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Isaac & Rebecca

Isaac & Rebecca

Genesis 24:1-67

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And Abraham was old, advanced in days, and G-d had blessed Abraham with everything.

And Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that was his: "Please place your hand under my thigh. And I will adjure you by G-d, the G-d of the heaven and the G-d of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose midst I dwell.. But you shall go to my land and to my birthplace, and you shall take a wife for my son, for Isaac."

And the servant said to him: "Perhaps the woman will not wish to go after me to this land. Shall I return your son to the land from which you came?"

And Abraham said to him: "Beware, lest you return my son back there. G-d, G-d of the heavens, Who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and Who spoke about me, and Who swore to me, saying, 'To your seed will I give this land' -- He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. And if the woman will not wish to go after you, you will be absolved of this, my oath; only do not return my son back there." And the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and he swore to him concerning this matter.

And the servant took ten camels of his master's camels, and he went, and all the best of his master was in his hand; and he arose, and he went to Aram Naharaim, to the city of Nahor.

And he made the camels kneel outside the city beside the well of water, at eventide, at the time the maidens go out to draw water.

And he said: "O Lord, the G-d of my master Abraham, please cause to happen to me today, and perform loving kindness with my master, Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the water fountain, and the daughters of the people of the city are coming out to draw water. And it will be, [that] the maiden to whom I will say, 'Lower your pitcher and I will drink,' and she will say, 'Drink, and I will also water your camels,' her have You designated for Your servant, for Isaac, and through her may I know that You have performed loving kindness with my master."

Now he had not yet finished speaking, and behold, Rebecca came out, who had been born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, and her pitcher was on her shoulder.

Now the maiden was of very comely appearance, a virgin, and no man had been intimate with her, and she went down to the fountain, and she filled her pitcher and went up.

And the servant ran toward her, and he said: "Please let me sip a little water from your pitcher."

And she said: "Drink, my lord." And she hastened and lowered her pitcher to her hand, and she gave him to drink.

And she finished giving him to drink, and she said, "I will also draw for your camels, until they will have finished drinking." And she hastened, and she emptied her pitcher into the trough, and she ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels. And the man was astonished at her, standing silent, [waiting] to know whether G-d had caused his way to prosper or not.

Now it came about, when the camels had finished drinking, [that] the man took a golden nose ring, weighing half [a shekel], and two bracelets for her hands, weighing ten gold [shekels]. And he said: "Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there place for us for lodging in your father's house?"

And she said to him: "I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor." And she said to him: "Both straw and fodder are plentiful with us; [there is] also a place to lodge." And the man kneeled and prostrated himself to G-d.

And he said, "Blessed is G-d, the G-d of my master, Abraham, Who has not forsaken His loving kindness and His truth from my master. As for me, G-d led me on the road to the house of my master's kinsmen."

And the maiden ran, and she told her mother's house what had happened.

Now Rebecca had a brother whose name was Laban, and Laban ran to the man outside, to the fountain. And it came to pass, when he saw the nose ring and the bracelets on his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of his sister Rebecca, saying, "So did the man speak to me, " that he came to the man, and behold, he was standing over the camels at the fountain.

And he said, "Come, you who are blessed of G-d. Why should you stand outside, when I have cleared the house, and a place for the camels?"

So the man came to the house and unmuzzled the camels, and he gave straw and fodder to the camels and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. And [food] was set before him to eat, but he said: "I will not eat until I have spoken my words." And he said: "Speak."

And he said, "I am Abraham's servant. And G-d blessed my master exceedingly, and he became great, and He gave him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, man servants and maid servants, camels and donkeys. And Sarah, my master's wife, bore a son to my master after she had become old, and he gave him all that he possesses. And my master adjured me, saying, 'You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell. Instead, you must go to my father's house and to my family, and take a wife for my son.'

"And I said to my master, 'Perhaps the woman will not follow me?' And he said to me, 'G-d, before Whom I walked, will send His angel with you and make your way prosper, and you shall take a wife for my son from my family and from my father's house. You will then be absolved from my oath, when you come to my family, and if they do not give [her] to you, you will be absolved from my oath.'

"So I came today to the fountain, and I said, 'O Lord, G-d of my master Abraham, if You desire to prosper my way upon which I am going. Behold, I am standing by the water fountain. When a maiden comes out to draw [water], I will say to her, 'Please, give me a little water to drink from your pitcher.' And [if] she will say to me, 'You too may drink, and I will also draw water for your camels,' she is the woman whom G-d has designated for my master's son.'

"I had not yet finished speaking thus in my heart, and behold, Rebecca came out with her pitcher on her shoulder, and she went down to the fountain and drew water, and I said to her, 'Please give me to drink.'

"And she hastened and lowered her pitcher from upon her, and she said, 'Drink, and I will also water your camels.' So I drank, and she also watered the camels.

"And I asked her, and I said, 'Whose daughter are you?' And she replied, 'The daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to him.' And I placed the nose ring on her nose and the bracelets on her hands. And I kneeled and prostrated myself to G-d, and I blessed G-d, the G-d of my master Abraham, Who led me on the true path, to take the daughter of my master's brother for his son.

"And now, if you will do loving kindness and truth with my master, tell me, and if not, tell me, and I will turn to the right or to the left."

And Laban and Bethuel answered and said: "The matter has emanated from G-d. We cannot speak to you either bad or good. Behold Rebecca is before you, take [her] and go, and let her be a wife for your master's son, as G-d has spoken." Now it came to pass when Abraham's servant heard their words, that he prostrated himself on the ground to G-d.

And the servant took out silver articles and golden articles and garments, and he gave [them] to Rebecca, and he gave delicacies to her brother and to her mother. And they ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and they lodged, and they arose in the morning, and he said: "Send me away to my master."

And her brother and her mother said: "Let the maiden stay with us a year or ten [months]; afterwards she will go." But he said to them: "Do not delay me, since G-d has made my way prosper. Send me away, and I will go to my master."

And they said: "Let us call the maiden and ask her."

And they summoned Rebecca, and they said to her: "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go."

So they sent away Rebecca their sister and her nurse and Abraham's servant and his men. And they blessed Rebecca and said to her, "Our sister, may you become thousands of myriads, and may your seed inherit the cities of their enemies."

And Rebecca and her maidens arose and rode on the camels, and they followed the man; and the servant took Rebecca and left.

Now Isaac was on his way, coming from Be'er Lachai Ro'i, and he dwelt in the land of the south. And Isaac went forth to pray in the field towards evening, and he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, camels were approaching.

And Rebecca lifted her eyes, and saw Isaac, and she dropped down from the camel.

And she said to the servant: "Who is that man walking in the field towards us?" And the servant said: "He is my master." And she took the veil and covered herself.

And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.

And Isaac brought her to the tent of Sarah his mother, and he took Rebecca, and she became his wife, and he loved her. And Isaac was comforted for [the loss of] his mother.

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Discussion (6)
February 11, 2013
3??
To Menachem Posner~is it my understanding that you (Rashi) is saying that Rebecca was 3 at the time that she was getting the water for the camels & Abraham's servant? That doesn't make sense if that is what Rashi is saying.......
Anonymous
December 10, 2012
Watering the camels
What ever the age of Rebecca, she had to be a very strong lady. To draw water for ten thirsty camels was no minor chore. I doubt that a child of three could accomplish this.
The Chuckster
USA
November 22, 2012
To Hal Tait
We read in Genesis 25:20 that Isaac was 40 years old when he married. However, there are differing traditions about how old Rebecca was (her age at the time of the marriage is not recorded in Scripture). The most famous tradition, cited by Rashi, is that she was 3 at the time, and they waited for 10 years before trying to have children. Another tradition (see Tosafot, Yevamot 61b) is that she was 14 at the time of their marriage.
Menachem Posner for Chabad.org
Montreal
November 21, 2012
Age of Isaac and Rebecca or age differences between the two when wed?
I love this about Rebecca, truly a woman after my heart as far as trust / faith and willing to leave her family to go see her future husband. Would like to know the age differences between Isaac and Rebecca when they wed. Was told by a rabbi that the age difference was 32 years. Anyone know that for sure?
Hal Tait
Manassas
July 5, 2012
The camels
I heard this passage read on a Catholic radio station and I was very taken with Rebecca's kindness to the men AND the camels. If we are not kind to ALL creatures. - even the repulsive ones - then how can we call ourselves Children of G-d?
Rosemary
Elberon, NJ
February 16, 2011
This is a really qood chapter of the bilble n i luv it*)
Anonymous
yuma, arizona