Genesis Segment 17 (24:1-67)

Originally Published 6/11/2002

Genesis 24:1 “And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.”

Abraham had accumulated much wealth and was highly respected. He had led a blessed life. He believed God and God credited him with righteousness. God also blessed him for it. Abraham lived a long and full life. He knew his life was nearing its end and he wanted Isaac to have a wife from his own stock, which was Hebrew. Abraham did not want Isaac to intermarry with the Canaanites. Ishmael had done that. So Abraham sent to the city of Nahor near Haran for a wife for Isaac. Haran is where he had lived with his father Terah and brothers Haran and Nahor. It was in pagan territory and Abraham and his descendants would not go back into that land (See Gen 12:1-2).

God preserved the racial purity of the Israelites because Christ was to come from them. That does not mean that Israel was any better that any other race, it simply means that God, in His sovereignty, chose Israel to be His people (Exo 33:19; Rom 9:15-16). It was Israel through which he would send the Messiah to the world (John 3:16). A sacrifice had to be pure in its pedigree and without blemish; a mixed breed could not be used as a sacrifice. Jesus had to be of pure heritage in order to qualify as a sacrifice. That is why God kept the purity of the line of Christ throughout the ages all the way back to Noah and through Seth to Adam.

Genesis 24:2 “And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:”

The servant was Eliezer of Damascus. We know that from Gen 15:2. Eliezer is the steward of the house of Abraham. Abraham could have designated Eliezer to be his heir. A steward of the whole house has control of even his master’s money. Eliezer and Abraham would have been very close. Eliezer means “God is his helper.” Lazarus is the Greek equivalent of Eliezer. Lazarus was a helper of Jesus, Who stayed often at his house in Bethany.

Of course this was Abraham’s most trusted servant. The placing of the hand under the thigh was a way of swearing an oath, much like raising your right hand to be sworn in court. There is no ancient verification of this method, but the method was in use in the early church and was still in use in John Calvin’s day. Here is what John Calvin wrote about it:

“Put, I pray thee, thy hand.” It is sufficiently obvious that this was a solemn form of swearing; but whether Abraham had first introduced it, or whether he had received it from his fathers, is unknown. The greater part of Jewish writers declare that Abraham was the author of it; because, in their opinion, this ceremony is of the same force as if his servant had sworn by the sanctity of the divine covenant, since circumcision was in that part of his person. But Christian writers conceive that the hand was placed under the thigh in honour of the blessed seed. Yet it may be that these earliest fathers had something different in view; and there are those among the Jews who assert that it was a token of subjection, when the servant was sworn on the thigh of his master. The more plausible opinion is, that the ancients in this manner swore by Christ; but because I do not willingly follow uncertain conjectures, I leave the question undecided. Nevertheless the latter supposition appears to me the more simple; namely, that servants, when they swore fidelity to their lords, were accustomed to testify their subjection by this ceremony, especially since they say that this practice is still observed in certain parts of the East.

Commentary on Genesis Vol. 2
John Calvin

Genesis 24:3-4 “And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: {4} But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.”

In addition to the placing of Eliezer’s hand under Abraham’s thigh, the oath was taken unto God. It was certain then, or at least as certain as it could have been given the fallibility of men, that Eliezer would do as Abraham had asked.

Genesis 24:5 “And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?”

What if she won’t come with me? It was a legitimate and pertinent question to ask and Abraham took no offense at it.

Genesis 24:6-8 “And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. {7} The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. {8} And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.”

Abraham took time to explain that God had called him out of the land of his youth and that he and his heir were never to go back to the old pagan, idolatrous land. Abraham told Eliezer that the Angel of the LORD would accompany him. Abraham believed God’s promise that his seed would be innumerable and that Isaac was his only heir. So he knew that the servant would come back with a wife for Isaac because it was God’s will. But to comfort and assure Eliezer, Abraham told him he would be released form the oath if a wife for Isaac did not come back willingly.

Let us develop the theme that Isaac was not to be taken back to the land of Haran and Nahor for any reason, not even the important one of securing a wife of his own people. First the LORD made the firm statement “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee:” (Gen 12:1). Terah, Abraham, Lot, and Sarah left Ur of the Chaldees, but only Abraham, Lot, and Sarah and their entourage had gone on into Canaan; Terah and Abraham’s other relatives had remained behind. Chaldea was in Sumeria, the same area as the more modern Babylonia. After Babylonian society had developed, the Chaldeans gradually moved in and took control of the Babylonians. Ur was a pagan, idolatrous, and important city of the Chaldeans and Babylonians. The Sumerians, Chaldeans, and Babylonians worshipped the fertility goddess Semiramis, the Queen of Heaven. She was later known by such names as Isis, Ashtoreth, Aphrodite, and Venus among others. Fertility worship included fertility rites, which included fornication as a part of the religious ceremony. Ur was a center of such worship. God demands sexual purity of His people. He will not condone the fertility rights of the Sumerians. Such fertility rites would be of great temptation to a young, virile male. The temptation may have been too much for young Isaac and he might have fallen into the worship practices of the Sumerians had he gone to find a wife. It was best that Isaac remain in the land of Abraham until a wife could be found for him among Abraham’s relatives. This would keep him from the temptation to get involved in those pagan activities.

