Genesis Chapter 24: Finding a Wife for Isaac, Eliezer Meets Rebekah at the Well, Isaac and Rebekah Wed.

Feb 17th, 2010 | By | Category: Genesis, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Genesis Chapter 24: Finding a Wife for Isaac, Eliezer Meets Rebekah at the Well, Isaac and Rebekah Wed.

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

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

Gen. 24:3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:

Gen. 24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

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

Gen. 24:6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.

Gen. 24:7 The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

Gen. 24:8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.

Gen. 24:9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.

Note the carefulness with which Abraham wanted Eliezer to select a wife for Isaac. The spiritual lesson is that if we consecrate in the single state and decide to marry, we should marry one in the household of faith. We are not to return to an environment that is not conducive to spirituality.

The mood changes in this chapter. Sarah had died and Abraham was old. He felt his days were numbered, even though he lived for a while yet. (Abraham was 137 when Sarah died, and he lived until he reached the age of 175.) Abraham wanted Isaac to marry the proper girl so that faith would not be interfered with. The solemnity of the oath Eliezer took also suggests that Abraham thought he might die soon.

Abraham’s instructions to Eliezer in selecting a bride for Isaac were as follows:

1. The woman could not be a Canaanite.

2. Isaac could not go to live in Ur.

Why was Isaac not to become a resident of Ur? Even though Abraham was a stranger in Canaan, this was the land promised for an inheritance. To leave the land would mean he was not living the promise. Therefore, Isaac not only had to have the right wife but also had to remain in Canaan.

This incident happened not long after Sarah’s death, so Isaac was still grieving for his mother. Getting a wife would compensate for her loss. When Rebekah eventually arrived, Isaac brought her into his mother’s tent (Gen. 24:67).

Eliezer came from Damascus (Gen. 15:2). As the oldest servant of Abraham, he represented the Holy Spirit, the oldest servant of God. The Holy Spirit predated Jesus, just as Eliezer existed before Isaac was born. Jesus did only the things the Father had said; in other words, Jesus was taught. Hence he esteemed both God and His Spirit (or Word) as being superior to himself. Eliezer (the Holy Spirit) was sent on a mission to procure a bride for Isaac (Jesus). Abraham trusted that the Holy Spirit would select the one right woman, for if that woman was not willing to return with Eliezer, the servant would be free from his oath. The point is that Eliezer was not to choose one woman and then another and another, etc. And Eliezer had that idea, too, in praying for God’s assistance in finding a bride for Isaac.

Putting the hand under the thigh in making a promise or an oath was an ancient custom. If an individual felt he was going to die and pass off the scene, he could exact a solemn promise. He would have a person put his hand below the generating organs to indicate the promise was to be fulfilled not only to the individual himself but also to the individual’s seed. This was the most solemn type of oath. It was as if to say, “Though I pass off the scene, this is your responsibility to me and to my seed.” Abraham did that to Eliezer, and Jacob did that to Joseph (Gen. 47:29).

The word “thigh” should be “loins,” meaning the generating organs. If Abraham had died, Eliezer would still be bound by the oath. Abraham had great trust in Eliezer. At one time, Abraham thought Eliezer would be the heir to the promise (Gen. 15:2,3).

Sarah’s death occurred before Isaac’s marriage. Since Sarah pictures the new Jerusalem, the mother of us all, a covenant, how do we explain that the type shows the Sarah Covenant expiring before the marriage? Before the Church is complete beyond the veil, it will be complete from God’s standpoint because He will know who of those still in the flesh will be faithful to complete the 144,000. Hence at that point, when God can foresee that the full number will be reached, He will cease to call new ones to consecrate. Thus the call will cease before the marriage takes place, and the marriage will occur after the door is closed, as shown in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. When the door was closed in the parable, “they that were ready went in with him to the marriage” (Matt. 25:10). The door of opportunity is still open at the present time, but it will close from God’s standpoint before we realize it down here. From three different perspectives, there are three closings of the door, as follows:

1. The first closing of the door will take place when the call ends. The call is an invitation to the high calling. Only God will know of this closing. In 1881, when the general call ended, if all of the called had been faithful, the door would have closed. After 1881, the call was selective. We are in a gleaning period today. As long as the call remains open, there is a bona fide opportunity for the respondent to make his or her calling and election sure.

