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Genesis Per Day

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by WebersHome, May 8, 2017.

  1. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 21:22-24


    Gen 21:22a . . At that time

    While Hagar and Ishmael were busy re-inventing their lives; a seemingly trivial event occurred in Abraham's life. I don't have any idea why Genesis records this incident. It doesn't seem to mean anything.

    Gen 21:22b . . Abimelech

    It is very possible that Abimelech is a royal title rather than a personal name, sort of like Pharaoh or Caesar, since in the title of Psalm 34 the name Abimelech is applied to the king of Gath, who is elsewhere known by his personal name Achish. (1Sam 27:2-3)

    Gen 21:22c . . and Phicol, chief of his troops,

    Phicol's name sounds funny in Hebrew. It's Piykol (pee-kole') which means: mouth of all. His name, like Abimelech's, could also have been a title; especially since it implies that he was a spokesman. I'm sure you've heard people say: "And I think I speak for all when I say this; yada, yada, yada; etc, etc, etc." Maybe that's what his name "mouth of all" implies. At any rate, he was Abimelech's chief of staff and apparently his right hand man-- a military man, and trusted.

    Gen 21:22d . . said to Abraham: The gods are with you in everything that you do.

    Abimelech knew first hand that Abraham could do no wrong. And even when he did, his god was right there to bail him out. That is an extremely envious position. What if you knew that God would protect you no matter how dumb, stupid, and clumsy you were in life-- that in spite of your bad investments, accidents, poor judgment, bad decisions, worthless friends, failed romances, and overspending, you still came out on top? Well . . that is just how it went for Abraham. He was bullet proof.

    Gen 21:23a . .Therefore swear

    (chuckle) Ol' Abimelech is nobody's fool. He was burned once by Abraham and wasn't about to be suckered again. From now on he will accept Abraham's word only if he gives his oath on it first. You know; trust is an easy thing to lose, and very difficult to regain.

    Gen 21:23b . . to me here by the gods

    The Hebrew word for "gods" is a nondescript label for any number of celestial beings; both real and imagined. But I kind of suspect the one Abimelech referred to was the god who appeared to him in the dream; in other words; Abraham's god: Yhvh.

    Gen 21:23c . . that you will not deal falsely with me or with my kith and kin, but will deal with me and with the land in which you have sojourned as loyally as I have dealt with you.

    It's a non aggression pact. But why would Abimelech go to all the trouble? And why would he, a king, travel to Abraham's camp rather than summon him to appear? Did he fear that Abraham, a man befriended by a supreme being, might become so powerful that he would attempt to conquer Abimelech's kingdom? I think so. Abraham's medicine was strong. He had a connection in the spirit world to a god with the power to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and to strike people with serious maladies. It would be perfectly human for Abraham to take advantage of his supernatural affiliation and use it to advantage.

    With a man like Abraham, Abimelech probably figured a preemptive strike would be out of the question. It is better to strike a treaty while conditions permit. After all, Abraham owed Abimelech one for letting him off after lying to him about Sarah. Good time to call that in.

    Gen 21:24 . . And Abraham said: I swear it.


    NOTE: There are Christians who would soundly condemn Abraham for swearing based upon their understanding of Matt 5:33-37.

    I can almost hear Abimelech and Phicol start breathing again. I think both of those men were more than just a little worried about their safety on Abraham's turf.

    That settled, Abraham has a matter of his own to discuss; and now's a good time for it, seeing as those men were being very humble; at least for the moment.


    NOTE: There are well-meaning folk who feel it's wrong for God's people to be confrontational; and base their reasoning on Matt 5:3, Matt 5:5, Matt 5:9, and Matt 5:39. But other than Isaac, I don't think you could find a more gracious man in the Old Testament than Abraham. He didn't have a hair-trigger temper, a spirit of vengeance, nor did he declare war over every little disagreement.

    Abraham picked his battles with care, and conducted them intelligently-- same with Moses, of whom the Old Testament says: was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth (Num 12:3). Jesus was meek too (Matt 11:29 and Matt 21:5) but could be very confrontational when the circumstances called for a heavy hand. (Matt 23:13 36)

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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  2. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 21:25-34


    Gen 21:25-26 . .Then Abraham reproached Abimelech for the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized. But Abimelech said: I do not know who did this; you did not tell me, nor have I heard of it until today.

    Abraham may have previously reported the incident to a bureaucrat, who then tossed the complaint in a file cabinet somewhere and soon forgot about it because this is the very first time Mr. Abimelech has been made aware of the problem. Sometimes you just have to cut through the red tape and go straight to the top.

    Gen 21:27-29 . . Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a pact. Abraham then set seven ewes of the flock by themselves, and Abimelech said to Abraham: What mean these seven ewes which you have set apart?

    This was not a local custom; whatever it is, because Abimelech is totally puzzled by it.

    Gen 21:30 . . He replied: You are to accept these seven ewes from me as proof that I dug this well.

    A reasonable assumption is that Abraham-- thoroughly disgusted with Gerar's bureaucracy, and having no confidence in Abimelech's oath --shrewdly purchased a water right so the government's thugs would have to step off and leave him be.

    Gen 21:31-32 . . Hence that place was called Beer-sheba [well of seven], for there the two of them swore an oath. When they had concluded the pact at Beer-sheba, Abimelech and Phicol, chief of his troops, departed and returned to the land of the Philistines.

    Abraham swore to live peaceably with Abimelech. And he in turn swore to let Abraham keep the well that he dug. Did Abimelech swear by a god or just give his word? Genesis doesn't say. But only Abraham's god is named in this pact. Possibly they both swore by that one.

    Gen 21:33 . . Abraham planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheba, and invoked there the name of The Lord, the Everlasting God.

    Actually, that verse is supposed to read like this: "and invoked there the name of Yhvh, the everlasting god."


    NOTE: It's commonly assumed that because of Ex 6:2-3, Abraham wasn't supposed to have known the name Yhvh; but obviously he did.

    The word for "tamarisk" is 'eshel (ay'-shel) which can mean a tamarisk tree; and it can also mean a grove of trees; of any kind. The grove was probably somewhat like a private garden where Abraham could have some solitude in prayer. Groves were popular as places of religious devotion and worship and of public meetings in both Canaan and Israel. It was in a garden where Jesus prayed his last great prayer in John 17 just before being arrested.

    Backyards can serve as "gardens" too. Here in the part of Oregon where I live, row houses have become a common style of residential housing construction; which is really sad. The people living in them don't have any backyard to speak of like my wife and I do in an older home.

    When we look out the big windows on the east side of our house, we see trees and shrubs and grass and an old mossy playhouse I built for my son and his friends many years ago; and lots of urban wildlife too: birds, raccoons, skunks, huge banana slugs, and squirrels and such. That backyard gives us a feeling of escape and privacy: it's very soothing; like a week-end getaway except that it's every day.

    The planners of New York City's central park had the very same idea in mind. Opponents of the park groused about the valuable real estate that would be lost to public recreation; but many of the residents of Manhattan wouldn't trade their park for all the thousands and thousands of diamonds the De Beers company is hoarding in their vaults.

    Not long ago one of Manhattan's abandoned elevated rail lines was converted into a park and it's already immensely popular as an escape. Human beings need their tamarisks; even holy human beings need them. (cf. Mark 6:46 and John 6:15)

    Gen 21:34 . . And Abraham resided in the land of the Philistines a long time.

    It wasn't actually the Philistines' land in Abraham's day; but was theirs during the times when one of the authors of Genesis edited this chapter.

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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  3. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 22:1-2b


    Gen 22:1a . . Some time afterward, God put Abraham to the test.

    This particular section of Scripture deals with an ancient incident known in sacred Jewish literature as The Akedah (the binding of Isaac). The Akedah portrays the very first human sacrifice ever performed in the Bible by someone who is extremely important to the people of Israel.

    The test coming up wasn't meant to measure Abraham's loyalty; rather, to ascertain the quality of his trust in the promise that God made to him concerning Isaac's future.

    "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him." (Gen 17:19)

    Gen 22:1b-2a . . He said to him: Abraham. And he answered: Here I am. And He said: Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love,

    The Hebrew word for "favored one" is yachiyd (yaw-kheed') which means sole. So then, Isaac wasn't just Abraham's favored son; he was also Abraham's only son because when the old gentleman emancipated Ishmael's mom Hagar, he relinquished legal kinship with her children. Relative to nature; Ishmael is Abraham's son, but relative to the covenant; he's no son at all.

    "Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son" (Heb 11:17)

    The koiné Greek word for "only begotten" is monogenes (mon-og-en-ace') which always, and without exception, indicates a parent's sole biological child. Examples are located at Luke 7:12, Luke 8:42, Luke 9:38, John 1:14, John 1:18, John 3:16, John 3:18, and 1John 4:9.

    Monogenes never identifies children with biological siblings; only children with zero biological siblings. This may all seem like semantic hocus pocus but since it's in the Bible we sort of have to go with it because faith accepts what's revealed to it rather than only what makes sense to it.

    Isaac was about three to five years old when Hagar and Ishmael moved out. Some time has gone by; and in this chapter, Isaac is now old enough to shoulder a load of wood, and to ask an intelligent question based on experience and observation; so he wasn't a little kid in this incident.

    Why did God say; whom you love? I think it's so we'd know how Abraham felt about Isaac. There can be no doubt that he would sorely miss this boy if ever something should happen to him.

    When people truly love their kids, they will die protecting them. They'll quite literally run into a burning building if need be and/or step in front of a bus.

