The Wife for Isaac
1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years,1 and the Lord had blessed him2 in everything. 2 Abraham said to his servant, the senior one3 in his household who was in charge of everything he had, “Put your hand under my thigh4 3 so that I may make you solemnly promise5 by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth: You must not acquire6 a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living. 4 You must go instead to my country and to my relatives7 to find8 a wife for my son Isaac.”
5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is not willing to come back with me9 to this land? Must I then10 take your son back to the land from which you came?”
6 “Be careful11 never to take my son back there!” Abraham told him.12 7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and the land of my relatives,13 promised me with a solemn oath,14 ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ He will send his angel15 before you so that you may find16 a wife for my son from there. 8 But if the woman is not willing to come back with you,17 you will be free18 from this oath of mine. But you must not take my son back there!” 9 So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and gave his solemn promise he would carry out his wishes.19
10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed with all kinds of gifts from his master at his disposal.20 He journeyed21 to the region of Aram Naharaim22 and the city of Nahor. 11 He made the camels kneel down by the well23 outside the city. It was evening,24 the time when the women would go out to draw water. 12 He prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, guide me today.25 Be faithful26 to my master Abraham. 13 Here I am, standing by the spring,27 and the daughters of the people28 who live in the town are coming out to draw water. 14 I will say to a young woman, ‘Please lower your jar so I may drink.’ May the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac reply, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’29 In this way I will know that you have been faithful to my master.”30
15 Before he had finished praying, there came Rebekah31 with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah (Milcah was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor).32 16 Now the young woman was very beautiful. She was a virgin; no man had ever had sexual relations with her.33 She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came back up. 17 Abraham’s servant34 ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a sip of water from your jug.” 18 “Drink, my lord,” she replied, and quickly lowering35 her jug to her hands, she gave him a drink. 19 When she had done so,36 she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have drunk as much as they want.” 20 She quickly emptied37 her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw more water until she had drawn enough for all his camels. 21 Silently the man watched her with interest to determine38 if the Lord had made his journey successful39 or not.
22 After the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka40 and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels41 and gave them to her.42 23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked.43 “Tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”
24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom Milcah bore to Nahor.44 25 We have plenty of straw and feed,” she added,45 “and room for you46 to spend the night.”
26 The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord, 27 saying “Praised be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his faithful love47 for my master! The Lord has led me48 to the house49 of my master’s relatives!”50
28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household all about51 these things. 29 (Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban.)52 Laban rushed out to meet the man at the spring. 30 When he saw the bracelets on his sister’s wrists and the nose ring53 and heard his sister Rebekah say,54 “This is what the man said to me,” he went out to meet the man. There he was, standing55 by the camels near the spring. 31 Laban said to him,56 “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord!57 Why are you standing out here when I have prepared58 the house and a place for the camels?”
32 So Abraham’s servant59 went to the house and unloaded60 the camels. Straw and feed were given61 to the camels, and water was provided so that he and the men who were with him could wash their feet.62 33 When food was served,63 he said, “I will not eat until I have said what I want to say.”64 “Tell us,” Laban said.65
34 “I am the servant of Abraham,” he began. 35 “The Lord has richly blessed my master and he has become very wealthy.66 The Lord67 has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36 My master’s wife Sarah bore a son to him68 when she was old,69 and my master70 has given him everything he owns. 37 My master made me swear an oath. He said, ‘You must not acquire a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 38 but you must go to the family of my father and to my relatives to find71 a wife for my son.’ 39 But I said to my master, ‘What if the woman does not want to go72 with me?’73 40 He answered, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked,74 will send his angel with you. He will make your journey a success and you will find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. 41 You will be free from your oath75 if you go to my relatives and they will not give her to you. Then you will be free from your oath.’ 42 When I came to the spring today, I prayed, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you have decided to make my journey successful,76 may events unfold as follows:77 43 Here I am, standing by the spring.78 When79 the young woman goes out to draw water, I’ll say, “Give me a little water to drink from your jug.” 44 Then she will reply to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too.” May that woman be the one whom the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’
45 “Before I finished praying in my heart,80 along came Rebekah81 with her water jug on her shoulder! She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ So I drank, and she also gave the camels water. 47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘The daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to Nahor.’82 I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 48 Then I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right path to find the granddaughter83 of my master’s brother for his son. 49 Now, if you will show faithful love to my master, tell me. But if not, tell me as well, so that I may go on my way.”84
50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “This is the Lord’s doing.85 Our wishes are of no concern.86 51 Rebekah stands here before you. Take her and go so that she may become87 the wife of your master’s son, just as the Lord has decided.”88
52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then he89 brought out gold, silver jewelry, and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave valuable gifts to her brother and to her mother. 54 After this, he and the men who were with him ate a meal and stayed there overnight.90
When they got up in the morning, he said, “Let me leave now so I can return to my master.”91 55 But Rebekah’s92 brother and her mother replied, “Let the girl stay with us a few more days, perhaps ten. Then she can go.” 56 But he said to them, “Don’t detain me – the Lord93 has granted me success on my journey. Let me leave now so I may return94 to my master.” 57 Then they said, “We’ll call the girl and find out what she wants to do.”95 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Do you want96 to go with this man?” She replied, “I want to go.”
59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, accompanied by her female attendant, with Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 They blessed Rebekah with these words:97
“Our sister, may you become the mother98 of thousands of ten thousands! May your descendants possess the strongholds99 of their enemies.”
61 Then Rebekah and her female servants mounted the camels and rode away with100 the man. So Abraham’s servant101 took Rebekah and left.
62 Now102 Isaac came from103 Beer Lahai Roi,104 for105 he was living in the Negev.106 63 He107 went out to relax108 in the field in the early evening.109 Then he looked up110 and saw that111 there were camels approaching. 64 Rebekah looked up112 and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked113 Abraham’s servant,114 “Who is that man walking in the field toward us?” “That is my master,” the servant replied.115 So she took her veil and covered herself.
66 The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 67 Then Isaac brought Rebekah116 into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took her117 as his wife and loved her.118 So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.119