2. The second closing of the door will occur when all 144,000 are gathered beyond the veil. The complete Church will know at that time. At the present time, the risen saints probably do not know who of the consecrated still in the flesh will be faithful, but when the last members go beyond the veil to the marriage, the 144,000 will know.

3. The third closing of the door pertains to those of the consecrated still down here when the Church is complete, although they will not know the exact moment of the completion. Shortly afterwards, however, they will know because of the events that will take place. The remaining consecrated will try to get in the door only to be informed, “It is too late. The bride has made herself ready, but it is a blessing to be even invited to the marriage supper” (Rev. 19:9). The remaining consecrated will be informed by a message, but it will take other, more visible events for them to discern that the door must be closed. And among the consecrated who remain behind, those with present truth will know ahead of those still in the nominal system. Just as with the time of trouble, the closing of the door has different perspectives. The door will be closed down here before all of the Little Flock have gone beyond the veil. First, the crystallization of character takes place—those individuals will make their calling and election sure—but then they have to stand in faithfulness.

Q: At what time will the Sarah Covenant no longer be in effect?

A: That will happen when there is no more calling to a spiritual hope, for there is one calling only—and thus no calling to a Great Company. When the door closes to the high calling, there will be no more spirit-begettal to a spirit nature. In order for any to be part of the Great Company, they must be spirit-begotten and have first run for the prize. In other words, the Great Company runs for the prize but fails; they are begotten with that hope. Hence when the door closes, no more will be called to be of the bride of Christ. The Great Company is a byproduct.  (This same principle also applied to the comparable “Great Company” class of ages prior to the Gospel Age.)

Q: How can Little Flock members still be in the flesh, and how can God be dealing with them, unless there is a Sarah or Grace Covenant in existence?

A: The principle was the same with Abraham. The angels said, “Shall we not disclose to Abraham what will happen to Sodom, seeing that he will be faithful?” (Gen. 18:16-19 paraphrase).

In other words, he was a crystallized character at that time, and the angels could see that his character would secure to him the inheritance.

The Sarah Covenant is like a mother. When a mother brings forth a child, she nurses it, etc. The antitypical Isaac goes into the covenant (Sarah’s tent), but the covenant ends as respects the calling of any new ones when there is a sufficiency of those already here who will be faithful. Isaac went into the tent in fulfillment of the covenant after Sarah had died. Stated another way, the personal death of Sarah herself pictures the end of the call, but the covenant arrangement is pictured by the tent, into which Isaac and Rebekah go. Thus the Sarah Covenant remains, but it is no longer active in the sense of new development. It may be obvious, but the representations in the type are as follows: Abraham pictures God, Isaac pictures Jesus, Eliezer pictures the Holy Spirit, and Rebekah pictures the bride of Christ.

Gen. 24:10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.

The ten camels are a symbol of the nominal Church. The number 10 is indicative of this side of the veil, as in the ten toes, the ten virgins, and the ten horns.

“All” of Abraham’s goods were in Eliezer’s hands; that is, the Holy Spirit operates in different ways and through various agencies. The Holy Spirit is a channel; it is like a life-supplying sap or electricity that furnishes the Christian, through Christ, all his spiritual needs and temporal necessities.

Eliezer went to Mesopotamia. “Potomac” means “river”; hence the plural “Mesopotamia” signifies “between the two rivers.” The city of Nahor was in Mesopotamia. Nahor was mentioned because of the requirement that Isaac’s bride come from family and/or relatives. To travel all the way to Mesopotamia was a long trip for Eliezer to make with the ten camels.