    Normal parents are very protective like that when they truly love their kids. People who love their kids don't drown them to please a boy friend, don't leave them unattended in the car and go inside a bar for a drink; don't let them go off with strangers, and don't let them go to the mall or to the playground all by themselves when they're little.

    Gen 22:2b . . and go to the land of Moriah,

    There are only two places in the entire Old Testament where the word Moriah appears. One is here in Genesis and the other in 2Chrn 3:1.

    According to tradition, Genesis' land of Moriah is the same as the mount Moriah in 2Chron-- the site of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem --which is bordered by the world famous Wailing Wall. Some justification for the tradition is found in verse 14, where Abraham named the location Adonai yireh, from which came the expression; "On the mount of the Lord there is vision".

    However, Jerusalem's temple site isn't a three day trek on foot from Beer sheba; nor would it have been necessary for Abraham to pack in his own wood since Jerusalem's locale was well-forested in his day.

    In reality; the precise geographic location of the land of Moriah remains to this day a total mystery; which is probably for the best because by now there'd likely be an Islamic mosque constructed on the site were its location known.

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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  4. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 22:2c


    Gen 22:2c . . and offer him there as a burnt offering

    The Hebrew word for "burnt offering" is 'olah (o-law') which is a very different kind of offering than those of Cain and Abel. Theirs were minchah (min-khaw') which are usually gifts rather than atonements. They're also voluntary and bloodless.

    Some say that Abraham's offering shouldn't be translated "burnt" and others say it should.

    No doubt the best translator of 'olah within the context of the Akedah is the prophet Abraham himself. The very fact that he hewed wood, took a source of fire with him up the mountain, constructed an altar, put the wood on the altar, and then bound and positioned Isaac upon the wood and the altar; tells me that Abraham fully understood that when his divine master said 'olah He meant for the man to cremate his son.

    The evidence that Isaac also fully understood that 'olah implied incineration is when he asked his dad: "Father; here are the wood and the fire: but where is the sheep?"

    There are some who insist that Abraham misunderstood God. They say he was only supposed to take Isaac along with him up on the mountain and they together were to offer a burnt offering. What's the appropriate response to that?

    Well; as I stated: Abraham was a prophet (Gen 20:7). Also; Abraham had three days to think about what he was asked to do. Had Abraham the prophet any misgivings about human sacrifice-- any at all --he surely would have objected and/or at the very least requested a clarification. I'm confident that's true because of the example of his rather impudent behavior recorded in the latter part of the 18th chapter of Genesis.

    God ordered Abraham to offer his son as a burnt offering. That means he will have to slit Isaac's throat; and then cremate his remains. Why isn't Abraham recoiling and getting in God's face about this with a vehement protest? The inference is quite obvious. Abraham didn't believe human sacrifice wrong. In other words: for Abraham, human sacrifice was a non-issue or he would have surely objected to it.


    NOTE: A technical point often overlooked in the "human sacrifice" issue is that in every instance banning the practice in the Old Testament, it is underage children that are condemned as offerings-- innocent children; viz: babes; and in particular, one's own. (e.g. Lev 18:21, Lev 20:2-5, Deut 12:31, Deut 18:10, cf. 2Kgs 16:3, 2Kgs 17:31, 2Kgs 23:10, 2Kgs 21:6, Ps 106:34, Ezk 20:31, Ezk 23:37, Jer 7:31, Jer 19:4, Jer 32:35). I have yet to encounter an instance where God expressed abhorrence at sacrificing a consenting adult.

    FYI: There is no record of God banning the practice of sacrificing consenting adults in Abraham's day. Had God banned it later in Moses' day, the ban wouldn't count because divine law doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction; i.e. it isn't retroactive.

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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  5. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    -- Parenthesis --

    Rabbis are quite divided as to the true meaning of Gen 22:2. Some feel Abraham was supposed to kill Isaac, and some feel he wasn't. There are some who feel that the angel stopped Abraham at this point because he was making a big mistake-- that Abraham misunderstood the instructions God gave to him back in verse 2; which were: And He said, “Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering

    Targums, which were commonly taught in the synagogues prior to, during, and after Jesus' day, paraphrased that verse to mean just exactly what it implies: that Isaac was supposed to die.

    T. And He said: Take now thy son, thy only one whom thou lovest, Izhak, and go into the land of worship, and offer him there, a whole burnt offering, upon one of the mountains that I will tell thee. (Targum Jonathan)

    The verb "offer" is from 'alah (aw-law') which means: to ascend. Yosef Hallel, a rabbi who lived one or two generations before the Common Era, noted that 'alah is the same verb used with reference to a qorbanot offering, and does, in fact, imply "to slaughter" (e.g. Lev 17:8).

    Another rabbi, Zalman Sorotzkin, who lived in pre war Poland and post war Israel, said: "Abraham's going joyfully to slay his son [pre] atoned for his descendants refusal to go to the Holy Land." There are Midrash commentaries very similar to that line of thought.

    Some ancient Jewish commentators did in fact credit the father, Abraham, for slaying his son and they also credited Isaac for not only willingly offering his body, which was implied turned to ashes, but also for offering ¼ of his blood too. (Midrash HaGadol on Gen 22:19), (Sifra, 102c; b. Ta'anit 16a) and also (Mekhilta d'Rashbi, p.4; Tanh. Vayerra, sec.23)

    For what, or for whom, did Isaac willingly offer his body and blood? Was it for himself? Was it for his father Abraham? According to the Targums, it was for his future progeny, the people of Israel.

    T. And Abraham prayed in the name of the Word of the Lord, and said: Thou art The Lord who seest, and art not seen. I pray for mercy before Thee, O Lord. It is wholly manifest and known before Thee that in my heart there was no dividing, in the time that Thou didst command me to offer Izhak my son, and to make him dust and ashes before Thee; but that forthwith I arose in the morning and performed Thy word with joy, and I have fulfilled Thy word.

    . . . And now I pray for mercies before Thee, O Lord God, that when the children of Izhak offer in the hour of need, the binding of Izhak their father Thou mayest remember on their behalf, and remit and forgive their sins, and deliver them out of all need. That the generations who are to arise after him may say, In the mountain of the house of the sanctuary of the Lord did Abraham offer Izhak his son, and in this mountain of the house of the sanctuary was revealed unto him the glory of the Shekinah of the Lord. (Jerusalem Targum)

    in another Targum:

    T. Now I pray for mercy before You, O Lord God, that when the children of Isaac come to a time of distress You may remember on their behalf the Binding Of Isaac their father, and loose and forgive them their sins and deliver them from all distress. (Fragmentary Targum)

    The same thought is also carried over in a prayer, still included in the additional service for the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, which culminates with these words: Remember today the Binding Of Isaac with mercy to his descendants.

    The rabbis attested that the final resurrection of the dead would take place "through the merits of Isaac, who offered himself upon the altar." (Pesikta deRav Kahana, 32)


    NOTE: That comment asserts Isaac was consenting; which is probably very true.

    Some, completely ignoring Tradition, Midrashim, and the Talmud, have really gone off the deep end by claiming Gen 22:2 should be translated like this: And He said; “Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer [with] him there a burnt offering."

    Doctoring the Scripture by inserting the word "with" impugns Abraham's intellect as a man whom God testified in Gen 20:7 to be a prophet. Abraham no doubt understood his Master perfectly and knew just what he was expected to do. He had three days to pray about it and ask for confirmation. Abraham was supposed to kill Isaac, and that is exactly what he tried to do.

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  6. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 22:2d-6a


    Gen 22:2d . . on one of the heights that I will point out to you.

    Precisely where the land of Moriah was, and the specific height God chose, is impossible to tell for sure. Abraham knew where the land was but he wouldn't know the exact spot until he got there.

    It's just as well to keep it a secret or otherwise somebody would turn it into a shrine; sort of like the so-called Garden Tomb, where people come from all over the world and make fools of themselves kissing the ground. Some would even take home souvenir jars of dirt too; so that by now, likely so much dirt would be gone that the site of Moriah would look more like a quarry than a high place.

    Gen 22:3a . . So early next morning, Abraham saddled his burro and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac.

    The Hebrew word for "saddled" is ambiguous. It doesn't necessarily indicate a device meant for transporting personnel; more likely tackling for cargo.

    Whether or not the servants were armed, Genesis doesn't say. And why only two I don't know either. But that was enough to look after the burro while Abraham and Isaac were gone. And it's not wise to leave one man all alone in the outdoors; especially in the wild country of early day Palestine what with no phone service nor radios, nor cars to flag down for help in that day.

    Gen 22:3b . . He split the wood for the burnt offering,

    It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that the servants did the actual wood cutting with Abraham supervising.

    Gen 22:3c-4 . . and he set out for the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place from afar.

    Apparently everyone hiked on foot. The burro was just used as a pack animal to haul food, water, tents, supplies, and the wood.

    Though it's stated Abraham "looked up" it doesn't necessarily mean the site was elevated above him. When Lot surveyed the Jordan valley, he was said to have "lifted up" his eyes. But the valley was about three thousand feet down below his vantage at the time. Lifting up one's eyes just simply means to look around, and survey the scene.

    Those three days gave Abraham plenty of time to think about what God expected him to do. Abraham must surely have been giving Isaac's future some serious thought. And he no doubt pondered the promises God made concerning the great nation that was to issue from his boy. It was very likely at this time that Abraham's faith in God's promises sustained his determination to obey and take Isaac's life.