Genesis 24:9-10 “And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter. {10} And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.”

Eliezer swore and Abraham trusted him. Mesopotamia means “between the rivers”, but it is a word the translators used to render the word Aram Naharayim. Aram means “the highland” and Naharayim is the plural of nahar meaning “river”. So we have the “highland between the rivers”, which are the Tigris and Euphrates. It is the same thing as Mesopotamia in a different language. A more modern title for the same area is “trans-Euphrates” also meaning between the rivers. The English shows a similarity between nahar and Nahor. But the Hebrew is quite different. The Hebrew for Nahor is nachowr. The two have entirely different meanings. Nahar means river, and Nahor means to snort.

Mesopotamia, or Aram Naharayim or the trans-Euphrates, is the land where Sumeria and Babylon were located. Nahor is in the land between the rivers. This is where Eliezer went. It is the same place to which Abraham did not want Isaac to go. The journey was one of about 350 miles. It would take about two to three weeks to complete such a journey.

Genesis 24:11 “And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.”

Now it was evening and Eliezer secured his livestock and prepared to pray. Eliezer was using his wits. He knew the custom of the women to come at a certain time and draw water; after all he was part of that family. He knew that women would come out and that damsels would come with the married women. Therefore, by stopping at the well, he made himself an opportunity to observe the maidens and perhaps discern which one the LORD would choose for Isaac.

Genesis 24:12-14 “And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham. {13} Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: {14} And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master.”

A couple of observations: Eliezer was a believer in Yehovah. He made intercessory prayer for his master. He had confidence that God would answer his prayer. Eliezer asked God to have the chosen woman offer to water the animals without being asked. Eliezer would ask for a drink of water for himself, but would remain silent about his animals. If the woman offered to water the animals in addition to providing a drink for Eliezer, he would have his answer: she was the one. God answered his prayer exactly as he asked. Did he put God to the test? No. He was simply asking for a way to know which young woman was the one. It is similar to the fleece of Gideon (Jdg 6:37-40). God honored Gideon’s request and He honored Eliezer’s request.

Genesis 24:15-16 “And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. {16} And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.”

This was Nahor’s granddaughter and Abraham’s great niece. She was a virgin and attractive as well. The literal translation is that Rebekah was “vehemently beautiful.” Of course if she had not been a virgin, she would have been an outcast, never having been married. Being a virgin assured the purity of the seed line of Abraham. There could be no mistake that her children were also Isaac’s children. She went to the well, fulfilling the first part of Eliezer’s request.

There is some uncertainty about the meaning of the word Rebekah (ribqah in the Hebrew). If you look in several different lexicons, you will get several different meanings. Dr. Strong says it is from an unused root and means “to clog [restrain] by tying up the fetlock” (fettering), which simply means to tether a horse with a snare to its leg so it cannot move, or to ensnare the horse. Hence some say Rebekah means “ensnarer”. Rebekah would ensnare someone by her beauty. She was so physically attractive as to stop a man in his tracks, thus ensnaring him. Perhaps that is why Young says her name means flattering. Others say it means “noose,” which is a synonym of snare. The Holman Dictionary says Rebekah means “cow” but they do not say how they arrived at that conclusion. Some say her name means “fattened.” The majority relate her name to ensnaring or fettering or some other form of restraint.

Genesis 24:17-20 “And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. {18} And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. {19} And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. {20} And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.”

She fulfilled Eliezer’s prayer request completely! This was the proof that she was the chosen for Isaac.

Genesis 24:21 “And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.”

He waited until she had finished the job of watering the animals before he spoke. He wondered if his trip was a success or not.

Genesis 24:22-28 “And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; {23} And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in? {24} And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor. {25} She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. {26} And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. {27} And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren. {28} And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things.

Eliezer understood that he himself had not been the reason for his arrival at Nahor’s house; he knew that God had guided him there. We are not told how Eliezer knew the way. Perhaps he followed the instructions of Abraham or perhaps he inquired for directions along the way. Whichever it was, there were many decisions to be made along the way in order to know which way to go and Eliezer gave God the credit for his journey, which included those decisions. He took none of the credit but knew that Yehovah had gotten him there. Notice that he thanked God for His provision.

Genesis 24:29 “And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.”

