Today we begin Genesis Chapter 24.
For the King James Version, click here.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
“I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ and she answered, ‘The daughter of B’tu’el son of Nachor, whom Milkah bore to him.’-Genesis 24:24
In my last post for Genesis chapter 22, I expressed some confusion as to why Abraham’s brother Nahor’s genealogy was mentioned.
Here is the reason: Rebecca, who will become Isaac’s wife, is one of the children of Betuel who is the son of Nahor who is the brother of Abraham.
Well, there you have it.
There is never a stray word in the Scriptures.
Okay, so Genesis chapter 24 is of great significance because it shows exactly how the baton from the first patriarch Abraham will now be passed on to the second patriarch Isaac.
In order for God’s promises to reach their complete fruition, it is imperative that Isaac gets himself a wife.
To achieve this end, we are related the tale of Abraham sending his most trustworthy servant Eliezer back to his Mesopotamian hometown on a mission to find his son a suitable partner.
God impresses upon Abraham that he is to get a wife for his son Isaac NOT from among the Canaanite women but from his hometown.
This makes sense.
If Abraham and his descendants are to eventually take over the land of Canaan, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to mix blood with the very people that God had already cursed to be Israel’s enemies.
In the ancient Middle East, intertribal or intercultural marriage occurred more out of a desire to forge a strategic alliance with one another rather than out of love.
The idea of marrying out of love is a western notion that would have been quite foreign to the ancients in Bible times.
What are we to make of Abraham telling Eliezer to “put your hand under my thigh“?
The expression “hand under my thigh” is a Hebrew idiom that refers to the male genitals.
This type of oath was significant because it is through circumcision of the male genitals that the Abrahamic covenant is realized.
What is interesting is that there is no record of this practice existing in any other culture at the time and it is only mentioned twice in the Bible.
Here and then later on in Genesis when Jacob blesses Joseph.