    "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said "In Isaac your seed shall be called" concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead," (Heb 11:17-19)

    In other words: Abraham was so confident that God was going to somehow make of his son's progeny a great nation that he assumed, quite correctly, that though he slay Isaac and cremate his remains, the lad wouldn't stay dead for very long.

    Gen 22:5 . .Then Abraham said to his servants: You stay here with the burro. The lad and I will go up there. We will worship and we will return to you.

    Worship can be defined as respect paid to a better-- like when Abraham ran and bowed to the three men who came to his tent in chapter 18, and up ahead when he will bow to the sons of Heth in chapter 23.

    When we let a senior citizen go through a door ahead of us, we are saying we regard that person as better than we are. And when we move aside for a presidential motorcade, we say the same thing. That's a kind of worship. It's not an attitude of equality nor one of parity. True worship is an attitude of humility, inferiority, subordination, submission, and admiration.

    The God of the Bible is so superior and respectable that the seraphs in His throne room cover their faces and dare not gaze upon God. True worship recognizes God's supremacy and respects the sanctity of His person. Sinners are never allowed to barge in like drunken sailors, to gape and swagger, unwashed and uninvited. No, they crawl in, recognizing the depravity of Man and the extreme dignity of God. The burnt offering shows that Man not only risks death and incineration in God's presence: he fully deserves it.

    There exists adequate proof that Abraham was capable of dishonesty, so it's difficult to tell at this point if he was actually predicting their return, or misleading everyone with a fib so nobody would become alarmed and throw a monkey wrench into the works. It was Abraham's full intention to slay Isaac but I'm sure you can understand why he wouldn't want anyone to know that.

    However, Abraham was confident that Isaac wouldn't stay dead; that much is known for certain so I vote to give Abraham the benefit of the doubt and say he really did believe that he and Isaac come back together.

    Gen 22:6a . . Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac.

    Were Isaac not quite a bit grown up at this time I don't think Abraham would have made him carry the wood.

    But why not let the burro haul the wood to the site? Well; if you have never heard a burro bray up close and personal, I guarantee you would not want one to do it during a solemn church service. They are LOUD!

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  7. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 22:6b-9a


    Gen 22:6b-7 . . He himself took the firestone and the knife; and the two walked off together. Then Isaac said to his father Abraham: Father! And he answered: Yes, my son. And he said: Here are the firestone and the wood; but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?

    Oops! That's kind of like going out to a picnic and forgetting the hot dogs and hamburger buns. The Tanakh's translation of the Hebrew word 'esh (aysh) as firestone was probably an educated guess. 'Esh just simply means fire, with no stone implied.

    A convenient way to transport fire in those days was with a portable oven; viz: a fire pot (cf. Gen 15:17). So rather than a stone, which implies striking sparks, they most likely just brought along the camp stove, which held a receptacle for live coals. Fire pots in those days were the equivalent of modern propane-fueled camping equipment.

    Since Abraham was the patriarch, it was his prerogative, as well as his responsibility, to actually kill the burnt offering and set it afire; so he quite naturally took custody of the weapon and the coals; as Isaac no doubt fully expected him to.

    The word for "sheep" is either she (seh) or sey (say) which means: a member of a flock, which can be either a sheep or a goat. Neither the age nor the gender mattered in this instance because Scripture up to this point in time had not yet specified age or gender for a burnt offering.

    Abraham could have used kids and lambs, or ewes, nannies, or rams; it made no difference. Actually, Abraham might have offered birds too. Noah did in chapter 8-- but there was something special about this instance that Isaac somehow knew required something quite a bit more substantial than a bird.

    Gen 22:8a . . And Abraham said: God will see to the sheep for His burnt offering, my son.

    Little did Isaac know the sheep of that day was to be him. Ol' Abraham and his half truths are at it again.

    Gen 22:8b . . And the two of them walked on together.

    This is now the second time Genesis says they walked together. Neither one led, nor brought up the rear, as in the case of so many husbands who leave their wives dragging along behind at the malls. Incidentally, the dialogue that took place between Isaac and his dad in verses 7 and 8 are the only recorded words they ever spoke to each other in the whole Bible.

    Arguments from silence insist that if something isn't clearly stated in the Bible, then it's inferred from the silence that there was nothing to state. In other words: according to the logic of an argument from silence, verses 7 and 8 are the only words that Isaac and Abraham ever spoke to each other their entire lives: which of course is highly unlikely.

    Gen 22:9a . .They arrived at the place of which God had told him.

    When did that happen . . God telling him? Genesis doesn't say. Jewish tradition says the site had an aural glow which Abraham and Isaac were enabled to see from a distance.

    Anyway it was now time to tell Isaac the real purpose of their pilgrimage.

    I can almost hear Isaac ask; "Dad, if I'm dead, then how will God make of me a great nation whose numbers exceed the stars of heaven? You told me He promised you that". Yes; God did promise Abraham that in Gen 15:4-5, and Gen 17:18-21.

    It is here where Isaac's great faith is revealed; but not so much his faith in God: rather, faith in his dad. Abraham's influence upon Isaac was astonishing; so much so that no doubt the lad believed right along with his dad that his death would only be temporary. Isaac was convinced that God would surely raise him from the dead in order to make good on His promises to Abraham.

    That young man really had fortitude; and incredible trust in his dad too. I'll tell you what: those two men deserve our deepest admiration. What an incredible display of faith and courage; both on the part of Abraham and on the part of his son Isaac.

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  8. WebersHome

    WebersHome Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 22:9b-10


    Gen 22:9b . . Abraham built an altar there; he laid out the wood;

    This was a place where, apparently, Abraham had never worshipped before because he had to build an altar.

    Gen 22:9c . . he bound his son Isaac;

    If Isaac was old enough, and strong enough, to shoulder a load of firewood (Gen 22:6) then he was old enough, and strong enough, to get away from Abraham, who, at the time, was past 100 years old.


    NOTE: If perchance Gen 23:1 took place immediately following the Akedah, then Abraham would have been 137 at this point in the narrative seeing as how he and Sarah were ten years apart in age. (Gen 17:17)

    If they had not already talked it over, then when Abraham pulled out his rope and assayed to bind Isaac; the lad would surely request an explanation; don't you think?

    Had Isaac not consented to the ritual, then he could have easily escaped because Abraham was alone; he had no one to assist him to restrain Isaac: the servants having remained behind with the burro. Besides, Isaac had to agree or the whole affair would disintegrate into a ritual murder.

    Binding was for Isaac's own good. No doubt he was willing enough to die; but nobody is comfortable with injury. When the knife would begin to make an incision in Isaac's neck to sever his carotid artery, he might reach up and grab his father's hand, the meanwhile twisting and thrashing in a natural response to pain and fear-- similar to what most anybody would do in a dentist's chair without Novocain.

    The binding would help keep him still and avoid collateral damage; otherwise, Abraham might accidentally cut off Isaac's nose or poke him in the eye and quite possibly disfigure him horribly instead of succeeding in killing the lad in a humane fashion.

    Gen 22:9d . . he laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

    That may seem impossible for a man of Abraham's age, but no specifications for altars existed at that time. They could be two feet high, ten, or just a rudimentary hearth of stones laid right on the ground like a campfire or in a shallow excavation like a wood pit barbecue.

    At that moment, even before Isaac was dead, and even before the tiniest spark of a fire was kindled: Abraham's offering of his son was complete. In other words: had God not wanted Abraham to sacrifice his son, He would have stopped the proceedings before Abraham laid his son on the wood because once that happens the offerer relinquishes control over his offering.

    From that point on; the offering belongs to God; and it becomes His prerogative to do with it as He pleases-- to kill Isaac or not to kill him was God's exclusive right and privilege. Bottom line is: it wasn't necessary for Isaac to be dead in order to count as a sacrifice: he only had to be laid on the wood of the altar to count.

    "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son (Heb 11:17-18)

    "Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?" (Jas 2:21)

    It's easily seen from those passages in James and Hebrews that not all human sacrifice is evil. In point of fact, in certain cases; it's the right thing to do. But the point is: James and Hebrews makes it clear that Isaac counted as an offering even though he was not slain.

    I just don't know why it is that people think that the 22nd chapter of Genesis teaches God's supposed abhorrence for all manner of human sacrifice when it is so obviously meant to convey the quality of Abraham's confidence in God's promise made at Gen 15:2-6.

    In other words: if Abraham was to go on to generate a posterity through his son whose numbers would be too many to count; then God would have to restore Isaac to life in order to make good on the promise; and according to Heb 11:17-19 Abraham was counting on that very thing. In other words: according to Jas 2:21-23, Abraham's willingness to kill his son validates Gen 15:2-6 where it's stated that Abraham believed God.

    Gen 22:10a . . And Abraham picked up the knife

    Abraham didn't just pick the knife up and hold it in his hand in some sort of symbolic gesture. No, he picked it up with the full intention of using it on his boy; as these next words of the narrative fully indicate.

    Gen 22:10b . . to slay his son.

    Do you think Abraham was messing around? I guarantee you he was NOT. He fully intended to end his son's life.

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    Genesis 22:11-12


    Gen 22:11 . .Then an angel of God called to him from heaven: Abraham! Abraham! And he answered: Here I am.

    This particular celestial messenger is not only going to speak about God, and speak for God, but it will also speak as God.

    Gen 22:12a . . And he said: Do not raise your hand against the lad, or do anything to him.

