lover, as in Song 4:9-12.

You can imagine the flurry that went on in that house getting Becky's bags packed
on such short notice. You can bet there was no joy around there that morning. An
air of sadness marked her departure. Everyone was no doubt well aware they would
likely never see Becky ever again. In those days, when somebody moved 500 miles
away, they might just as well have gone to Pluto.

Gen 24:59b . . and her nurse along with Abraham's servant and his men.

The word for "nurse" is from yanaq (yaw-nak') and implies wet nursing. This may
be an indication that, for reasons unspecified, Rebecca's mom was unable to breast
feed her children. In Mesopotamia, wet nurses frequently had the additional duties
of bringing up the child and acting as their guardian; viz: a nanny. The nurse
(whose name is Deborah; Gen 35:8) was probably either Becky's first choice as
personal assistant, or Deborah herself just couldn't part with her little Becky and
volunteered to go along as a chaperon. It's not unusual for mentors, like Helen
Keller's tutor Anne Sullivan, to become permanently bonded and dedicated to their
charges.

Gen 24:60 . . And they blessed Rebecca and said to her: O sister! May you grow
into thousands of myriads; may your offspring seize the gates of their foes.

That prophetic bon voyage was undoubtedly an acknowledgement of the promises
God made to Abraham following the Akedah (Gen 22:15-18). Abraham's steward
spent the night in Becky's home; and while eating dinner and chatting, no doubt
shared many wonderful events from Abraham's and Isaac's lives to which Becky's
family must have listened just as spellbound as all of us who study Genesis in our
own day and age.

The Akedah surely must have been to them almost beyond belief that God would
ask Abraham to sacrifice the very son in whom all the promises would be fulfilled.
No wonder Becky was so ready to go. She just had to get on down there and see
this man in whom God had taken such a particular interest.

Gen 24:61a . .Then Rebecca and her maids arose, mounted the camels, and
followed the man.

The word for "maids" is from na'arah (nah-ar-aw') and means a young, underage
girl. A Bible maid is just a lass, not really a grown up adult woman. She could be a
pre teen or a late teen and any age in between. It wasn't unusual for a woman from
a family of means to have a retinue of young girls in attendance. Becky's maids
possibly were the children of her home's adult servants.

Then too, young girls were often indentured into maid service. Sometimes it was
because of parental greed, but often it was because the family was in poverty and
desperate. In the last decade alone, many families in Afghanistan were forced to
sell their children just to survive the Taliban ruin of their country. Sometimes young
girls were fortunes of war in Becky's day and could be bought and sold at market;
for example the Jewish damsel in 2Kgs 5:1-3 who helped Naaman get his leprosy
cured.
_
 

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Gen 24:61b . . So the servant took Rebecca and went his way.

The 500 mile trip to Isaac's camp, which must have taken at least two weeks, was
a great opportunity for Rebecca to become familiar with the manager of her
spouse's goods. People bond well under hardship and under close knit
circumstances. In the years to come, the friendship and trust that developed en
route with Rebecca and the man, would really come in handy after she took over
Isaac's home. We can easily guess what the primary topic of conversation was on
the way back-- Mr. Isaac.

"Oh, do tell me more about him. What's his favorite food? His favorite color?
When's his birthday? Has he been a playboy, dating lots of girls? Is he mellow or is
he thin-skinned and easily angered? What does he do in his spare time? How tall is
he? Does he have many pet peeves? What color is his hair and eyes? How old is he?
Does he have a sense of humor? Would he get upset if I burned the toast? Is he
affable and approachable? Is he reasonable? Is he despotic? Is he generous with his
money, or a miserly tight wad? Do you really think he will like me?"

All those things, and lots, lots more, are very important to most brides and I have
no doubt that Rebecca pried a great many things out of Abraham's steward
concerning her Isaac. By the time they arrived, all of Becky's anxieties and fears
about her future husband were resolved, and she was in love with that man before
even meeting him for the very first time.

You know, Becky only had the steward's word that there really was an Isaac. She
herself had never seen him, her family had never seen him, in fact no one in her
whole town had ever seen him. What if the entire story were a big hoax and the
man was not telling the truth. Perhaps he was a smooth con man who actually had
in mind to sell Becky into slavery down in Egypt.

