Friday, November 26, 2010

Genesis 24:28- 61 Meeting Rebekah's Family

Rebekah runs ahead and informs her family about the visitors from Abraham's household.  Laban, her brother, hurries out to meet the man, who is waiting by the spring.(v.28-29)  Verse 30 gives further details:  "As soon as he had seen the nose ring and the bracelets on his sister's arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring." (Genesis 24:30 NIV)  In that culture, Laban would be both responsible for Rebekah's safety and also quite involved in the choice of her husband, so he would be very interested to meet this representative of his relatives, especially since Abraham's household seemed to be wealthy.  "Come, you who are blessed by the Lord," he said.  "Why are you standing out here?  I have prepared the house and a place for the camels." (Genesis 24:31 NIV)

The servant went with Laban to the house.  Camels were unloaded and given straw and fodder to eat, while the servant and the other men who had accompanied him -- [you didn't think he would be traveling alone with ten camels loaded with valuables, do you?] -- were given water to wash their feet.  Although food was set before him, the servant refused to eat until he had completed his master's assignment and disclosed his master's intentions. (v. 32-33)

Bethuel and Laban are listening intently as the servant reveals his mission.  In Genesis 24:34-48, the servant does a great job of recounting the entire conversation he had with Abraham and the events of the present day.  (Also, this repetition helps cement these details in our own memory.)  The servant concludes, "Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn." (Genesis 24:49 NIV)

"Laban and Bethuel answered, 'This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.  Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has directed." (Genesis 24:50-51 NIV)  Abraham's servant bows, then begins to unpack the gold and silver jewelry, clothing and other costly gifts which Abraham had provided for Rebekah and her family.  Then the servant and his companions ate and drank and spent the night there. (v.52-54)

The next morning, the servant insists on returning to his master in order to fully complete his task.  At first the family balks a bit, wishing them to remain for about ten days or so before they depart, but the servant is firm about the matter.  They decide to ask Rebekah her opinion, and she is willing to leave immediately.  "So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham's servant and his men.  And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

'Our sister, may you increase
to thousands upon thousands;
may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.'

Then Rebekah and her maids got ready and mounted their camels and went back with the man.  So the servant took Rebekah and left." (Genesis 24:59-61 NIV)

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