    There are some who feel that the angel stopped Abraham at this point because he misunderstood the instructions God gave to him back in verse 2; which were: "Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering"

    But an interpretation of that nature impugns the quality of Abraham's spiritual acumen as a man whom God said in Gen 20:7 was a prophet. Abraham no doubt understood his Master perfectly and knew just what he was expected to do. He had three days to pray about it and ask for confirmation.

    Abraham was supposed to kill Isaac, and that is exactly what he tried to do, and would have done; had not the angel stopped him in the nick of time. And the angel stopped him not because it was wrong. No. The angel stopped Abraham from killing Isaac because He had seen enough.

    Gen 22:12b . . For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me.

    The angel first speaks about God, and then he speaks for himself. In other words: if the angel isn't God; then he is certainly a very close approximation of God.

    Someone usually wants to know how a supposedly omniscient God didn't know till then that Abraham would go through with it. Well; in the Bible; the word "know" isn't limited to academic information. It often refers to experiential knowledge; like when a man knows his wife; viz: sleeps with her.

    By omniscience, God has seen the future already even before it takes place. It's all laid out before him like an open road map. He can see every avenue and every city all in one glance. However; like a traveler; God hasn't actually been to each place yet. David, in Psalm 139, said God's spirit is omnipresent, but I have yet to see a scripture that proves God has the ability to travel in time.

    He no doubt already knew ahead of time every single thing that would take place the day Abraham and Isaac were on that mountain. None of that took God by surprise. He saw it all ahead of time-- but God had yet to be there and take part when it actually happened. Afterwards; God not only knew in His head that Abraham feared him; but God knew it in His heart too via personal experience.

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    Genesis 22:13-24


    Gen 22:13 . .When Abraham looked up, his eye fell upon a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.

    The covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy a few centuries later would not have allowed Abraham to substitute a ram for Isaac. (Lev 27:28-29)

    According to a documentary I recently watched on NetFlix; approximately 2,000 Muslim butchers assemble for Mecca every year and slaughter something like 700,000 to 800,000 sheep to commemorate the ram that Abraham sacrificed in his son's stead. Islam of course believes the son was Ishmael instead of Isaac.

    The animals aren't consumed by the hajis. Instead; they're processed, packaged, and shipped to poor people around the world. Well; it would be nice if some of the people of Somalia and North Korea got a number of those sheep because they could sure use them. Ironically, Islamic militants have been thwarting efforts to get aid to the Somalian people. Where's the spirit of Mecca in that?

    Gen 22:14 . . And Abraham named that site Adonai-yireh, whence the present saying: On the mount of God there is vision.

    One of Webster's definitions of "vision" is: unusual discernment or foresight. For example: it was men of vision who crafted the United States Constitution, and men of vision who built railroads, and more men of vision who pushed for construction of New York City's central park, and a man of vision who persuaded the Oregon legislature to preserve all of Oregon's beaches as public domain so nobody could fence portions of it off for their own private use.

    Men of no vision think only of the here and now; while men of vision think of the future.

    Gen 22:15-18 . .The angel of God called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said: By Myself I swear, God declares; because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your favored one, I will bestow My blessing upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your seed, because you have obeyed My command.

    Abraham obtained God's oath because "you have obeyed My command". What command was that? The command to offer his son as a burnt offering (Gen 22:2). See? Abraham didn't make a mistake. He understood God perfectly; and would have slit Isaac's throat and burned him to ashes had not God pushed the stop button in the final moments.

    Far from being scolded for offering a human sacrifice, Abraham is highly commended for complying; and the promises God made in previous chapters are now reaffirmed. He lost nothing; but the rather, gained a spiffy bonus: the Almighty's oath.

    Concerning those promises: the first time around, God merely gave His word (which is normally good enough, and in and of itself quite immutable). Another time He passed between the pieces; thus notarizing the promises (double whammy). But this time, God anchored the promises with an oath (grand slam). That is extremely notable.

    Would Abraham have failed to obtain the promises had he refused to offer his son? No. He would still have obtained them because the original promises-- made prior to the oath --are unconditional and guaranteed by the immutability of God's integrity. What Abraham would have failed to obtain was the oath.

    So then, God has gone to every possible length to assure Abraham's seed of the certainty of those original promises with: 1) His testimony, 2) His passing between the pieces, and 3) His oath. You won't find God taking oaths very often in the Bible.

    This particular oath is part and parcel of the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Deut 29:9-15.

    Gen 22:19 . . Abraham then returned to his servants, and they departed together for Beer-sheba; and Abraham stayed in Beer-sheba.

    Isaac isn't specifically named in either the return or the departure, except that the words "departed together" are highly suggestive of the very same togetherness of verses 6 and 8. And back in verse 5, Abraham told the servants that he and Isaac would both return. If Isaac had not been with Abraham on the return trip, the servants would have surely asked where he was.

    The Targums have a pretty interesting postscript at this point.

    T. And the angels on high took Izhak and brought him into the school (medresha) of Shem the Great; and he was there three years. And in the same day Abraham returned to his young men; and they arose and went together to the Well of the Seven, and Abraham dwelt at Beira-desheva. And it was after these things, after Abraham had bound Izhak, that Satana came and told unto Sarah that Abraham had killed Izhak. And Sarah arose, and cried out, and was strangled, and died from agony. (Targum Jonathan)

    Gen 22:20 . . Some time later, Abraham was informed: Milcah too has borne children to your brother Nahor:

    Just exactly how much time had passed after The Akedah until this announcement is uncertain but it was likely at least three days because that's how long it took Abraham's party to get back home. (Gen 22:4)

    Nahor was one of Abraham's brothers and Milcah was Abraham's niece through Haran, another brother: who was also Lot's dad. Milcah was Nahor's real wife. He also had a concubine named Reumah.

    Gen 22:21-24 . . Uz the first-born, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram; and Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel”-- Bethuel being the father of Rebecca. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore children: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

    Bethuel and Rebecca are the only two who really stand out in that list. However, Genesis records everybody because God, apparently for reasons of His own, thinks they're all important in some way.

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    Genesis 23:1-9


    Gen 23:1-2a . . Sarah's lifetime-- the span of Sarah's life --came to one hundred and twenty-seven years. Sarah died in Kiriath-arba-- now Hebron --in the land of Canaan;

    This is the only woman in the entire Old Testament for whom an age is given at the time of her death. Isaac was 37 at this point, having been born when Sarah was 90 (Gen 17:17) and Abraham was 137 since he and Sarah were ten years difference in age (Gen 17:17). She lived in Canaan with her husband for 62 years and they never once owned their own home. They moved there when he was 75 and she was 65 --and Abraham at this point has 38 years on the clock yet to go.


    NOTE: If we were to assume Sarah's death immediately followed the Akedah, then Isaac would have been 37 when he and Abraham went to the mountain seeing as how his mom was ninety when the lad was born.

    Gen 23:2b . . and Abraham proceeded to mourn for Sarah and to bewail her.

    Some people think it's weak and unspiritual to mourn for the dead. However; it is the very best way to let them go. People shouldn't stifle their heartbreak, nor steel themselves against it. I would rather see people get angry and withdrawn at the loss of their loved ones than to blow it off as just another passing phase of life.

    Sarah had quite a life you know. She was a tough pioneer woman-- taken into the palaces of a Pharaoh and a King. And she was selected by Almighty God to be the mother of the people of Israel, and of Messiah: Israel's ultimate monarch. Sarah was also a genetic path to the seed promised Eve back in Gen 3:15. We can't just put her in the ground as if she was a commoner no different than anybody else.

    Gen 23:3a . .Then Abraham rose from beside his dead, and spoke to the Hittites,

    Who is the most famous Hittite in the Old Testament? Give up? It's Uriah, Bathsheba's first husband; whom David murdered so he could have her to wife.

    Gen 23:3b-4 . . saying: I am a resident alien among you; sell me a burial site among you, that I may remove my dead for burial.

    Abraham had no ancestral claim upon the land. So he had to appeal to the Hittites' sensibilities; and beg for some property. They, on the other hand, were in a straight because the land was their heritage and selling off some of their holdings would diminish the inheritances to be received by their heirs, and plus, the land would be lost forever; and to an alien yet.

    Gen 23:5b . . And the Hittites replied to Abraham, saying to him: Hear us, my lord: you are the elect of God among us.

    The word for "God"-- 'elohiym --is not really in that verse; an editor took the liberty to insert it. And the word for "elect" is from nasiy' (naw-see') which doesn't mean elect at all but means an exalted one; viz: a king or sheik. The Hittites had great respect for Abraham; and in their estimation he earned the right to a potentate's reception.

    Gen 23:5b . . Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places; none of us will withhold his burial place from you for burying your dead.

    By donating a sepulcher, instead of selling the land, the Hittites would retain ownership of the real estate and thus none would be lost to their posterity. In the future, they could pave over it for a mall, or dig up the whole thing with earth-moving machinery for a residential sub division.

    Gen 23:7 . .Thereupon Abraham bowed low to the people of the land, the Hittites,

    How many Jews today would bow to a Hittite, or to any other Gentile for that matter? Abraham was indeed a very humble man who never let his connection to God go to his head nor give him a superiority complex. Pride and Prejudice are two of the Jews' most widely known attributes in modern times; but they didn't get it from their ancestor; that's for sure.

    Gen 23:8 . . and he said to them: If it is your wish that I remove my dead for burial, you must agree to intercede for me with Ephron son of Zohar.

