Genesis 21-35 The beloved son…Isaac, cont’d.
Genesis 23:1-2-Sarah dies at 127 years old…while they were living in Hebron. He went to the people who lived in the land, “sons of Heth”…they were Hittites, descendants of Ham and Canaan (cf. 10:15) and requested that they allow him to buy property (the cave of Machpelah) where he could bury Sarah. The owner of the property, Ephron the Hittite, wanted to sell Abraham the entire piece of property that the cave was on, not just the cave. Whoever owned the property had to pay dues (taxes) on it and Ephron didn’t want to have to do so when Abraham was the one who was using it and benefiting from it. So, Abraham agreed to buy the entire piece of property for 400 shekels of silver. Later, not only would Sarah be buried here, but Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob were buried there, as well (Genesis 25:9; 49:31; 50:13). Modern archaeologists have identified two caves (one above the other) that they believe may actually be this cave. They are located beneath the great mosque in the center of modern Hebron. The term “gate of his city” (:10,18) speaks of the fact that it was the common practice for the leading officials of the city to sit outside the main gate that led into the city in order to perform civic functions and commercial business (it was the town hall or courthouse of their day). Because of this, the term “gate” came to speak of the place of power, or the person in power (cf. Matt. 16:18-“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”).
Genesis 24:1-9-Abraham (about 140 years old) is concerned that his son, Isaac (about 40 years old, cf. 25:20), only marry someone within the family, not a foreigner. He calls his servant (probably Eliezer, cf. 15:2) and gives him very specific directions…making it absolutely clear that he is not to take a wife for Isaac from among the local people (they did not know the one, true God). In doing so, he makes him take an oath that he will do exactly as he is told. The words “Please place your hand under my thigh”…
24:2 …thigh (cf. 47:29) is a euphemism for the procreative organ. This act either symbolized that the yet unborn children would avenge any violation of the oath, or solemnized the oath in the name of God who gave circumcision as the sign of his covenant.
The Ryrie Study Bible, Genesis 24:2, footnote, p. 42
Genesis 24:10-27-The servant travels to the city of Nahor (Abraham’s brother, Genesis 11:24-26)…in Mesopotamia (near the city of Haran, a journey of about 500 miles). He is very specific in his prayer, asking God to make it very clear when He identifies the woman that he is to bring back to Isaac. This is accomplished when he meets Rebekah (granddaughter of Nahor, daughter of Bethuel). The King James Version helps us to understand an important truth found here. “I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren" (24:27). As the servant was being obedient to his master, the Lord gave him additional direction. Had he simply sat and waited (even praying) he possibly would not have received guidance.
Genesis 24:28-49-Abraham’s servant gives a detailed account of the reason for his journey and how his prayer was answered. It is interesting that it is Rebekah’s brother Laban who was the one who ran out to meet Abraham's servant. 24:30 says that he did so when he saw the ring and bracelets. Later, when Jacob goes there and marries Laban's daughters it is money that becomes Laban's motivating factor for not allowing them to leave.
Genesis 24:50-53-After the servant has concluded his story, Laban and Bethuel agreed to allow Rebekah to marry Isaac. He then gives gifts to Rebekah and her family. This was intended to demonstrate that Isaac was financially competent and that Rebekah would be well taken care of.
Genesis 24:54-61-The next morning the servant (and the men with him), Rebekah (and her nurse and maids, :59,61) left on their journey to return to Abraham in Canaan.
Genesis 24:62-67-Isaac and Rebekah are married.
Prayer: Father, help me to have discernment in matters so that I will know when to wait, and when to move forward. Don’t let me sit back and do nothing…waiting on You to give me direction…when I already have enough information to begin. Show me how to move forward with what I already know and to have faith that You will give me additional information as I need it.