1 By now Abraham was an old man, well on in years, and Yahweh had blessed Abraham in every way.
2 Abraham said to the senior servant in his household, the steward of all his property, ‘Place your hand under my thigh:
3 I am going to make you swear by Yahweh, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live
4 but will go to my native land and my own kinsfolk to choose a wife for my son Isaac.’
5 The servant asked him, ‘What if the girl does not want to follow me to this country? Should I then take your son back to the country from which you come?’
6 Abraham replied, ‘On no account are you to take my son back there.
7 Yahweh, God of heaven and God of earth, who took me from my father’s home, and from the land of my kinsfolk, and who promised me on oath, “I shall give this country to your descendants”-he will now send his angel ahead of you, so that you can get a wife for my son from there.
8 If then the girl refuses to follow you, you will be quit of this oath to me. Only do not take my son back there.’
9 And the servant placed his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham, and swore to him that he would do it.
10 The servant took ten of his master’s camels and, carrying all kinds of gifts from his master, set out for the city of Nahor in Aram Naharaim.
11 In the evening, at the time when women come out to draw water, he made the camels kneel outside the town near the well.
12 And he said, ‘Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and show faithful love to my master Abraham.
13 While I stand by the spring as the young women from the town come out to draw water,
14 I shall say to one of the girls, “Please lower your pitcher and let me drink.” And if she answers, “Drink, and I shall water your camels too,” let her be the one you have decreed for your servant Isaac; by this I shall know you have shown faithful love to my master’
15 He had not finished speaking when out came Rebekah — who was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor — with a pitcher on her shoulder.
16 The girl was very beautiful, and a virgin; no man had touched her. She went down to the spring, filled her pitcher and came up again.
17 Running towards her, the servant said, ‘Please give me a sip of water from your pitcher.’
18 She replied, ‘Drink, my lord,’ and quickly lowered her pitcher on her arm and gave him a drink.
19 When she had finished letting him drink, she said, ‘I shall draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough.’
20 She quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran to the well again to draw, and drew for all the camels.
21 All the while, the man stood watching her, not daring to speak, wondering whether Yahweh had made his journey successful or not.
22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing half a shekel, and put it through her nose, and put two bracelets weighing ten gold shekels on her arms,
23 and said, ‘Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there room at your father’s house for us to spend the night?’
24 She replied, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son whom Milcah bore to Nahor.’
25 And she went on, ‘We have plenty of straw and fodder, and room to spend the night.’
26 Then the man bowed down and worshipped Yahweh
27 saying, ‘Blessed be Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, for not withholding his faithful love from my master. Yahweh has led me straight to the house of my master’s brother.’
28 The girl ran to her mother’s house to tell what had happened.
29 Now Rebekah had a brother called Laban, and Laban ran out to the man at the spring.
30 As soon as he had seen the ring and the bracelets his sister was wearing, and had heard his sister Rebekah saying, ‘This is what the man said to me,’ he went to the man and found him still standing by his camels at the spring.
31 He said to him, ‘Come in, blessed of Yahweh, why stay out here when I have cleared the house and made room for the camels?’
32 The man went to the house, and Laban unloaded the camels. He provided straw and fodder for the camels and water for him and his companions to wash their feet.
33 They offered him food, but he said, ‘I will eat nothing before I have said what I have to say.’ Laban said, ‘Speak.’
34 He said, ‘I am Abraham’s servant.
35 Yahweh has loaded my master with blessings, and Abraham is now very rich. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, men and women slaves, camels and donkeys.
36 Sarah, my master’s wife, bore my master a son in his old age, and he has made over all his property to him.
37 My master made me take this oath, “You are not to choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose country I live.
38 Instead, you are to go to my father’s home and to my own kinsfolk to choose a wife for my son.”
39 I said to my master, “Suppose the girl will not agree to come with me?”
40 and his reply was, “Yahweh, in whose presence I have walked, will send his angel with you and make your journey successful, for you to choose a wife for my son from my own kinsfolk, from my father’s house.
41 Then you will be quit of my curse: if you go to my family and they refuse you, you will be quit of my curse.”
42 Arriving today at the spring I said, “Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, please grant a successful outcome to the course I propose to take.
43 While I stand by the spring, if a girl comes out to draw water and I say to her, ‘Please give me a little water to drink from your pitcher,’
44 if she replies, ‘Drink by all means, and I shall draw water for your camels too,’ let her be the girl whom Yahweh has decreed for my master’s son.”
45 I was still saying this in my mind when Rebekah came out, her pitcher on her shoulder. She came down to the spring and drew water. I said to her, “Please give me a drink.”
46 Quickly she lowered her pitcher saying, “Drink, and I shall water your camels too.”
47 I asked her, “Whose daughter are you?” She replied, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, whom Milcah bore to Nahor.” Then I put this ring through her nose and these bracelets on her arms.
48 I bowed down and worshipped Yahweh, and I blessed Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, who had led me by a direct path to choose the daughter of my master’s brother for his son.
49 Now tell me whether you are prepared to show constant and faithful love to my master; if not, say so, and I shall know what to do.’
50 Laban and Bethuel replied, ‘This is from Yahweh; it is not for us to say yes or no to you.
51 Rebekah is there before you. Take her and go; and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as Yahweh has decreed.’
52 On hearing this, Abraham’s servant bowed to the ground before Yahweh.
53 He brought out silver and gold ornaments and clothes which he gave to Rebekah; he also gave rich presents to her brother and to her mother.
54 They ate and drank, he and his companions, and spent the night there. Next morning when they were up, he said, ‘Let me go back to my master.’
55 Rebekah’s brother and mother replied, ‘Let the girl stay with us for ten days or so; then she can go.’
56 But he replied, ‘Do not delay me, since Yahweh has made my journey successful; let me leave and go back to my master.’