    The sons of Heth (who were Hittites themselves) would act as the mediator between Ephron (a fellow Hittite) and Abraham (an Eberite: thus an outsider). It was only a formality, but nonetheless, an important cultural protocol in those days.

    Gen 23:9 . . Let him sell me the cave of Machpelah that he owns, which is at the edge of his land. Let him sell it to me, at the full price, for a burial site in your midst.

    The location is favorable for Ephron because it's at the edge of his property line, so Abraham won't need an easement to access the site, nor will it be an eyesore stuck out in the middle.

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    Genesis 23:10-20


    Gen 23:10a . . Ephron was present among the Hittites; so Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, all who entered the gate of his town,

    Ephron didn't have to answer personally; but chose to of his own volition.

    People who actually lived in a town's proper, were the upper crust-- the merchants, bankers, judges, city managers, the mayor, and like that. It was important that those "who entered the gate of his town" be involved in a decision regarding property sales because of the potential impact upon their own interests.

    In those days, land owned by a clan like the Hittites defined the boundaries of their territory; and each family within a clan owned parcels of it. So when one of the families, like Ephron's for example, sold some of their parcel to a foreigner, the whole community suffered a permanent loss of territory.

    Gen 23:10b-11 . . saying: No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and I give you the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.

    Ephron's generosity was no doubt sincere, but merely one more formality towards closing a deal on the property. Not wanting to appear a greedy beast profiteering on the loss of a man's wife, he first offered it to Abraham for free.

    That was actually a very kind show of respect for Abraham's grief. Abraham will pay for the property, and I have no doubt both men fully expected a monetary settlement; but not before Ephron first has an opportunity to make certain everyone in town sees him pay his respects for the dead of one of the most, if not the most, highly respected men in all of Canaan.

    Gen 23:12-15 . .Then Abraham bowed low before the people of the land, and spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying; If only you would hear me out. Let me pay the price of the land; accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there. And Ephron replied to Abraham, saying to him; My lord, do hear me. A piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver-- what is that between you and me? Go and bury your dead.

    The shekel of Abraham's day wasn't coinage; but rather, a unit of weight equal to 20 gerahs (Ezk 45:12) which is equivalent to 10 English pennyweights or 1/2 ounce troy. So it would take two of Abraham's shekels to equal one troy ounce of silver.

    The average value of a troy ounce of silver as of Oct 05, 2017 was around 16.75 US dollars. So 400 full shekels would be worth about 3,350 of today's US dollars (2,844 Euro)

    No doubt Ephron had mixed feelings about the property. On the one hand, he, as well as his countrymen, would prefer it not be sold to a non Hittite. Yet they all admired Abraham and didn't want to disappoint him, especially during a time of bereavement.

    Ephron didn't actually ask for four hundred shekels. He merely told Abraham what the property was worth, but that its value meant nothing between friends; as if Abraham could have it for free. But it was really a subtle way of naming a price without actually coming right out and naming it; know what I mean?

    Gen 23:16 . . Abraham accepted Ephron's terms. Abraham paid out to Ephron the money that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites-- four hundred shekels of silver at the going merchants' rate.

    In those days they used a balance scale to weigh out precious metals for trading purposes. Merchant rates are typically less than consumer rates. So Abraham's 400 shekels would have been weighed out with a lighter set of counterweights than normal in order for him to buy the land at wholesale.

    Gen 23:17-18 . . So Ephron's land in Machpelah, near Mamre-- the field with its cave and all the trees anywhere within the confines of that field --passed to Abraham as his possession, in the presence of the Hittites, of all who entered the gate of his town.

    Abraham's purchase of Hittite territory was done in the presence of a goodly number of blue-blooded Hittite witnesses so there would be no basis for anyone to contest his rightful ownership. Abraham didn't purchase just the cave, but also the wooded grounds around it so that Sarah's gravesite was originally a very nice cemetery.

    But if you want to visit her burial site today, be forewarned. The region in and around Hebron is a political strife zone these days. The monumental shrine erected over the cave in which Abraham was buried makes this one of the great sights for visitors with an interest in scriptural history; but since there are frequently violent clashes between Arabs and Israelis in Hebron it is essential before visiting the town to check up on the current situation with the tourist information office in Jerusalem.

    Sarah's gravesite today (if indeed anybody knows where it really is) is covered by an Islamic structure called Al-lbrahimi Mosque; in honor of Abraham, Ishmael's dad. It should be pointed out that the Mosque isn't intended to promote Judaism's Yhvh, but rather, Islam's Allah.

    Gen 23:19-20 . . And then Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre-- now Hebron --in the land of Canaan. Thus the field with its cave passed from the Hittites to Abraham, as a burial site.

    Not only a burial site, but also as a permanent real estate holding-- the people of Israel's very first piece of their very own country; which gives them legitimate roots there even prior to the Exodus; and way ahead of the Palestinians.

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    Genesis 24:1-3b


    Gen 24:1a . . Abraham was now old, advanced in years,

    Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born (Gen 21:25). The lad was 40 when he married Rebecca (Gen 25:20). So that makes Abraham 140 at this point in the record. But although Abraham was worn; he wasn't worn out. Abraham still had plenty of vigor left in him and would go on to live another 35 years and even father more children. As far as the Scriptural record goes, Abraham enjoyed excellent health at this point in his life and still had his wits about him too.

    Gen 24:1b . . and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.

    The "all things" at this point in the narrative would pertain to Abraham's economic prosperity because that's how his steward will represent him at verse 35.

    Gen 24:2a . . And Abraham said to the steward of his household, who had charge of all that he owned,

    It is impossible to identify the steward because his name isn't disclosed anywhere throughout chapter 24. It could be the Eliezer of Gen 15; however, many years have gone by since then. Abraham was eighty-six when Ishmael was born in chapter 16, and he is 140 in this chapter; so it has been more than 54 years since the last mention of Eliezer. The steward at this point in Abraham's home may even be Eliezer's son by now, but nobody really knows for sure.

    Abraham's steward is going to act as an ambassador-- not for Abraham, but for Isaac. Abraham, for reasons undisclosed, can't leave Canaan to do this himself. So the steward is dispatched as a proxy for Abraham to act in his son Isaac's best interests.

    Gen 24:2b-3a . . Put your hand under my thigh and I will make you swear

    Some Bible students construe Jesus' words at Matt 5:33-37 to mean that taking an oath is intrinsically a sin. But that's not the tenor of his words at all. What he really said in that passage is that taking an oath sets you up for a fall because for one thing; people are too quick to swear, and for another human beings cannot guarantee that unforeseen circumstances won't prevent them from making good on their oath. In other words: the nature of promises is that they are immune to changing circumstances. So unless you can see the future, then if at all possible, make your promises without sealing them with an oath because if you drag God into your promise; He's going to expect you to make good on it come hell or high water or risk getting called on the carpet to explain why you think so little of His name.

    "If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth." (Num 30:2)

    Anyway: if taking an oath were intrinsically a sin, then God himself would be a sinner (e.g. Gen 22:15-18, Ps 89:3-4, Ps 89:35-37, Ps 110:4, Isa 14:24, Isa 45:23, Isa 54:9, Heb 4:3, et al). Jesus too would be in contradiction of his own teachings because he testified under oath that he was the Messiah; God's son. (Matt 23:63-65)

    Gen 24:3b . . by Yhvh, the God of heaven and the God of the earth

    Exodus 6:3 makes it appear that Abraham wasn't supposed to be aware of the name Yhvh. But here in Gen 24, Abraham made his steward swear by that very appellation; so there can be no doubt he was fully aware of it.

    The word for "thigh" is from yarek (yaw-rake') and has a couple of meanings. It can be the actual thigh (e.g. Gen 32:26, Song 7:1) and it can mean a man's privates. (e.g. Gen 46:26, Num 5:21)

    In those days, men didn't always raise their right hands to take an oath with each other-- sometimes they held sacred objects in their hand like we do today when a swearer puts their hand upon a Bible or a Torah Scroll. In this particular case in Genesis, the object held in the hand was a holy patriarch. Only twice in the entire Old Testament is an oath recorded taken in this manner. The first is here, and the other is Gen 47:29.

    The similarities between the procurement of Isaac's bride, and that of the bride of Christ are remarkable. Neither of the fathers of the grooms go themselves to woo the brides; but rely upon a nameless servant who can be trusted to faithfully look out for the grooms' best interests. Guided by providence, the servants locate candidates, give them some gifts, explain their missions, tell of the wealth of the fathers, tell of the inheritances of the grooms, tell the candidates something of the grooms' genealogies; and are especially careful to explain the circumstances of the grooms' miraculous births.

    The candidates never see any photos or pictures of their potential husbands, are given no information disclosing the grooms' personalities, and are permitted to know only certain general details about the grooms and nothing more-- at first. At this point, the servants then press for a response, and proceed no further until the candidates make their decision. However, no one can force the bridal candidates to accept the grooms. The candidates must consent to join him of their own volition.

    After the candidates consent to go and be with the grooms, the servants then cull the candidates from their native people, and from their native lands, and safely escort them to the lands and peoples of the grooms. The grooms, upon receipt of the candidates, accept them just as they are, give them a nice home, and love and care for them right to the end.

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    Genesis 24:3c-10


    Gen 24:3c-4 . . that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I dwell, but will go to the land of my birth and get a wife for my son Isaac.

    The words "land of my birth" can also mean "to my country and to my relatives." That is exactly how the steward understood them because that is how he will narrate Abraham's instructions in Gen 24:38.