The farther and farther she got from home, the more danger Becky was in. The
land was strange and hostile, Becky had no friends and no one to turn to if she
might try an escape. She was in fact trusting her very life to an almost complete
stranger. (cf. Phil 1:6)

But that man's speech and his bearing were powerfully persuasive. He was able to
convince Becky that he was genuinely Abraham's steward and that there really was
an Isaac waiting for her at trail's end. Becky left home with one stranger to marry
yet another stranger. But by the time they arrived, Abraham's trusty steward had
proved himself to Becky that her escorts were all trustworthy men and only meant
good by her.


Gen 24:62 . . Isaac had just come back from the vicinity of Beer-lahai-roi, for he
was settled in the region of the Negeb.

Beer-lahai-roi was the source of water where Hagar met God for the very first time;
and her experience caused the well to be named the way it was in Gen 16:13-14.

Hagar's water source became not only somewhat of a holy monument, but also an
important watering hole for people with flocks and herds down there in the Negev;
thanks to a runaway slave girl.


Gen 24:63a . . And Isaac went out walking in the field toward evening

The precise location of this field is uncertain. Since Isaac's ranch was in the Negev,
near Hagar's well, that might be where this next scene occurred.

There lacks a consensus opinion among Jewish scholars as to the precise meaning
of the Hebrew word laasuwach, which is translated "walking" in some Bibles; and
"meditate" in others. The JPS rendering, "walking" is based upon the Arabic saha.
Tradition has it that Isaac was out in the field for reflection and prayer. What might
he be praying about?

Well, most likely about his impending marriage to a mail-order bride. If Rebecca
was at all nervous, you can bet Isaac was just as nervous himself. These two were
going to be joined at the hip for the rest of their lives and they had yet to even
meet.


Gen 24:63b-64a . . and, looking up, he saw camels approaching. Raising her
eyes, Rebecca saw Isaac.

I've heard the wording suggests a simultaneous meeting of the eyes. Isaac saw
Rebecca just when she saw him. Rebecca couldn't be positive at that moment the
man she saw was her future husband; but one thing Isaac knew: his dad's servant
didn't leave home with female passengers. One of those women out there on the
camels had to be meant for him.


Gen 24:64b . . She alighted from the camel

Suspecting that the man up ahead just might be her future husband, Rebecca took
no chances of getting off on the wrong foot with impropriety. She could always get
back up on the camel if it turned out the man wasn't her Isaac; but just in case . . .
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Gen 24:65a . . and said to the servant: Who is that man walking in the field
toward us? And the servant said: That is my master.

Well; the man approaching was much too young to be Abraham, and there was
only one other person on the whole planet that Abraham's servant would ever call
his master-- the heir apparent.


Gen 24:65b . . So she took her veil and covered herself.

Becky's veil was a full body wrap, similar to a burqa; not just a stylish hijab or a
cute little semi-transparent scarf in front of her face. In Akkadian, the bride on her
wedding day was called kallatu kutumtu, (the veiled bride).

Also, in Akkadian; she was called pussumtu, (the veiled one), which means the
same as kallatu, (bride). In that day, Rebecca's veil had both symbolic and socio
legal significance.

It was an unmistakable signal to Isaac that among all those ladies riding along with
his dad's servant that day; the burqa-ette was to be his wife.

This meeting is interesting. We spent quite a bit of time viewing the character, the
background, and the beauty of a really outstanding young woman in the beginning
of this chapter. But it's all under wraps now in the presence of the groom. Becky is
doing absolutely nothing to attract Isaac at this point. In fact, Isaac can't even see
past the veil to what a gorgeous package of womanhood that Becky really is.

The anonymous steward who went north to speak with Becky on Isaac's behalf, will
now speak with Isaac on Becky's behalf. Thus, Abraham's steward will be an
ambassador for both Isaac and Rebecca; and when he's done, Becky will know all
she needs to know at this point about Isaac, and Isaac will know all he needs to
know at this point about Rebecca; even before they meet each other for the very
first time.


Gen 24:66 . .The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.

The steward's responsibility was to canvas Abraham's kin for a bridal candidate,
engage the girl to marry Isaac, gain her consent to leave home, and then transport
her safely back to Palestine. Next hurdle: Isaac's acceptance of the candidate. The
marriage still isn't set in concrete yet until Isaac meets Becky and voluntarily
accepts her to be his wife.