This is the first mention of Laban in the Bible. Laban is the son of Bethuel, Nahor’s grandson, and Abraham’s great nephew and became the father of Leah and Rachel. Laban means white. Rebekah was excited because of the visit and Laban was too as witnessed by his haste. Perhaps Laban was salivating over the presents Eliezer had given Rebekah. After all he was a gold-digger as we know from his conning of Jacob.

Genesis 24:30 “And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.”

This explains Laban’s haste. It was the valuables that excited Laban. He wanted to meet the man who had brought the valuables as a gift. But he also wanted to get tidings about his Uncle Abraham and news.

Genesis 24:31-33 “And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. {32} And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. {33} And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.”

Hospitality was the byword in those days. In fact it is only recently that hospitality has been lost. In our mobile society we are likely to not know even our closest neighbors. But then when a guest came to your house, even though he was a stranger, you were a good host. It was expected. It was the moral choice. If you were not a good host it might forebode evil for you. Abraham’s servant, though happy for the kindness, needed to give his reason for the trip first. Eliezer then told a long story:

Genesis 24:34-48 “And he said, I am Abraham’s servant. {35} And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. {36} And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath. {37} And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: {38} But thou shalt go unto my father’s house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son. {39} And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. {40} And he said unto me, The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father’s house: {41} Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath. {42} And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: {43} Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; {44} And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master’s son. {45} And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. {46} And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. {47} And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. {48} And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son.”

Now Laban was up to date and knew that his sister Rebekah was wanted for a wife for Abraham’s son, who was Laban’s cousin. I am sure there was much happiness that Rebekah would be married to a good husband who was a member of the family. Of course the happiness would have been mixed with some sadness that Rebekah would leave home and not be seen again for a very long time, perhaps forever. The distance between Abraham and Laban was great for it was about 350 miles from Haran to Shechem.

Genesis 24:49 “And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.”

Speaking to the men in the family (ye is plural), Eliezer wanted them to tell him if they were going to allow him to complete his mission and take Rebekah back with him. Imagine a man from a far away place coming to your house and asking you to allow your daughter to accompany him back to his master so she can marry his master’s son! Even if it were your uncle’s servant, you would be hesitant to allow your daughter to go with him.

Things were different then. Daughters would become a burden to the father if they did not get married. Women had no rights; outside the reach of their fathers or husbands, women could do nothing. They could not get a job and work so they could not support themselves. The story of Ruth and Naomi is a case in point. Had it not been for Baoz, Ruth and Naomi would have been destitute. It is natural to assume that they already knew the servant of Abraham and would therefore trust him.

Genesis 24:50-51 “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. {51} Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken.”

Laban sensed that it truly was the will of God that Rebekah marry Isaac. In the light of history we know it was the correct move because Rebekah became a matriarch of the Israelites. But Laban and Bethuel took it on faith that it was the right thing to do.

Genesis 24:52 “And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth.”

Always thank God when He answers a prayer, even if the answer is no. Eliezer was duly grateful to God for allowing him to comply with his oath made to his master.

Genesis 24:53-55 “And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. {54} And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master. {55} And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.”

After imparting the gifts and spending the night, Eliezer was ready to go in the morning. But Laban and his mother wished them to stay. That is understandable because of the love between family members. They were happy for her and yet sad at her leaving.

The interesting thing here is that this was Bethuel’s house and he was still alive. Laban and Bethuel’s wife should not have been responsible for this decision, Bethuel should have. Remember that it was Laban that ran out to meet Eliezer. Should not Bethuel have been involved here? Yes, he was the patriarch of the house and it was his responsibility. He should have received the dowry and he should have made the decision. But Laban was 100% involved in the process. Was Bethuel ill or demented or otherwise disabled? We know that he was present from verse 50. It is possible that he was disabled in some way, but unlikely. The scripture is silent here.

It is possible that Moses, when writing this story down, decided (under inspiration of course) to make Laban the central character here because of Jacob’s future dealing with Laban. Laban, the firstborn of Bethuel, would have had quite a bit of leeway in making decisions in his father’s house. And Laban became the patriarch by the time Jacob was of marrying age. In fact, Laban had two daughters by that time and there is no evidence of him being married or having children at this point. Yes, it was Bethuel’s house, and he played a part in the major decision (v. 50). But the story focuses on Laban here because of his future role.