    I just bet Abraham was fully aware of the fate of the men of God who married the daughters of men back in the early parts of Genesis. Those men of God all died in the Flood right along with their impious wives.

    The influence of a non God-fearing spouse could prove fatal to Isaac's future. If he's going to serve and worship his dad's god, then he is going to have to marry a girl who fully appreciates and supports the prophecies regarding Abraham's progeny.

    Spouse hunting demands a level head and cold steel discernment or there is real risk in ending up like Solomon, one of the greatest of God's men, who was ruined by his marriages to women who didn't share his religious beliefs. (1Kgs 11:1-10)

    Gen 24:5-6 . . And the servant said to him: What if the woman does not consent to follow me to this land, shall I then take your son back to the land from which you came? Abraham answered him: You must not, for any reason, take my son back there!

    I think Abraham knew only too well just how much like sheep men are. When they fall in love, they'll literally sacrifice their lives to keep a woman; which is exactly what Jacob did. Rachel was a good girl; but she cost Jacob fourteen years of his life away from home in a foreign land with a bad influence: uncle Laban.

    Suppose Isaac went up north and feasted his glims on Rebecca? Well, up ahead we're going to find out that she was young, cute, and filled out in all the right places. I've seen what that does to men. I worked with a married man once who kept a young love on the side. He often used his wages to buy that girl jewelry while his wife and two little kids were housed in a ramshackle rental unit.

    It was too risky to let Isaac go up there. He might be tempted to remain with Rebecca if she refused to live so far off from her family. Isaac's future was in the land deeded to Abraham on oath; not up there in Mesopotamia; and his bride's place was with him and Yhvh; not with her family and Laban's idols.

    Gen 24:7 . .The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from my native land, who promised me on oath, saying "I will assign this land to your offspring" He will send His angel before you, and you will get a wife for my son from there.

    The identity of the angel to be sent is a complete mystery. Some feel it's a personification of God's providence. Others feel it might be Metatron; the angel in sacred Jewish literature whose name is his Master's. But it's far more likely to be God's spirit-- the eye of Ps 32:8-10 --secretly manipulating circumstances to serve God's best interests. There is not one single square inch of the cosmos of which God's eye is unaware (Ps 139:7-12).

    Gen 24:8-10a . . And if the woman does not consent to follow you, you shall then be clear of this oath to me; but do not take my son back there. So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore to him as bidden. Then the servant took ten of his master's camels

    Nobody is quite sure exactly when camels were domesticated. The earliest depiction of them in relief and cuneiform text as beasts of burden and transportation is sometime around 1100 BC.

    Gen 24:10b . . and set out, taking with him all the bounty of his master;

    The servant will need to demonstrate to the bride, and to the bride's family, that she'll be well taken care of. The servant of course didn't take along everything Abraham owned in total, but merely an adequate representation of his abundant wealth; which by inheritance, would all be Isaac's some day; and, by association, his future wife's too.

    Additional men accompanied the servant (Gen 24:32) who were very likely all armed (Gen 14:14); not only for the caravan's protection, but for the bride's as well. No doubt included among the camel's burdens were tents, victuals, provender, water, and appropriate accommodations for the bride's comfort on the journey back to Canaan. It was at least five hundred miles from Hebron up to Abraham's people in Mesopotamia, so the return trip couldn't possibly be made in a single day on camels and would necessitate overnight bivouacs in rugged country.

    Gen 24:10c . . and he made his way to Aram-naharaim, to the city of Nahor.

    The Greek translation renders naharaim in dual form meaning, "two rivers", and from that arose the name Mesopotamia-- the land between the two rivers. Some feel that the name naharaim really means "the land along the river" or "the land within the river".

    It's a territory bounded approximately on the east by an imaginary north/south line drawn from Ar Raqqah Syria to Urfa Turkey. The southern and western borders are delineated by the Euphrates as it runs from Ar Raqqah Syria towards Gaziantep Turkey: an area within which at one time lay the kingdom of Mitanni. This is called Naharain in the Egyptian texts, and Naharima in the El-Armana letters.

    The details of the journey are passed over. It would have been fun to hear about the caravan's adventures. How they had to dodge a flock of ostriches that ran out in the road, and maybe how a lion came around at night and spooked everybody, or how one of the men fell asleep at the wheel and his camel ran off the road and hit a tree; stuff like that. But Genesis has priorities; and the journey's details were not one of them. In a blink, the caravan arrives; a trip that took maybe two weeks or so; and Rebecca rapidly becomes the prime focus. This chapter, after all, about the bride; rather than the groom.

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  15. WebersHome

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    Genesis 24:11-16c


    Gen 24:11 . . He made the camels kneel down by the well outside the city, at evening time, the time when women come out to draw water.

    "evening time" is from an ambiguous word that indicates any time between high noon and sunset as opposed to morning which can indicate any time between sunrise and high noon.

    Gen 24:12 . . And he said: O Lord, God of my master Abraham, grant me good fortune this day, and deal graciously with my master Abraham:

    This steward was truly a God-fearing man, and truly faithful to the one who sent him on this errand. His prayer is not self centered, but centered upon the best interests of his master's son. Incidentally, this is the very first prayer recorded in the Bible of any individual clearly requesting Divine providence.

    Gen 24:13-14 . . Here I stand by the spring as the daughters of the townsmen come out to draw water; let the maiden to whom I say "Please, lower your jar that I may drink" and who replies "Drink, and I will also water your camels"-- let her be the one whom You have decreed for Your servant Isaac. Thereby shall I know that You have dealt graciously with my master.

    This man didn't beat around the bush, nor begin reading from a siddur, nor a missal, nor did he chant by rote, nor blather in tongues. He gets right down to business and spells out his concerns in plain language. Let me say something very clearly: If you are the kind of person who has to pray in tongues because you don't have enough command of your own native language to express yourself in any other way, then maybe you should go back to school for a while.

    Of great interest is the steward's apparent lack of concern regarding the prospective bride's looks. Only God truly knew who would be right for Isaac, and Abraham's steward is not going to select a bride for his master's son like as if she's flesh on the line the way the sons of God did back in Gen 6:2. No; she must be hand-picked by God alone because He alone knows what's in a heart. If the girl that God chooses for Isaac is attractive; well that will be a bonus, but absolutely not the deciding factor.

    Gen 24:15 . . He had scarcely finished speaking, when Rebecca-- born to Bethuel, the son of Milcah the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor --came out with her jar on her shoulder.

    As fortune would have it, the very first girl to arrive is Becky. Although she's related to Abraham, at this point Abraham's steward doesn't know who she is yet. In fact he's probably expecting to conduct many tiresome interviews; testing one girl after another until the right one shows up.

    Gen 24:16a . .The maiden was very beautiful,

    Some chafe at that passage and refuse to believe Genesis is talking about Becky's physical assets. However, later on, in Gen 26:6-7, Isaac will attempt his dad's old trick and say Becky is his sister; in order to save his skin. The reason Isaac gives for the lie is he believed the men of Gerar would be tempted to kill him because Becky was attractive. It is highly unlikely pagan men would take Becky away from Isaac just because she had a beautiful personality. As a rule, ancient men didn't fight over the nice girls; they battled for the alluring ones.

    Gen 24:16b . . a virgin

    Becky is three girls in one: a maiden, a virgin, and a virgin. What the heck you say? How is she two virgins?

    The word for "virgin" in 24:16 is bethuwlah (beth-oo-law') which can indicate a virgin, a bride; and also a city or state. Technically, bethuwlaw doesn't necessarily indicate a girl who's never slept with a man. The primary denotation is chronological, and the word simply indicates a mature young woman of marriageable age whether she is married or not; e.g. Joel 1:8, where a bethuwlah laments the husband of her youth.

    Gen 24:16c . . whom no man had known.

    That kind of wording says that Becky is not only all grown up, but she's a bethuwlah who still has her virginity. We have before us a gorgeous peach, not living with a man, neither has ever slept with a man. In other words, Rebecca was a square and wouldn't fit very well into a typical vulgar television sit-com like Seinfeld, Friends, or Sex In The City; nor would she be a likely candidate for a cover picture on Playboy, Maxim, or Cosmo.

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    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  16. WebersHome

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    Genesis 24:16d-22


    Gen 24:16d . . She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up.

    The "spring" in this case was a small pool of water fed by an aquifer, which is different than an artesian well. Artesians gush, while aquifers seep.

    Some of the shafts of ancient man-made wells in that part of the world resemble mini open-pit mines; with steps hewn into the sides to facilitate access to the water for dipping jars and buckets. Becky's spring was likely constructed like that.

    Gen 24:17a . .The servant ran toward her

    The Hebrew word for "ran" is the same word used in Gen 18:2 and 18:7 to describe Abraham's movement when the three men appeared in his camp. Abraham was about 99 years old at the time and it's very doubtful he was able to move his legs all that fast. It's far more likely he just hastened.

    In any case, it was nevertheless essential that Abraham's steward not waste any time because Becky had strong legs and would surely be gone away home in a blink.

    Gen 24:17b . . and said: Please, let me sip a little water from your jar.

    It's amazing that a gorgeous young girl like Becky would allow a total stranger to approach her without protest or without screaming for help. Was she naïve? Was she foolish?

    Well . . maybe in that day, and around her town, you could trust people. But it would not be wise to do that in some parts of New York or Los Angeles. A seemingly honest appeal for assistance could very well be a distraction while an accomplice sneaks up behind you.

