Genesis 24:1-67

 |  April 9, 2018

Gen. 24:1-67

  1. Locate the passage

This passage takes place after the death of Sarah and at a time when Abraham is advancing in age. Abraham has secured land for his family’s future and now is concerned to provide a wife for his son, Isaac, through whom the Covenant would continue.

  1. Genre

The passage is narrative. It records the conversation between Abraham and the servant, the servant and Rebekah, and Laban and the servant with Rebekah.

  1. Determine the structure of the passage

24:1-9 – Abraham’s commissioning of his servant to find a wife for Isaac

24:10-14 – The servant’s prayer

24:15-27 – The servant’s initial encounter with Rebekah

24:28-60 – The servant’s negotiations with Laban for Rebekah

24:61-67 – Isaac meets Rebekah and takes her as his wife

  1. Exegete the passage

The theme of the Covenant runs through this passage. The Lord is the focus of the passage. Abraham has the servant swear by the Lord; the servant prays to the Lord for the journey; the servant blesses the Lord for answering his prayer; the servant worshipped the Lord; Laban welcomes the servant as “blessed of the Lord;” the Lord is honored as having blessed Abraham; the servant announces that Abraham trusted that the Lord would give him success; Laban recognized the Lord’s hand in the process; and Isaac was meditating in the Lord’s presence when he met Rebekah.

Significance of the words, “take,” “walk,” and “run” dominate the passage. The verb “take” (Hb. “laqach”) occurs 14 times in the passage with reference to the one whom the servant should “take” or “not take” as a wife for Isaac. The verb “to walk” (Hb. “halaq”) occurs 17 times in the passage. It is perhaps juxtaposed with the word “to run” (Hb. “ruts”) which occurs 4 times in the pericope.

The text reveals a picture of a faithful servant (trustworthy, prayerful, observant, thankful, obedient, and committed to the task [not eat, not stay])

When Isaac was waiting to meet the bride that the Lord will provide for him he was “meditating” (Hb. “suach”) in the field. Because this word only occurs here in the Hebrew, it’s meaning in the context is uncertain. The term could mean “thinking;” it could carry the idea of “walking around;” it could mean, “praying;” or it could mean, “grieving.” [1]John Peter Lange et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Genesis (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 487. Lange notes the similarity this word and שִׂיחַ (“siach”) which is similarly translated and can also carry the idea of sorrow along with the note in vs. 67 of Isaac being comforted in the loss of his mother that this word here should be rendered as “grieving.” Given that we know Isaac did pray for his wife (Gen. 25:21), a combination of praying through his grief as well as hopeful anticipation seems to best capture the moment. It also explains the reference to him “lifting up his eyes to see her.”

24:1 – The Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. No doubt that blessing caused him to consider how the Lord would continue his Covenant through Isaac.

24:1 – Abraham was old.

24:2 – Abraham calls his “eldest” (likely most trusted) servant and commissions him with the task of securing a wife for Isaac. The oath (see Jacob hold Joseph to an oath with a similar ritual in Gen. 47:29) is secured by the placing of the servant’s hand on Abraham’s thigh and making a vow. The word can mean “thigh” (Ex. 32:27; Judg. 3:21), or it can mean “loins” (Ex. 1:5; Judg. 8:30).

24:3-4 – It is noteworthy that Abraham does not want a bride for his son from among the people who currently occupy the land. He sends his servant to the land of his family.

24:7 – Abraham is confident that the Lord will direct the servant to the woman whom the Lord has for Isaac. The Lord will send his “angel” to guide him.

24:14 – The servant’s specific request to reveal the Lord’s will was honored by the Lord.

24:16 – The attributes of Rebekah as beautiful and a virgin as well as hard working stand   out in the text.

24:27 – The servant’s genuine delight in the Lord’s provision for Abraham suggests the relationship he had with his “master.”

24:35-49 – The servant describes his journey in detail for Bethuel, Laban, and Rebekah’s “household (24:29). The fact that Laban seems to take a significant role in the exchange (Cf. 24:59 – “their sister” and not “his daughter”) foreshadows the later events with Jacob and Laban’s daughters.

24:63-64 – The narrator masterfully notes the moment with Isaac and Rebekah’s eyes meet for the first time. The same phrase describes Isaac (24:63) and Rebekah (24:64) “lifting their eyes” to see the other.

24:67 – Isaac took her; loved her; and was comforted because of the loss of his mother

  1. Let the structure of the text drive the sermon

Exp. This passage reminds us that God values the family and we should, too. God provides a spouse, directs our paths, and honors faithful prayer.



Category: Sermon Structure
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