What I love about the Bible, is that when you think you know everything to do with a particular scripture – the Lord just shows you a different revelation that is just more outstanding then all previous knowledge.
Today I just wanted to dive into Genesis 24 and reveal to you what was revealed to me when I first explored this chapter.
The premise of this chapter is the search for a wife for Isaac ( Son of Abraham).Isaac was the son with whom Abraham and Sarah conceived in VERY old age, and whom Abraham was willing to sacrifice for God’s will, in the same way, God the Father was willing to sacrifice Jesus Christ his son (Genesis 22:1-19).
In previous chapters Sarah had passed away and Isaac who would have been roughly 40 years of age was grieving over her death, Abraham felt that it was now time to search for a wife for Isaac.
- Do you have your bible ready?
- Do you have a pen and paper for making notes?
- Is your heart and mind receptive to what we are about to study?
Okay good, let us begin our study!
Genesis 24: 2
It may seem bizarre now to make a promise by placing your hand under someone’s thigh, but this was customary as ‘under the thigh’ represented the closest location to the genitals. This was symbolic for two main reasons, the first being a reminder of the everlasting covenant between man and God through circumcision* and therefore a reminder that God was a witness to the promises being made between Abraham and his servant. The second reason is that the genital area was a source from where Abraham’s covenant would be fulfilled (‘The father of many nations, extremely fruitful’ Genesis 1:5-6). As such this promise was not just between Abraham and the servant but also to his future family lineage.
The promise made between the two could easily represent how we tend to cross our hearts when making a promise or link our pinkies to signify that our promises hold value as our lives are what we are putting on the line. So the searching of a wife for Isaac was a big deal.
Genesis 24: 3
One of the best ways to learn more about the Bible is to constantly ask questions such as why in particular was Isaac not allowed to marry a Canaanite woman and why was she supposed to come and live with them and not vice-versa? For this we turn to Genesis 9: 25-27 where Noah after leaving the ark cursed Canaan and his lineage, no good can come from a cursed lineage which would only hinder Abraham’s blessings. This is perhaps the reason why Abraham did not want Isaac marrying a daughter of the Canaanites.
Referencing Genesis 11:31, Abraham knew that he had other relatives living in Haran, and though they were probably worshipers of pagan Gods they were among the few people in the world who did know of God’s existence so it would be better for Isaac to marry a believer than someone who could lead him astray with other faiths. The second condition was for Isaac’s bride to live with them in the land of Canaan a land which God had promised Abraham. If Isaac had perhaps gone with the servant he may have been tempted to stay in his brides’ homeland removing him physically from the promise land and the plans in which God had for the family. Thus he was to stay in his father’s land; the wife would come to him.
Having made such a promise the servant left for Abraham’s homeland with 10 camels. When he arrived in the town of Haran, he arrived roughly the time when the women went to collect water from the well. He prayed to God to reveal him a woman who was not only willing to provide him water but to also provide water for his many camels. We tend to read the Bible and skim over some really cool information, but when we take care to read every passage and line that is when we can truly understand the verse. I urge you all to take a closer look at verse 14 before continuing. To water one camel is a struggle on its own when we consider the size of this mammal but to water 10 requires incredible strength. These particular wells were unlike the ones we are accustomed to, in those days most wells were provided for by underground springs which meant that in order to gather water, you would have to walk down some sets of stairs and collect water and then come up with your filled up bucket of water
(24:16) ‘ She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up’
To do this more than once in order to hydrate all 10 camels is something extraordinary that an average young women would be incapable of doing and for a stranger at that. We see again God answering this servants request through such an incredible miracle that can be easy to dismiss as a miracle.
One such woman who volunteered to undertake such physically demanding labour was Rebekah who happened to be of the same family as Abraham. The servant then proceeded to reward her for her efforts by giving her a gold ring weighing 42 g, two gold bracelets weighing roughly 420 g and 10 shekels of gold weighing roughly 1.4kg, we can safely assume that those jewellery items were and probably are still worth a lot of money. Also, these gifts were there to show to Rebekah that her prospective husband was from a wealthy family that could provide for her needs.
Genesis 24: 57-58
The servant was then welcomed into the house of Rebekah’s family to stay for the night with his camels and the other men who were travelling with the servant and relayed his story to them. Knowing the importance of his mission he stressed to the family the importance of taking Rebekah back with him. When they asked Rebekah if she wanted to follow the servant back to Canaan her response was “I will go”.
Contextually, Rebekah had only known of the servant for a few hours she had never met Isaac but was trusting the servant and his description of him. Also, she chose to follow the servant knowing that this would perhaps be the last time she was ever to see her family again; camels are great for travelling to see family but they are nothing compared to modern day technology such as the car or Skype.
Genesis 24: 65-67
We read in this passage that Rebekah and Isaac saw each other for the first time, and when Rebekah saw him she ‘covered herself’, I don’t know why this was added but I believe it to be Rebekah making herself holy and denoting a sense of modesty.
Isaac upon hearing about his wife took her in and loved her. In those days there were no formal wedding ceremony , once a man or woman left their house and an agreement had been made between the families then one was considered married.
I was informed that when a Jewish woman was betrothed to a man, there would be a period in which the groom would be gone, in order to prepare their marital home. Whilst the groom was gone, the groom’s best man would teach the bride everything about her groom, what he liked, what he ate, where he worked, how he was as a child etc, so that once the wedding day came, the bride knew more about her groom.
In this context the bride is Rebekah and she represents us as the Bride of Christ, the groom is Isaac and he represents Christ whom we are betrothed to, the servant is the Holy Spirit who teaches us about Christ and guides us back into his kingdom. WOW
When I got this revelation I was just so excited, it reminded me of how the Bible calls us the Bride of Christ ready and ‘adorned for her husband’ (Revelations 21:2). In the book of Revelations 21:9-11 when showed the bride of Christ she is described more wonderfully than the gifts given to Rebekah. Genesis 24 reveals to us what is coming for the Church and where we are heading to – an intimate relationship with the trinity.
Please let me know if you guys want to see a series of this particular topic of revealing Christ in the Old Testament.
* If you wish to do further Bible study, have a look at the circumcision covenant made in Genesis 17:1-27.