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

Eliezer made his camels kneel down outside the city of Nahor near a well of water at “evening” (3 p.m.), the time women came out to draw water. How providential that Eliezer should arrive at this time! The well of water pictures the water of truth, the Word of God. “Evening” represents the beginning of the Gospel Age. (Remember, the Hebrew day began and ended with evening.) Incidentally, camels are patient but make much noise. They characteristically kneel down near a well and wait for water to be brought.

Gen. 24:12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham.

Gen. 24:13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:

Gen. 24:14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shown kindness unto my master.

Eliezer prayed that God would speedily show kindness to Abraham. (The answer came so fast that he almost could not believe it!) He prayed that when he would say, “Let down your pitcher so I may drink,” he would recognize the bride for Isaac by her reply, “Drink, and I will also bring water for your camels.” Eliezer laid down stipulations: the fleece, as it were. What an extraordinary test—that the woman would water all ten camels! He was looking for a bride with the proper attitude, one who was willing to go beyond what was required and render more out of love. Not only did Eliezer want a miracle, but also he wanted it right away and at this particular well. He did not desire to tarry in his mission.

It is interesting that even though the bride had to come from a particular family, Eliezer did not ask to see those women first and then set the test. He just laid down the stipulations openly. Later it was confirmed that Rebekah was of the right family.

We see here an antitypical oneness between the Holy Spirit and the Father. The Holy Spirit acts on behalf of and in harmony with the Father. Eliezer knew that the well was there and that it was time for the women, as was customary, to draw water. Incidentally, Abraham could have sent Isaac to get his own bride. By Abraham’s sending Eliezer, the type harmonizes with the antitype, for God selects the bride through the Holy Spirit.

The prospective bride of her own volition had to leave the country from whence she came to go and meet Isaac. Jesus said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out [in the initial reception]” (John 6:37). He also said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden [weary], and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). It is an invitation, but the response has to be self-determination.

Isaac was in the Land of Promise, and it would not have been proper for him to leave it. The promise was given to Abraham and his seed. Abraham now thought he was dying, as proved by the nature of the vow between him and Eliezer, his servant. However, Abraham lived another 40 years or so. The type occurred providentially at this time.

Camels drink a tremendous amount of water. They drink and store enough water for a couple of weeks. Hence for a woman to volunteer to draw water for ten camels is unbelievable!

Probably the Lord was merciful by arranging that the camels had drunk some water earlier.

Nevertheless, Rebekah had to make repeated trips down the steps to the well and then carry the heavy filled vase back up to the camels (Gen. 24:16).

The Holy Spirit (Eliezer) desired to do the Father’s (Abraham’s) will. The Holy Spirit was manifested in Jesus by the statements he made.

Gen. 24:15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.

Gen. 24:16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

Eliezer got a fast answer to his prayer: “It came to pass, before he had done speaking….” As Rebekah approached, Eliezer saw that she was young and beautiful. It was providentially arranged that Rebekah should come out alone with a pitcher on her shoulder, for usually two or more women were together. A circular stairway led down to the well. There Rebekah filled her pitcher and came up.

Ezra added certain details later such as Rebekah’s family relationship and the fact that she was a virgin. Nahor, Abraham’s brother, and Milcah bore Bethuel, who had a daughter, Rebekah.

Gen. 24:17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.

Eliezer, who would have been a little distance away, ran to meet Rebekah.

Gen. 24:18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.

Notice Rebekah’s attitude. She “hasted” to get water for Eliezer to drink. She had concern for an older man of repute (the ten camels would have made her think he was important).

Gen. 24:19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.

After she had given Eliezer water to drink, she said she would also draw water for the camels until they had finished drinking.

Gen. 24:20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.

The “trough” was a receptacle into which water was poured for the animals to drink. Rebekah emptied into the trough the water Eliezer did not want and then ran back to the well to draw water for all ten camels.