Let us take a spiritual, typological, or an allegorical look at this scripture. This is a picture of the Christ and His church. Abraham is a picture of the Father, Isaac the Son, and Eliezer the Holy Spirit. The Father (Abraham) sends the Spirit (Eliezer) to prepare a bride for his Son (Isaac) (cf. Gal 5:22-23). The Son stays in heaven with the Father. The Spirit brings glory to the Son by representing the Father in the Son’s interest. Eliezer, the picture of the Spirit, goes to the world (the house of Bethuel) seeking a bride (Rebekah) for the Son. The Bride accepts the offer of the Spirit and goes away with him leaving her father, her mother, and her brother behind in order for her to marry the Son (Mat 10:37; 19:29; Luke 14:26). God the Father sent the Comforter while His Son, Jesus was in Heaven with him (John 14:26). The Spirit is Who calls men to Christ (John 15:26). We, having never seen the Christ believe in Him and follow the Holy Spirit leaving our families behind (John 20:29). We sojourn in the earth with the Spirit as our guide (Rom 8:4), just like Rebekah journeyed with Eleizer to Mamre. We will eventually meet the Christ and become married to Him (2 Cor 11:2) just as Rebekah met Isaac.

Here are some parallel scriptures in the New Testament:

Matthew 10:34-37 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. {35} For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. {36} And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. {37} He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Luke 14:26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Matthew 19:29 “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
Luke 9:59-62 “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. {60} Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. {61} And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. {62} And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

These passages present the exact message that this story here does. Rebekah was to leave father, mother, brother and family to go with Eliezer to be with the Son (Isaac), just as Jesus asks us to do the same thing. Rebekah did.

The last passage is apropos to Genesis 24:55. The family wanted Rebekah (the believer) to tarry with them for ten days. This last passage talks of two who were called to follow the Lord, but both had something else to do first. Oh, they would follow Him, but only after completing their own personal ambitions. Rebekah did the right thing. She followed. We are to do the same thing. Once we are presented with the gospel, we are to accept it and not put it off until later. We may not have later; our lives may be forfeit the next day. We must follow Jesus, putting Him first in our lives, forsaking all others.

Genesis 24:56 “And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.”

Do not try to quench the Spirit. He has important business to accomplish for the Father and the Son. Do not try to prevent people from coming to Christ. This includes little children. Never make the mistake of thinking a child cannot understand the Gospel. Children will fool you. Their understanding is usually greater than we think. And, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, their understanding can be superb.

Genesis 24:57-58 “And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. {58} And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.”

Rebekah knew this was the LORD’s bidding and knew that she should accept this as the right thing to do. Through the inspiration of the Spirit of God, she knew this was right.

Genesis 24:59-61 “And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men. {60} And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. {61} And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.”

Rebekah took her entourage with her and went. The blessing was prophetic for Rebekah is the mother of “thousands of millions” (billions) and her seed do posses the gate of their enemies. As Christians, we are the children of Abraham (Gal 3:7) and therefore of the seed of Rebekah. Through Christ we possess the gate of our enemy, Satan.

Genesis 24:62-63 “And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. {63} And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.”

Lahairoi is also known as Beer Lahairoi, or Beerlahairoi in the KJV. Beer simply means well. It is the Well of My Living Seer or the Well of The Living One Who Lives and Sees Me. This is the well where Hagar had her vision of God telling her that her seed would be multiplied exceedingly through her son Ishmael. In the evening Isaac went by that well in the wilderness of Shur on his way into the wilderness to meditate and pray (implied). While praying He saw Eliezer and Rebekah coming. He knew that his bride was with Eliezer; it was obvious, was it not?

Genesis 24:64-66 “And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. {65} For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself. {66} And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.”

The veil, of course, would not be lifted until after the marriage was consummated. Knowing it was her future husband, and after two to three weeks journey, Rebekah was anxious to meet him. After Eliezer spoke to Isaac and reassured Issac that this was indeed his espoused, Isaac married her.

Genesis 24:67 “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

There is no recorded ceremony, but more than likely there was a celebration and convocation to commemorate the event. The important thing to see here is that there was no marriage license, no clerk recorder, and no licensed or ordained minister. The marriage was solemnized and the contract was executed by the consummation of the marriage. Rebekah accompanied Isaac into the mother’s tent (the early equivalent of the chedar, or house where the marriage is consummated). There Isaac “took” her. The word for “took” is laqach, which means to marry her, or specifically, to have marital relations with her. Note that one of the English connotations of the word “take” is also to have sexual relations with a woman. This consummation is the consideration that seals the contract. They were legally bound together and divorce would be the only way they could void the marriage contract.

This is not to say that in our present society we have no need of a marriage license and certificate issued by the clerk of court. God ordains governments (Rom 13:1). We are commanded to obey the authority of the state (Rom 13:2, 5) as along as the state does not prevent us from our duty to God (Acts 4:18-19). Our society has a procedure for marriage that requires us to obtain a marriage license and to have duly qualified individuals to administer the marriage rites and to certify the marriage with a legally binding contract and a certificate proving the contract. Simply living together and having marital relations does not legally bind a couple in the marriage contract. Since God ordained our government and tells us to obey the governing authority, Christians should never simply live together as husband and wife, for that is fornication. They must be married legally in order to be married in God’s eyes.

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