But this phase of the romance is out of the steward's jurisdiction. It's not his
responsibility to make the couple like each other. He only had to bring them
together. (cf. John 6:44)


Gen 24:67a . . Isaac then brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah,

That tent was once Abraham's home. His choice to donate it for Becky's temporary
quarters was very thoughtful, and must have meant a lot to her; since at this point,
Becky was far from home, family, and friends; and her future was in doubt. Meeting
one's future in-laws can prove a bit scary for some. To be given Sarah's tent was a
very good indication that Isaac's dad was pleased, and that the girl was okay by
him.

She, and her nurse, and her maidens would live in the donated domicile until such
a time as the marriage was performed, or (if Isaac didn't like her) until she was
sent back home. There's more to marriage than just business; after all, marriage is
a union of two people-- and people have feelings. It's one thing to do your duty,
but it's quite another to feel loved-- and marriage really ought to have some love in
it after all.


Gen 24:67b . . and he took Rebecca as his wife.

The literal of that verse is: he took Rebecca and she became his wife. The meaning
of "he took" Rebecca, is that Isaac accepted her. The meaning of "she became his
wife" is that Rebecca accepted Isaac. So that the marriage was between two people
who truly accepted each other; rather than between two people who were stuck
with each other. It turned out that those two went together like a pair of old shoes:
quite literally a match made in heaven.


Gen 24:67c . . Isaac loved her,

The word for "love" is from 'ahab (aw-hab') and means: to have affection for. This
instance is only the second time in the first twenty-four chapters of Genesis where
that word appears. The other was in chapter 22, just prior to the Akedah, when
God asked Abraham to "Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the
heights that I will point out to you."

So Isaac was genuinely fond of Rebecca just as much as Abraham was genuinely
fond of Isaac The couple's union wasn't just another arranged marriage like so
many of the others in that day; theirs was truly a romance.


Gen 24:67d . . and thus found comfort after his mother's death.

All too often, men experience very little happiness with their mothers during
boyhood. A callous mom can easily become a boy's worst influence, and
permanently warp his attitude towards women for the remainder of his life; even
leading to male frigidity.

But Isaac's mom wasn't like that at all. Sarah was not only a good mother to Isaac,
but she was also a really good buddy too. In spite of her domineering personality,
Sarah and Isaac had somehow managed to become good friends; and her loss left
a big hole in his heart. It would take a very special girl to repair that hole. Well,
Rebecca was just the one to do it. She not only replaced Sarah in the matriarchy,
but she also replaced Sarah as the female buddy in Isaac's life.


NOTE: Wasn't that a good story? Joseph's story is pretty good too. You know:
Genesis is no country for a drudge. Only people with a heart can truly appreciate
this book. For anybody else; it's just academic fodder for a bull session.
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Gen 25:1 . . Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.

According to 1Chrn 1:32, Ms. Keturah wasn't really a full-fledged wife as Sarah had
been, but was a wife of a different color altogether. She was a piylegesh (pee-leh'
ghesh) which means: a mistress or a paramour; viz: a concubine. So that Gen 25:1
really should be translated: "Abraham took another woman"

It was considered okay in those days for men to sire children by concubines and
nobody seemed to think much of it. But at Abraham's age!? Wow! Earlier, at
Gen17:17, Abraham considered himself much to old to father a child; and in truth,
he was.

"By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-- and Sarah herself was barren
was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made
the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants
as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore."
(Heb 11:11-12)

Not only was Sarah miraculously made fertile in her old age, but so was her
husband Abraham. In fact his libido, and his fertility, were so well repaired that the
old boy couldn't leave the ladies alone even after he was more than 140 years old!
So the comment at Gen 24:1 wasn't meant to convey the idea that Abraham lacked
vigor.


Gen 25:2-4 . . She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan. The descendants of Dedan were the Asshurim,
the Letushim, and the Leummim. The descendants of Midian were Ephah, Epher,
Enoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.

According to a web site called Mr. Showbiz, Tony Randall, the Odd Couple sitcom
star, became a first-time father at age seventy-seven in May of 1997 when his wife,
then twenty-seven-year-old Heather Harlan, gave birth to their daughter Julia. A
second baby came in June 98. Mr. Randall would have been ninety-eight when the
first one graduated from college in 2019 had he lived.