    Although Becky arrived first, ahead of the other girls, by now there may have been several others milling around the spring because that was the time of day for them to be there. In groups, they could all watch out for each other. Genesis doesn't tell about any of the others though because the spotlight is totally on Isaac's future bride.

    Gen 24:18a . . Drink, my lord: she said,

    The Hebrew word for "lord" is 'adown (aw-done') and is suitable for courteously addressing a male superior; wither actual or assumed; viz: fathers, seniors, kings, husbands, and/or God.

    Gen 24:18b . . and she quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and let him drink.

    The word for "quickly" is from mahar (maw-har') which means: to be liquid or flow easily; viz: nimble (the opposite of that would be the sluggishness of molasses in January) and implies to act promptly. I really like the way Becky responded. When people do things grudgingly, they often stonewall, perform slowly, and drag their feet just to show you they're annoyed. But Becky didn't hesitate. She gave water to the man whole-heartedly, sharply, and immediately.

    Whether she actually let him drink out of her hand is doubtful. Lowering the jar upon her hand merely indicates it was previously up on her shoulder or maybe on top of her head. Becky probably just supported it from underneath with one hand while tilting the top with the other so the contents would pour out and Abraham's steward could slack his thirst.

    Gen 24:19-20 . .When she had let him drink his fill, she said: I will also draw for your camels, until they finish drinking. Quickly emptying her jar into the trough, she ran back to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels.

    Flo-Jo Becky-- flying all over the place like a US Navy SEAL trainee in hell week. No time to waste if she was going to water all those camels before dark.

    The Arabian camel can drink more than twenty gallons of water in one sitting when it's very thirsty. I hope that man gave them some water earlier because he had ten camels and Becky could be hauling as much as 200 gallons. If her pitcher held five gallons, the weight would be about 41 pounds of water for each one of the forty trips she would have to make down and back up out of that spring. Wow that girl was fit! Well, she did it-- and all without any grousing about it.

    Gen 24:21 . .The man, meanwhile, stood gazing at her, silently wondering whether The Lord had made his errand successful or not.

    That man must have been totally blown away. The very thing about which he prayed barely five minutes ago was occurring right before his eyes and all so brisk and sudden too. This was just too easy and just too unbelievable. Could this really be of The Lord? He dared not let himself enjoy any success yet until he knew for sure.

    Gen 24:22 . .When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing a half-shekel, and two gold bands for her arms, ten shekels in weight.

    The word for "nose-ring" is nexem (neh'-zem) which just means ring, or jewel. Without a modifier, there is no way of knowing for sure if the ring is for the nose or the ear. However, in verse 47 up ahead, Abraham's steward will say he installed the ring in Becky's nose.

    The half shekel was a unit of weight and a media of exchange in those days. It weighed about 6.019 grams which is equal to about 92.87 grains. Typical .22 caliber lead bullets weigh approximately 40 grains apiece, so it would take at least two and a third of them to equal the weight of the ring. That's really not much, but if it's stuck in your nose or hanging on your ear I guess it would become noticeable after a while.

    The combined weight of the two bands was ten shekels, which is twenty times the weight of the ring; or about 1,857 grains; which is equivalent to forty-six .22 cal lead bullets.

    1,857 grains + 93grains = 1,950 grains; which is equivalent to 4.06 troy ounces of gold. ( a troy ounce is equal to 480 grains) As of Oct 10, 2017 the commodity value of gold was roughly 1,290 USD per troy ounce. So to date, Becky's gold, in commodity value, was worth roughly 5,237 USD. (4,441 Euro)

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  17. WebersHome

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    Genesis 24:23-31


    Gen 24:23-25 . . Pray tell me; he said: whose daughter are you? Is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night? She replied: I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor. And she went on: There is plenty of straw and feed at home, and also room to spend the night.

    That did it. The identity of Becky's family was the final chop that felled the tree. Abraham's steward had no more doubts about the Lord's providence. At this point, he put the ring in Becky's nose and the bands on her arms.

    Gen 24:26-27 . .The man bowed low in homage to The Lord and said: Blessed be The Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld His steadfast faithfulness from my master. For I have been guided on my errand by The Lord, to the house of my master's kinsmen.

    How utterly astounded Becky must have been that this stranger would give her all that gold for doing nothing more than watering him and his camels; and then his prayer to boot.

    I'm guessing that at this point, Becky began to suspect that something was up. There were men with Abraham's steward who were no doubt all intently observing this scene and gauging Becky's reactions throughout the whole incident. Looking at them, looking at the man, looking at his camels loaded down with all manner of stuff, and that there were more saddled camels than men to ride them; I think Becky began to get nervous because right then she took off out of there for home like a United passenger with scarcely seconds to spare to catch their connection from Chicago to Seattle.

    Gen 24:28 . .The maiden ran and told all this to her mother's household.

    Becky told the story to her mom's side of the family, which suggests that her dad Bethuel may have kept a concubine as well as a wife.

    Here's a possible scenario of what happened next.

    Becky's mom (whose name isn't given) has become anxious-- it's getting late, and her baby hasn't returned yet with the evening water supply.

    Then, WHAM! as sudden and unexpected as a California earthquake: an excited, out of breath Becky-girl comes crashing through the door with a shriek and a squeal; dropping her jug on the floor with a thud, sloshing water over the floor, accompanied by the incomprehensible jabbering of a flock of magpies-- gasping for air, lungs burning; she spits her tale as arms flash with gold, and the ring in her nose sparkles like a glimmering salmon lure every time she turns her head; which is quite often.

    At first, in dazed silence, everyone is paralyzed and nobody moves.

    Then, BOOM! the whole place erupts and people start scrambling. Chairs get knocked over, tables bumped out of their places, lamps teeter, and doors slam with the whump and concussion of incoming mortar rounds. People out in the courtyard are barking orders to the servants at the tops of their voices; as everyone bolts off from ground-zero in ten different directions like panicked North Koreans making emergency preparations to put Kim Jong-Un up for the night.

    Meanwhile, Becky's brother Laban (who just happens to be infected with a severe case of unbridled avarice) ignites the afterburners and sails out the door at Mach 2 on his way to fetch Abraham's steward.

    Gen 24:29-30a . . Now Rebecca had a brother whose name was Laban. He ran out to the man at the spring when he saw the nose-ring and the bands on his sister's arms, and when he heard his sister Rebecca say: Thus the man spoke to me.

    There's no record that Laban ever actually met Abraham in person, but Bethuel surely must have talked about him around the dinner table-- how the god of Noah had called uncle Abram to leave Mesopotamia and head south to the frontier. And caravans arriving from Egypt surely passed through Abraham's region, picking up news and information about the great sheik's exploits and the fact that Abraham's camp was very large; a community of at least a thousand people.

    Then; Shazaam! Abraham's steward seemingly materializes out of nowhere-- totally unexpected like Forrest Gump's friend Jenny after a long absence --with samples of Abraham's prosperity. That must have been really exciting: akin to news from early-day Texas oilfields.

    Gen 24:30b-31a . . He went up to the man, who was still standing beside the camels at the spring. He said: Come in, O blessed of The Lord;

    The word for "Lord" is actually Yhvh, and is the very name of deity the steward used in his prayer.

    Laban didn't actually worship Yhvh nor serve Him either. The steward's god was Yhvh; so for now, Yhvh would be Laban's god too. Becky's brother was a flexible, clever manipulator. By feigning respect for the steward's god; Laban no doubt hoped it would work to advantage. Later we're going to discover that Laban's own personal religion was actually idolatry. He kept a supply of divine figurines in his home-- little statuettes called teraphim.

    Gen 24:31b . . why do you remain outside, when I have made ready the house and a place for the camels?

    Unlike Abraham's home, where Abraham ruled supreme, the daddy in Becky's home doesn't seem to have much voice or power in it. Bethuel's son, is the principle spokesman. He and his mom together seemed to run the place. Some husbands are happy with that kind of an arrangement so what the hey, if it works for them? It could be too that the daddy's health was not all that good and so he preferred letting his family manage the home.

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  18. WebersHome

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    Genesis 24:32-35


    Gen 24:32 . . So the man entered the house, and the camels were unloaded. The camels were given straw and feed, and water was brought to bathe his feet and the feet of the men with him.

    In those days, when somebody "entered the house" they actually entered a gateway into a courtyard bordered by living quarters and stables.

    Who took care of the animals? Probably servants. Which would indicate that Bethuel had done pretty well for himself in life. His home was spacious enough to shelter the servant and his detachment; plus he had enough provender and bedding for at least ten camels. Hmmmm. Makes you wonder why Becky was out there fetching water. Why did she have to do it if they had servants? Well, I don't think she really had to; but Isaac's future bride was no narcissistic prima donna: she was one of those people who don't mind pitching in and getting their hands dirty. Privileged or no privileged; that girl was something.

    Gen 24:33a . . But when food was set before him, he said: I will not eat until I have told my tale.

    Always one for business, the man got straight to the point.

    Gen 24:33b . . He said: Speak, then.

    Who was it said: speak? Well, the nearest antecedent is Laban. You know, that boy reminds me of Sonny Corleone; the eldest brother in Mario Puzo's book "The Godfather". Sonny was headstrong, outspoken, and a slave to his passions; just like ol' Laban.

    Gen 24:34 . . I am Abraham's servant: he began.

    I think it's commendable that this man, so far from home, didn't introduce himself by his own name but rather by the name of the one whom he represented.

    Gen 24:35 . .The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become rich: He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and burros.

    I love the way this man gives credit to Yhvh for Abraham's good fortune rather than to idols, heathen deities, dumb luck, brute force, fortuitous circumstance, and/or Abraham's business skills.

    It was important that the man tell Becky's family about Abraham's religion, and about his wealth, because in a moment he's going to drop a 2,000 lb bunker buster that will change their lives forever.

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  19. WebersHome

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    Genesis 24:36-53


    Gen 24:36a . . And Sarah, my master's wife, bore my master a son in her old age

    Curiously, he doesn't mention Sarah's passing. But then, the Scriptures don't record every word that people ever spoke-- just excerpts really. Back in verse 30, Becky's entire experience at the spring is recounted in a very simple phrase: "Thus the man spoke to me."

    If Becky wasn't listening before, you can just bet your equity line that her little ears perked up like a NORAD radar station at the mention of Abraham's son. And not just a son, but a son born in Sarah's old age; which would mean that Abraham's boy was relatively young, or at least age-appropriate for her liking-- and maybe available too.

    Americans don't take marriage serious enough. It was life or death in those days. Ancient women didn't have the advantages of modern careers, open promiscuity, and independence like the women in twenty-first century America. Family life was all that really mattered to the women of old. It was their career goal and it was their old age security. Single women were failures and most likely headed for poverty. And some even felt it was an evidence of Divine disfavor to become an old maid-- which only served to aggravate their despair even more. So when those women got married and/or had a baby; it was a very big cause for celebration.

    Gen 24:36b . . and he has assigned to him everything he owns.

    It's no doubt obvious by now to everyone in the house where the servant is going with his narrative. Why else would he tell of the son's inheritance if not to impress Becky's family in order to secure her for the son's bride?

    Gen 24:37-41 . . Now my master made me swear, saying: You shall not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I dwell; but you shall go to my father's house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son. And I said to my master: What if the woman does not follow me?

    . . . He replied to me: The Lord, whose ways I have followed, will send His angel with you and make your errand successful; and you will get a wife for my son from my kindred, from my father's house. Thus only shall you be freed from my adjuration: if, when you come to my kindred, they refuse you--only then shall you be freed from my adjuration.


    The "kindred" who might refuse the servant, includes the potential bride herself because Abraham said so at Gen 24:8.

    In the ancient East, daughters were often given in arranged marriages without their consent. And normally, if Becky's kin were to say she was going to marry Isaac, well then she was going to marry Isaac and that was the end of discussion. Up ahead, we'll see that very fate befall Becky's nieces: Rachel and Leah.

    But Abraham didn't want Isaac's bride to be purchased. No. In this case, Abraham broke with tradition and mandated the prospective bride herself cast the deciding vote. So if Becky refuses, the servant can't be blamed for dereliction of duty; and nobody is going to handcuff Becky and ship her off to Palestine via UPS ground. Abraham wants her to come down there of her own volition; and if not, then he'll look elsewhere . . . and no hard feelings about it.

    Gen 24:42-48 . . This portion is pretty much what went on before except that in this version, the family is told how Becky came to have the nose ring and the arm bands.

    Becky hadn't known till just now that the servant prayed for special providence prior to her arrival at the spring-- the part concerning drinking the maiden's water, and her serving the camels. Becky must have been totally astonished to think that the actual True God led that man, not just to her doorstep, but right smack dab to her footsteps. Wow!

    But she had no say in the negotiations at this point. Proposals were made to the senior members of the family in those days, not to the girl.

    Gen 24:49-51 . . And now, if you mean to treat my master with true kindness, tell me; and if not, tell me also, that I may turn right or left. Then Laban and Bethuel answered: The matter was decreed by Yhvh; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Here is Rebecca before you; take her and go, and let her be a wife to your master's son, as the Lord has spoken.

    Actually Bethuel himself didn't say anything. Laban spoke in proxy for him in the same way that the steward was now speaking as Abraham in Isaac's best interests. Bethuel and Laban may have had a quiet pow-wow off to the side and then Laban came forward and announced their decision.

    At this point, Becky would have normally become legally engaged to marry Isaac. But Abraham would not permit the marriage to be set in stone until the girl actually consented for herself. So it's not over yet.

    Gen 24:52 . .When Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed low to the ground before the Lord.

    Abraham's steward is one of the most pious men in the Bible, and people like him can be very influential for God. If you've ever been in the presence of someone like him you know what I'm saying. All the prayers I learned as a child were rote; just a memorized litany of chant-like mantras. The first time I overheard someone pray candidly, from the heart, it was very moving.

    Gen 24:53 . .The servant brought out items of silver and gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebecca; and he gave presents to her brother and her mother.

    The gifts were a good-faith token that the servant meant what he said; and I've no doubt that had Becky ultimately refused, he would not have demanded them back.

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  20. WebersHome

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    Genesis 24:54-61a


    Gen 24:54-55 . .Then he and the men with him ate and drank, and they spent the night. When they arose next morning, he said: Give me leave to go to my master. But her brother and her mother said: Let the maiden remain with us some ten days; then you may go.

    Their request was reasonable. After all, this was all so sudden. They didn't even have a chance to announce the engagement nor organize a bridal shower. Becky's friends would all want to come over to the house and ooo and ahhh the jewelry and go nuts over the exotic fashions from Canaan. And they would all want to give her one last hug and wish blessings on her new life. What's so wrong with that? There's nothing wrong with that; but Abraham's wishes have to take priority in this matter. (cf. Luke 9:61-62)

    Gen 24:56-57a . . He said to them: Do not delay me, now that The Lord has made my errand successful. Give me leave that I may go to my master.

    Abraham probably had a pretty good idea how long his servant should be gone; and if the return was delayed, Abraham might begin to become anxious and wonder what was going on up there in Haran what with no internet email, telephones, HAM radio, telegraph, nor even any way to send a post card back home.

    Becky has now agreed to be Isaac's bride. She made that decision the moment she accepted clothing and jewelry that were offered to her in Isaac's name. The big question now is: how much longer does she wish to remain a maiden before becoming a married woman with a home of her own?

    Gen 24:57b-58 . . And they said: Let us call the girl and ask for her reply. They called Rebecca and said to her: Will you go with this man? And she said: I will.

    Exactly what so strongly motivated Becky to agree to leave home on such short notice is open to speculation. Some feel it was because, unknown to the writer of Genesis, she had been praying for The Lord's providence in this very matter of finding the right man. The events of the previous evening were enough to convince Becky that this was truly divine providence; and she wasn't about to procrastinate now and louse up her chances for God-given happiness and security. That man was leaving, and the soon-to-be Mrs. Isaac ben Abraham was not going to miss her ride; uh-uh, no way!

    Gen 24:59a . . So they sent off their sister Rebecca

    The word for "sister" is from 'achowth (aw-khoth') and isn't limited to siblings. It applies to all manner of female kin-- sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces; even to a lover, as in Song 4:9-12.

    You can imagine the flurry that went on in that house getting Becky's bags packed on such short notice. You can bet there was no joy around there that morning. An air of sadness marked her departure. Everyone was no doubt well aware they would likely never see Becky ever again. In those days, when somebody moved 500 miles away, they might just as well have gone to Pluto.

    Gen 24:59b . . and her nurse along with Abraham's servant and his men.

    The word for "nurse" is from yanaq (yaw-nak') and implies wet nursing. This may be an indication that, for reasons unspecified, Rebecca's mom was unable to breast feed her children. In Mesopotamia, wet nurses frequently had the additional duties of bringing up the child and acting as their guardian; viz: a nanny. The nurse (whose name is Deborah; Gen 35:8) was probably either Becky's first choice as personal assistant, or Deborah herself just couldn't part with her little Becky and volunteered to go along as a chaperon. It's not unusual for mentors, like Helen Keller's tutor Anne Sullivan, to become permanently bonded and dedicated to their charges.

    Gen 24:60 . . And they blessed Rebecca and said to her: O sister! May you grow into thousands of myriads; may your offspring seize the gates of their foes.

    That prophetic bon voyage was undoubtedly an acknowledgement of the promises God made to Abraham following the Akedah (Gen 22:15-18). Abraham's steward spent the night in Becky's home; and while eating dinner and chatting, no doubt shared many wonderful events from Abraham's and Isaac's lives to which Becky's family must have listened just as spellbound as all of us who study Genesis in our own day and age.

    The Akedah surely must have been to them almost beyond belief that God would ask Abraham to sacrifice the very son in whom all the promises would be fulfilled. No wonder Becky was so ready to go. She just had to get on down there and see this man in whom God had taken such a particular interest.

    Gen 24:61a . .Then Rebecca and her maids arose, mounted the camels, and followed the man.

    The word for "maids" is from na'arah (nah-ar-aw') and means a young, underage girl. A Bible maid is just a lass, not really a grown up adult woman. She could be a pre teen or a late teen and any age in between. It wasn't unusual for a woman from a family of means to have a retinue of young girls in attendance. Becky's maids possibly were the children of her home's adult servants.

    Then too, young girls were often indentured into maid service. Sometimes it was because of parental greed, but often it was because the family was in poverty and desperate. In the last decade alone, many families in Afghanistan were forced to sell their children just to survive the Taliban ruin of their country. Sometimes young girls were fortunes of war in Becky's day and could be bought and sold at market; for example the Jewish damsel in 2Kgs 5:1-3 who helped Naaman get his leprosy cured.

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