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

Everything had happened so fast that Eliezer did not know if his prayer was being answered.

Gen. 24:22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;

By the time all ten camels had finished drinking, Eliezer was sure Rebekah was the bride for Isaac. Sometimes we have experiences like Eliezer. We pray earnestly about a matter, and then the prayer is answered so quickly that months or years pass before we realize the answer was given. Then we feel ashamed. At times, we pray and fail to watch; at other times, we watch but do not pray.

Eliezer put a gold earring in Rebekah’s nose and two gold bracelets on her wrists. A ring is a symbol of consecration, a divine covenant. If a ring is put in a bull’s nose, that strong, dangerous animal can be easily led about because the nose is tender. Of course consecration and the doing of God’s will are voluntary, but a ring in the nose carries the thought of being led in consecration.

The ring was given before Rebekah said anything. Therefore, in this case, the ring represents the hope of consecration. Before consecration, we had some information about God and Jesus. We knew that there is to be a bride class, that suffering with him will result in reigning with him, etc. Although the details of God’s plan were not understood, we knew that we would benefit if we gave our heart to Him and that we would get life for faithfulness unto death. The bracelets, which were also given before Rebekah said “I do,” represent the hope of activity in God’s service. The earring weighed a half shekel. The ransom/atonement money for each Israelite delivered through the Red Sea was a bekah, that is, a half shekel. Hence a ring is associated with redemption, with being delivered from the kingdom of darkness; it is a remembrance of the Ransom price that Jesus paid.

The Word of God was forgotten for a period in Israel’s history until Ezra got the scrolls and pieced them together in harmonious fashion, adding comments where appropriate. Ezra found the scrolls in the library in Babylon. Incidentally, there is no original New Testament. Our translations are based on old manuscripts but not the original. The Sinaitic is the most reliable manuscript, but it is not perfect. The Vatican Manuscript dates back to the same century.

Gen. 24:23 And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in?

Gen. 24:24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.

Gen. 24:25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.

Gen. 24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD.

When Eliezer asked Rebekah whose daughter she was, she replied that she was of Nahor’s lineage. Upon hearing these words, Eliezer bowed his head and worshipped God—a natural reaction. He thanked God for fulfilling the mission, for providing a bride for Isaac. The servants with Eliezer represent God’s agencies that help in the selection and development of the bride.

Gen. 24:27 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.

Since Abraham was getting old, Eliezer was happy that the prayer was answered quickly and that Abraham would not be left destitute.

Gen. 24:28 And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things.

Rebekah ran back to her mother’s house. Since she could not have run with a big, heavy pitcher, the implication is that she was so excited she did not carry water back. Once there, it would have taken time for her to narrate the events.

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

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

When Laban saw the gold ring and bracelets and heard Rebekah’s words, he went out to greet Eliezer, who had been standing by the well all that time.

Gen. 24:31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.

Laban invited Eliezer to come home with him.

Gen. 24:32 And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him.

Laban ungirded Eliezer’s camels, gave them straw and food, and provided Eliezer with water for washing his feet and the feet of his servants.

Gen. 24:33 And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.

When food was served, Eliezer devotedly would not eat until he had told his errand. God’s will came first; the eating was secondary. In the antitype, the Holy Spirit acts immediately and without distraction or diversion, as shown by the four living beings, who go straight out and back on an errand (Ezek. 1:12).

Gen. 24:34 And he said, I am Abraham’s servant.

Gen. 24:35 And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.

Gen. 24:36 And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath.

Gen. 24:37 And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell:

Gen. 24:38 But thou shalt go unto my father’s house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son.

Gen. 24:39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.

Gen. 24:40 And he said unto me, The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father’s house:

Gen. 24:41 Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my k indred; andif they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath.

Gen. 24:42 And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go:

Gen. 24:43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;

Gen. 24:44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master’s son.

Gen. 24:45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.

Gen. 24:46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also.

