Genesis 24:1-67 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What is Abraham’s concern for Isaac and what instructions does he give to his servant with regard to this matter? See Genesis 24:1-4 (printed below)

Abraham was old, and well advanced in years. Now Jehovah had blessed Abraham in all things. (2) Then Abraham said to his servant, the chief servant of his household, the one who had charge over all Abraham’s possessions, I beg you, put your hand under my thigh. (3) I will make you swear by Jehovah, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I am living; (4) rather, you shall go to my country, and to my relatives, and get a wife for my son Isaac. (Genesis 24:1-4)

Abraham is at an advanced age when we meet him in Genesis 24, he knows that the time of his departure is at hand, and he knows he has one thing left to do: provide for Isaac a godly wife. So it is that he calls to him his most trusted household servant, and makes him swear that he will seek the right kind of spouse for Isaac. Abraham stipulates that she must not be “from the daughters of the Canaanites;” rather, the servant must go to Abraham’s own relatives and seek a wife for Isaac. Abraham knew that among his relatives there was the knowledge of the Lord and there would be found a wife who would share a common Christian faith with Isaac (note verse 31).

2. What confidence does Abraham express to his servant in Genesis 24:7 (printed below?) See also Genesis 24:40 (printed below)

Jehovah, the God of heaven—who took me from my father’s household and from my native land, who spoke to me and who swore an oath to me, saying, To your offspring I will give this land—he will send his angel before you, and you shall get a wife for my son from there. (Genesis 24:7)

And he said to me, Jehovah, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you and make your journey successful. So shall you take a wife for my son from among my relatives, and from my father’s household. (Genesis 24:40)

Abraham expresses to his servant his confidence that the Lord would give His provision concerning the right spouse for Isaac. Abraham’s confidence was based upon the importance of this matter, as well as the fact that it was in accordance with the Lord’s will. Furthermore, Abraham’s confidence was supported by the fact that he himself was setting a godly example; the servant reports Abraham’s testimony as follows, “My master said to me, Jehovah, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you and make your journey successful. So shall you take a wife for my son from among my relatives, and from my father’s household” (verse 40).

3. Entrusted with this most important assignment, what does Abraham’s servant do? See Genesis 24:12-14 and Genesis 24:48 (printed below)

And he said, O Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, I beg you, please give me success today and show kindness to my master Abraham. (13) See, I am standing beside this well, and the young women of the city are coming out to draw water. (14) May the young woman to whom I say, Please, I beg you, lower your water pitcher into the well so that I may have a drink, and she shall say, Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink—may that very girl be the one whom you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown kindness to my master. (Genesis 24:12-14)

And I bowed my head and worshiped Jehovah and blessed Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the right way to take the daughter of my master’s brother as a wife for his son. (Genesis 24:48)

When Abraham’s servant is entrusted with this most important task, he looks to the Lord for grace and favor. The servant asks the Lord to guide him and make clear to him who is the right woman for Isaac. Note that when the Lord answers his prayer, Abraham’s servant remembers to express his gratitude to the Lord (verse 48).

4. If Rebekah’s family is unwilling to give her in marriage to Isaac, what will Abraham’s servant do? See Genesis 24:49 (printed below)

Now if you will deal kindly and faithfully with my master, tell me. And if not, tell me, so that I may turn to the right or to the left in pursuit of a wife for my master’s son. (Genesis 24:49)

If Rebekah’s family is unwilling to give her in marriage to Isaac, Abraham’s servant will continue his search among the other families of the area (presumably Abraham’s more distant relatives). Thus, even if the servant encountered the discouragement of having Rebekah’s family refuse to allow her to marry Isaac, he was still determined to do God’s will and trust Him for His provision. He would still trust in the Lord and pursue his search for a suitable wife for Isaac, confident that the Lord would honor his master’s endeavor and answer his prayer.

5. What lesson should Christian parents learn from Abraham?

We must appreciate the spiritual perspective that regulated Abraham’s life and induced him to take such action on behalf of his son. There would have been a great temptation for Abraham to have his son, Isaac, wedded to one of the daughters of the Canaanites. Abraham, as a wealthy man, could have selected a very choice spouse for Isaac from among his Canaanite neighbors. By so doing he would have created an alliance with one of the leading families of Canaan. As a result he would have procured a possession in the land of Canaan, securing a place in the land for Isaac; not to mention guaranteeing Isaac a continued and increased source of wealth. But Abraham’s spiritual perspective enabled him to look beyond the immediate and the temporal to that which is transcendent and divine. Christian parents of today must have the same perspective as Abraham whose first priority with regard to a marriage partner for his son was his concern that she be a fellow believer so that they might share together spiritual life in the Lord.