The Marriage of Isaac
Read: Genesis 24.1-67
And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself.
Genesis 24.64-65 (NRSV)
Genesis Chapter 24 marks the transition from stories about Abraham to stories about Isaac. Abraham’s final task is to secure a wife for his son so that the covenant promises made by the Lord can continue to the next generation. Abraham does not want a Canaanite woman for his son; his trusted, senior servant (Eliezar, Genesis 15.2) must return to Haran and bring back a wife.
The journey of Abraham’s servant is a journey without incident but full of revealing details. For example, we see the effect of Abraham’s faith on Eliezar. When he arrives in Haran, he has no idea how to fulfill his master’s command. At the well in the city of Nahor, he prays to the God of Abraham (Genesis 24.12) for a girl to come and give him a drink and water his camels. Rebekah appears and offers to do just that. And Rebekah is the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Abraham’s brother, Nahor (22.20-22), so she is of the Abraham’s kindred, as he requested. Rebekah’s family (Bethuel, his wife and Laban, his son, negotiate with Eliezar and when they hear how the Lord responded to Eliezar’s prayer, they agree there is nothing more to say; they believe this is the work of the Lord (24.50). Eliezer bows to the ground before the Lord (24.52), perhaps to give thanks. Rebekah was willing to forgo any waiting period and return immediately with Abraham’s servant. They depart and when they arrive at the camp in the Negeb, Isaac is walking in the field. When Rebecca asks who he is, Eliezar calls Isaac his “master,” a term he has used throughout this chapter (15 times!) to refer to Abraham. This signals that Abraham is near death (25.8) and Isaac is now the head of the family. And when Rebekah veils herself and Isaac takes her into Sarah’s tent, she becomes his wife and the new matriarch of the family. Though this marriage was certainly arranged,” the story ends with Isaac loving Rebekah and Rebekah comforting her husband, still grieving the loss of his mother. And throughout this story we see the God of Abraham present in the prayers and faith of Abraham’s servant and the acknowledgments of Abraham’s family
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence