Eliezer’s Mission

For three years Sarah’s tent remained vacant. Gloom and loneliness prevailed where light and life had been pulsing before, as long as Sarah had lived.

Abraham was eager to have Isaac marry a woman of the character and stature of Sarah. Isaac himself was completely immersed in the study and in the service of G‑d. It was obvious to Abraham that he could not find a suitable girl for his son among the Canaanite neighbors. Their upbringing and way of life were too different from Abraham’s and Isaac’s, and none of them could ever become his son’s companion for life, and the true heiress of Sarah.

Abraham, therefore, decided to look for a daughter-in-law among the children of his brother Nahor. He called his trusted servant Eliezer, who had been in charge of Abraham’s household affairs ever since he had left Nimrod’s court. Abraham made Eliezer promise on oath that he would go to Nahor in Mesopotamia to find a wife for Isaac.

Taking ten camels, laden with the best of his master’s treasures, Eliezer left for Mesopotamia on his sacred mission.

Eliezer’s Prayer

Eliezer arrived safely and stopped his camels near a well outside the city. It was evening, the time when the women of the city came to draw water, and Eliezer prayed: “O Lord, the God 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.”

Rebecca at the Well

Hardly had Eliezer concluded his prayer, when he saw Rebecca, the daughter of Abraham’s nephew Bethuel, approaching. She was beautiful, and Eliezer was impressed by her gracious behavior. She carried a pitcher on her shoulder, stepped down to the well, and filled it. When she came up again, Eliezer asked to be permitted to drink from her pitcher. Rebecca answered, “Drink my master.” When he had quenched his thirst, she said: “For your camels I will also draw water until they have had enough.” With these words she emptied her pitcher into the trough, and filled it time and again until all the camels were satisfied. Eliezer felt sure that this was the girl he was looking for. Without even asking her name, he gave her a golden ring and two bracelets, and only then asked her who she was. When Rebecca answered that she was the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, Eliezer bowed before G‑d and thanked Him for having helped him find the woman Abraham was looking for to be Isaac’s wife.

Rebecca hurried home to tell her people about her meeting with Eliezer. Her brother Laban ran out to the well to welcome Eliezer into the house. Soon Abraham’s servant told Bethuel and his family about his mission and how G‑d had miraculously helped him to find Rebecca, their daughter, to be the worthy wife of his master’s son Isaac. Laban and Bethuel replied that since G‑d Himself favored this match, they would not hinder it, and that he could take Rebecca with him to his master’s son Isaac.

Rebecca and Isaac Marry

The next morning when Eliezer asked permission to leave for home with the girl, her people were reluctant to let her go immediately. They suggested that she stay for at least another year to prepare for her wedding. Finally, however, the choice was left to Rebecca, and she eagerly gave her consent to leave immediately. Rebecca had never relished her surroundings and environment and was happy to become a member of the house of Abraham, whose fame was world-wide.

Isaac had gone out in the fields to pray one evening, when Eliezer’s caravan returned. Eliezer related his adventures, and Abraham and Isaac were very thankful to G‑d. Isaac’s marriage to Rebecca was celebrated without delay, and Rebecca occupied the tent that had once belonged to Sarah. Once again Abraham’s house was filled with happiness, for Rebecca proved to be a worthy successor to Sarah.