Gen. 24:47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.

Gen. 24:48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son.

In verses 34-48, Eliezer carefully reiterated all that had happened and in sequence. He wanted to make sure that everyone present was aware of the providential circumstances so that he would, hopefully, get a favorable answer.

Eliezer mentioned Sarah, who bore “a son … when she was old.” Being a daughter of Haran, Sarah was also related. The lineage was Terah, Haran, and Sarah.

The “angel” of verse 40 was literally either the Logos or Gabriel. In the antitype, the Holy Spirit has various distributions. Whether an “angel” is the wind or something else, the Holy Spirit just carries out the errand.

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

“Tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left”; that is, “Tell me so that I may know what to do.” The right hand would be favorable, and the left hand would be negative. If the response was negative, Eliezer would be released from his oath.

Gen. 24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.

Gen. 24:51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken.

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

Gen. 24:53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.

Gen. 24:54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.

Gen. 24:55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.

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

Gen. 24:57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth.

Gen. 24:58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.

After Eliezer’s reiteration of all events, the members of Rebekah’s family could not say no, so they left the matter up to Rebekah. Her response, “I will go!” was the climax. She was ready to go without any hemming and hawing. That was quick decision making, for the encounter at the well had taken place only the “evening” before, and now it was morning.

The family wanted her to wait a little while—”a few days, at the least ten,” that is, a month or at least ten days—but she would not hear of a delay. She was willing to leave her father’s house immediately. The lesson for us is to be careful not to let “duty love” for family wean us away from spiritual things. However, we should not be disrespectful toward unconsecrated family members; it would be wrong to take no cognizance of them. The point is not to get entangled. Consecration is a definite cleavage and determination for leaving. One can consecrate and stay in the same home, but it should be made clear that the Lord’s will comes first.

Bethuel was present and alive but probably feeble and incapacitated, perhaps suffering from something like senility. Therefore, the gifts were given not to him but to Laban and to Rebekah’s mother (Gen. 24:50,53).

Rebekah, representing the Church, received gifts: jewels of silver (truth), jewels of gold (divine blessings), and raiment (the imputed robe of Christ’s righteousness). Before the Lord drew us and we consecrated, we were not new creatures. It was the old nature that responded. (For that very reason, natural signs were given to natural men at Jesus’ resurrection.) The truths that came to us initially were given to the old mind to consider, and the old mind made the decision to consecrate. Many refuse the high calling when they get an opportunity. They delay a little, and as they procrastinate, the old mind reasons, “Wait; think it over.” It is important not to tarry.

The old man has to agree to consecrate. That is what happened with Terah, who went with Abraham. The Bible says that Terah took Abraham. Abraham reasoned with his father on what God had said. Then Terah, as the head of the family, consented, and they left Ur of the Chaldees. However, a further separation was necessary, that is, of Abraham from Terah. Terah had to die before Abraham could enter the Promised Land.

Gen. 24:59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men.

Gen. 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

Gen. 24:61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

Laban and Rebekah’s mother sent Rebekah away, along with her nurse and “damsels,” or bridesmaids. Eliezer and the men with him left also. The fact that Rebekah’s nurse accompanied her indicates she was fairly young. The nurse had brought her up, being like a second mother. Genesis 35:8 mentions Rebekah’s nurse by name: Deborah.

Laban and Rebekah’s mother realized that Rebekah was taking an important step. Although Rebekah was their sister and daughter, respectively, they wished her a blessing that was on a higher level; namely, “Be thou the mother of thousands of millions [that is, billions], and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.” The blessing constituted a prophecy, even though it came from their mouth. Similarly, Balaam uttered an important prophecy despite his disobedience. And so did Caiaphas, who said, “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” (John 11:50). The next verse tells us that Caiaphas spoke this prophecy through the Spirit: “And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation” (John 11:51).