57 They replied, ‘Let us call the girl and find out what she has to say.’
58 They called Rebekah and asked her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ She replied, ‘I will.’
59 Accordingly they let their sister Rebekah go, with her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men.
60 They blessed Rebekah and said to her: Sister of ours, from you may there spring thousands and tens of thousands! May your descendants gain possession of the gates of their enemies!
61 And forthwith, Rebekah and her maids mounted the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah and departed.
62 Isaac meanwhile had come back from the well of Lahai Roi and was living in the Negeb.
63 While Isaac was out walking towards evening in the fields, he looked up and saw camels approaching.
64 And Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac. She jumped down from her camel,
65 and asked the servant, ‘Who is that man walking through the fields towards us?’ The servant replied, ‘That is my master.’ So she took her veil and covered herself up.
66 The servant told Isaac the whole story.
67 Then Isaac took her into his tent. He married Rebekah and made her his wife. And in his love for her, Isaac was consoled for the loss of his mother.
1 I have seen all this with my own eyes, heard with my own ears and understood.
2 Whatever you know, I know too; I am in no way inferior to you.
3 But my words are intended for Shaddai; I mean to remonstrate with God.
4 As for you, you are only charlatans, all worthless as doctors!
5 Will no one teach you to be quiet — the only wisdom that becomes you!
6 Kindly listen to my accusation and give your attention to the way I shall plead.
7 Do you mean to defend God by prevarication and by dishonest argument,
8 and, taking his side like this, appoint yourselves as his advocates?
9 How would you fare, if he were to scrutinise you? Can he be duped as mortals are duped?
10 He would inflict a harsh rebuke on you for your covert partiality.
11 Does his majesty not affright you? Does his terror not overcome you?
12 Your received ideas are maxims of ash, your retorts, retorts of clay.
13 Be quiet! Kindly let me do the talking, happen to me what may.
14 I am putting my flesh between my teeth, I am taking my life in my hands;
15 let him kill me if he will; I have no other hope than to justify my conduct in his eyes.
16 And this is what will save me, for the wicked would not dare to appear before him.
17 Listen carefully to my words, and pay attention to what I am going to say.
18 You see, I shall proceed by form of law, knowing that I am upright.
19 Who wants to contest my case? In advance, I agree to be silenced and to die!
20 Only grant me two concessions, and then I shall not hide away from your face:
21 remove your hand, which lies so heavy on me, no longer make me cower from your terror.
22 Then call me forward and I shall answer, or rather, I shall speak and you will answer.
23 How many faults and crimes have I committed? Tell me what my misdeed has been, what my sin?
24 Why do you hide your face and look on me as your enemy?
25 Do you want to intimidate a wind-blown leaf, do you want to pursue a dry straw?
26 You who lay bitter allegations against me and tax me with the faults of my youth
27 and have put my feet in the stocks; you examine my every step and measure my footprints one by one!
28 For his part, he crumbles away like rotten wood, or like a moth-eaten garment,
1 a human being, born of woman, whose life is short but full of trouble.
2 Like a flower, such a one blossoms and withers, fleeting as a shadow, transient.
3 And this is the creature on whom you fix your gaze, and bring to judgement before you!
4 But will anyone produce the pure from what is impure? No one can!
5 Since his days are measured out, since his tale of months depends on you, since you assign him bounds he cannot pass,
6 turn your eyes from him, leave him alone, like a hired labourer, to finish his day in peace.
7 There is always hope for a tree: when felled, it can start its life again; its shoots continue to sprout.
8 Its roots may have grown old in the earth, its stump rotting in the ground,
9 but let it scent the water, and it buds, and puts out branches like a plant newly set.
10 But a human being? He dies, and dead he remains, breathes his last, and then where is he?
11 The waters of the sea will vanish, the rivers stop flowing and run dry:
12 a human being, once laid to rest, will never rise again, the heavens will wear out before he wakes up, or before he is roused from his sleep.
13 Will no one hide me in Sheol, and shelter me there till your anger is past, fixing a certain day for calling me to mind-
14 can the dead come back to life? – day after day of my service, I should be waiting for my relief to come.
15 Then you would call, and I should answer, you would want to see once more what you have made.
16 Whereas now you count every step I take, you would then stop spying on my sin;
17 you would seal up my crime in a bag, and put a cover over my fault.
18 Alas! Just as, eventually, the mountain falls down, the rock moves from its place,
19 water wears away the stones, the cloudburst erodes the soil; so you destroy whatever hope a person has.
20 You crush him once for all, and he is gone; first you disfigure him, then you dismiss him.
21 His children may rise to honours — he does not know it; they may come down in the world — he does not care.
22 He feels no pangs, except for his own body, makes no lament, except for his own self.
Proverbs 2 [16-19]
16 To keep you, too, from the woman who belongs to another, from the stranger, with her wheedling words;
17 she has left the partner of her younger days, she has forgotten the covenant of her God;
18 her house is tilting towards Death, down to the Shades go her paths.
19 Of those who go to her not one returns, they never regain the paths of life.
Thoughts and Reflections
Whether we know it or not, our dependance on God in our lives is essential. Here we have a story of Abraham’s servant, looking in the dark and trusting God, finds a bride for Isaac just as he had hoped. Knowing that God is looking out for us and working behind the scenes makes us feel secure. It is easy to feel unsecure when we do not understand he is providing for us but he is still present alongside us in the situation.
This, again, is hard for me at times. Even though I do believe in God and his mercy on us, I don’t know why (or maybe want to accept) why he allows bad things to happen to us. I do struggle at times keeping the faith when you are in the midst of pain and in the throws of a tornado.
How do you keep the faith and belief that God is still present alongside us?
About this Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!