Others have brought children into the world during their later years too-- e.g. Clint
Eastwood, Charlie Chaplin, and Cary Grant. Anthony Quinn had his thirteenth child
at the age of eighty-one. Some men can father children late in life; although it's
very risky. The chances for schizophrenia and other birth defects increase as men
get older.

Keturah's age is uncertain. But she was obviously young enough to have children;
and in that day, women retained their strength pretty far up into life. However, by
the time Sarah was ninety, she was past menopause.

Where did Abraham find Keturah? Was she an Egyptian like Hagar? Was she maybe
a local Canaanite; possibly from Ephron's clan, the guy who sold Abraham a plot for
Sarah's cemetery? No. If Abraham wouldn't let Isaac marry a women of Canaan,
then he sure wasn't going to sleep with one himself. Was she from Haran;
Rebecca's home town? Nobody really knows and it doesn't even matter anyway.
None of Keturah's children would share in the ownership of Eretz Israel-- only
Isaac's progeny. It all went to him by Divine fiat.


Gen 25:5 . . Abraham willed all that he owned to Isaac;

Abraham had already willed all that he owned to Isaac even before any of Keturah's
boys were born. The servant told Becky's family so back in chapter 24. This verse is
just to make sure nobody forgets that Isaac is the only son that really matters.


Gen 25:6a . . but to Abraham's sons by concubines Abraham gave gifts while he
was still living,

When Ishmael was cut loose back in chapter 21, there was no mention of gifts. In
fact, they left home with hardly anything at all. Apparently, later on, Ishmael
returned to visit his dad on occasion and Abraham eventually compensated him for
the loss of his firstborn rights. Abraham's generosity towards his sons was a right
thing to do.

"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate
family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." (1Tim 5:8)

Rather than stipulate his sons' inheritances in a written will, Abraham took care of
them all while he was still alive; probably to make sure there was no squabbling
over his estate in probate after he was dead and thereby possibly jeopardizing
Isaac's future.


Gen 25:6b . . and he sent them away from his son Isaac eastward, to the land of
the East.

The "land of the East" is a general name for Arabia, which stretched away to the
southeast and east of the point where Abraham resided in the south of Palestine.
The northern part of Arabia, which lay due east of Palestine, was formerly more
fertile and populous than now.

Sending someone away is not really the same as driving them off; but more like a
send-off; viz: a bon voyage (e.g. Gen 24:59). It's far more likely Abraham helped
them all get settled outside of Canaan rather than leave them to the whims of fate.
Once settled into their own territories, the other boys would be less inclined to
muscle in on Isaac's turf or freeload off him in the event they fell onto hard times.
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Gen 25:7 . .This was the total span of Abraham's life: one hundred and seventy
five years.

Abraham resided in Canaan for 100 years; and outlived Sarah by 48. That's not the
way it usually happens here in modern America. Wives typically outlive their
husbands; and if you don't think that's true, just visit any one of a number of
retirement communities. Men over 80 who can still walk on their own, and drive a
car, are like the proverbial fox in a henhouse. As of 2019, the male/female ratio for
people aged 85 and older was 58% more women than men.


Gen 25:8a . . And Abraham breathed his last,

Abraham lived to see Jacob's and Esau's fifteenth birthday. The twins were born
when Isaac was sixty. And Abraham died when Isaac was seventy-five. So the boys
got to know their grandpa pretty good before the old master passed on.

Abraham lived a very brief life in comparison to his forbearers. From Noah's point of
view, who lived to 950, Abraham practically died as a child. Out ahead in the new
world, a man of a hundred years old will be considered just a kid. (Isa 65;19-20)

The human life span has steadily declined since Noah's day, and now the average
American, even with all the food, and the most advanced medical care in the world,
only lives on average about 77 years or so.


Gen 25:8b . . dying at a good age, old and contented;

Too many people die at a bad age; viz: too soon-- for example all the teens who
died in the Viet Nam war, and the ones currently being killed in Afghanistan.

The word for "contented" is from sabea' saw-bay'-ah) which means: satiated. In
other words: Abraham didn't die unfulfilled; he lived a very satisfying life: he
touched all the bases.

Thoreau once said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Well; that
doesn't fit Abraham. He never wished his life had turned out differently.

"Piety with contentment is great gain." (1Tim 6:9)
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