“Let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.” Abraham was also told that his seed would possess the gate of its enemies (Gen. 22:17). God promised to bless those who blessed Abraham’s seed and to curse those who cursed his seed (Gen. 12:3). For Laban and Rebekah’s mother to repeat some of these words shows that the family was aware of the Abrahamic promise, which was originally given while Abraham was still in Ur of the Chaldees. A “gate” was the means of ingress into and egress from a city by its citizenry; hence the one who controlled the gate controlled the city. Accordingly, the word “gate” in this context signifies “control.”

Rebekah arose with her damsels, and they rode upon the ten camels. They followed Eliezer, the “man,” Abraham’s servant, a representation of the Holy Spirit. The ten camels picture the nominal Church, and Rebekah’s damsels portray the Great Company. Thus verses 61-67 are a picture of the entire Gospel Age. Down through the age, the consecrated have been associated with the nominal Church. Jesus taught that the wheat and the tares would grow together until the time of Harvest; then Rebekah (the Little Flock) alights off the camel (comes out of Babylon). The Holy Spirit has led Rebekah and her damsels throughout the Gospel Age.

Gen. 24:62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahai-roi; for he dwelt in the south country.

The well Beer-lahai-roi, which means “the well of him that liveth and seeth me,” is where God spoke to the pregnant Hagar after she had fled from Sarah’s reprimand. There Hagar was told to return to her mistress, and she was given a prophecy about the yet-to-be-born Ishmael (Gen. 16:7-14). The prophecy was encouraging, for while the blessing would come through the other seed, Ishmael was to be a great one and would multiply exceedingly, but along more materialistic lines.

Although Isaac lived a bedouin existence, he dwelled at this time in the “south country,” the Negev, the lowest extremity. In order to preserve the picture of Isaac’s representing Jesus, not many details are given about his life. In contrast, there is much detail about Abraham and Jacob.

Gen. 24:63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.

Isaac (Jesus) went out to meditate (to pray or mourn according to some translations) in the field (the Christian world) at eventide (toward evening, that is, toward the close of the Gospel Age). Of course the Gospel Age is approximately 2,000 years long, and the last 100-plus years would be the close, the Harvest. Isaac’s going out in the field at eventide refers to the return of Christ at his Second Advent.

Isaac saw the ten camels coming. The men who accompanied Eliezer would be walking and guiding the camels as the damsels rode.

Gen. 24:64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.

Gen. 24:65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself.

When Rebekah saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel, for she had previously asked Eliezer, ”Who is the man walking in the field to meet us?” Rebekah then took a veil and covered her face.

In regard to the ten camels picturing the nominal Church, Rebekah’s getting off the camel takes on greater significance. The account does not say that the bridesmaids (the Great Company) got off the camels. Hence, in antitype, the spirit of nominalism is entertained by the foolish virgin class, even if they leave mystic Babylon. The wise virgin class are truly separate.

Camels are ships of the desert. If a desert guide loses his way, his camel is given free rein, for it has a sense of where there is water. In fact, the camel is a water carrier; it can travel long distances, for days, without having to drink again. The water-carrying trait is synonymous with the nominal system, which was formerly a golden cup in the Lord’s hand. The “cup” pictures truth, the divine promises that are in the Word of God, but much error was mixed in with truth as time went on. At one time, the nominal Church was more or less a steward of truth, but it proved unfaithful in the final analysis. The true Christian was in the nominal system down through the age—and especially during the 1,260-year desert period—for the wheat was to grow together with the tares until the end of the age. After the French Revolution, the separation of the host and the sanctuary class began from one standpoint, but the separation became more dramatic with the Harvest message.

Under “camel,” Young’s Analytical Concordance has the following: “It was often adorned with chains, treated with great care, esteemed a valuable prize, yet liable to plagues.” The description is interesting in regard to the antitype. The nominal system has ornately adorned cathedrals. Esteeming the building as a great prize, the systems have had more pride in the actual building than in Christian character development. And being “liable to plagues” would fit the antitype. Not only do the seven plagues of Revelation chapter 16 come upon the nominal system, but also the three plagues of Revelation 18:8 (death, mourning, and famine) will come upon Papacy in one day.

Rebekah’s taking a veil and covering herself show modesty, humility, and special preparation for her returned Lord. The time setting is between the beginning of the Second Advent and the marriage. Hence Rebekah’s covering herself with a veil can also pertain to the Church’s going beyond the veil and her death. According to bedouin and Arab custom, a married woman has to keep her face veiled in public. Hence from one standpoint, the picture is one of a marriage that has already taken place, but from another standpoint, it is a picture of one who is espoused, that is, before marriage. From the second perspective, the veil shows the woman’s meek consent to the arrangement, her harmony with the coming marriage. Her eyes are single for the Lord in antitype.

Song 1:7 reads, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside [as one that is veiled—see King James margin] by the flocks of thy companions?” The bride class asks for closer communication with Jesus, her espoused. The others seem to have a wonderful rapport with the Master, and she is like a veiled woman, like one shut out—as though joined to someone else. But Jesus is the one she wants. Other professed Christians seem to have all the joy, fellowship, and recognition, while the standing of the true Christian appears questionable.

The Church class is given the servile position of going out in the vineyards and getting sunburned and dark. She is the worker but does not get the recognition. Jesus counsels to follow “the footsteps of the flock,” the example of true Christians down through the age (Song 1:8). True Christians are espoused with the veil, whereas professed Christians are unveiled as if already married. Yearning for a closer walk with the Lord has been the experience of the true Church. Others seem to be prospering more because of their outward joy, but that joy is ephemeral, transitory, and superficial.

The two veilings—Genesis 24:65 and Song 1:7—do not contradict. The Lord has returned, and we are in the field at the present time. Some have gone beyond the veil and are unveiled. “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then [we will see] face to face [that is, be unveiled]” (1 Cor. 13:12 ). It is an espousal state down here. The marriage will occur beyond the veil. Our present state is like approaching the veil between the Holy and the Most Holy. Once in the Most Holy, we will be unveiled.

Eliezer said, “It is my master.” Earlier Abraham was called the master of Eliezer; here Isaac is given that title. The two thoughts can be harmonized by considering that the calling is of God, but we call Jesus our “Master.” All things were committed to the Son, and the type shows that in Abraham’s old age, Isaac was given more and more responsibility. Isaac was now 40 years old (Gen. 25:20). Abraham was age 140, but he did not die until he reached 175 (Gen. 25:7).

When Abraham sent Eliezer to get a bride for Isaac, he was 137, for Sarah was 127 when she died (Gen. 23:1), and Abraham was 10 years older. Hence Eliezer’s trip, including preparation time and a long journey in both directions, was a maximum of three years (140 – 137 = 3).

Gen. 24:66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.

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

Eliezer told Isaac all that had happened in finding Rebekah. Isaac would have realized from the providences that Rebekah was the bride God had selected for him. Rebekah’s sweet and loving spirit and desire to do the Lord’s will would be most apparent, and Isaac could not help loving her. Her attitude in watering the camels and her readiness to leave immediately were commendable and would have endeared her to Isaac and indicated that she was of the Lord. The type pointed to the antitype, for Jesus said that he would in no wise cast out those who came to him, for they were all called of God.

The type of Isaac and Rebekah shows that Jesus’ love for the Church is based on obedience to the Father’s will. Psalm 45:10,11 reads, “Forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; [and] so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty.” “Beauty” is not the outward appearance but the heart condition. Whoever loves the Father and obeys His Word with a more-thanovercoming spirit will be greatly loved by Jesus.

Once the antitypical Isaac and Rebekah enter Sarah’s tent, the covenant will be finished as regards that seed. That will be the soon-to-come fulfillment of the Sarah (or Grace) Covenant.

(1987–1989 Study)

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