FTER the death of Sarah, Isaac, her son, was lonely; and as he was now old enough to marry, Abraham sought a wife for him; for in those countries the parents have always chosen the wives for their sons, and husbands for their daughters. Abraham did not wish Isaac to marry any woman of the people in the land where he was living, for they were all worshippers of idols, and would not teach their children the ways of the Lord. For the same reason, Abraham did not settle in one place, and build for himself and his people a city. By moving from place to place, Abraham kept his people apart.
You remember that when Abraham made his long journey to the land of Canaan (see Story Five), he stayed for a time at a place called Haran, in Mesopotamia, between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates, far to the northeast of Canaan. When Abraham left Haran to go to Canaan, his brother Nahor and his family stayed in Haran. They worshipped the Lord, as Abraham and his family did; and Abraham thought that it would be well to find among them a wife for his son Isaac.
As Abraham could not leave his own land of Canaan and go to Haran in Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son Isaac, he called his chief servant, Eliezer, the man whom he trusted, who cared for all his flocks and cattle, and who ruled over his other servants, and sent him to Haran to find a wife for his son Isaac.
And the servant took ten camels, and many presents and went on a long journey, and at last came to the city of Haran, where the family of Nahor, the brother of Abraham, was living. And at the well, just outside of the city, at the time of evening, he made his camels kneel down. Then the servant prayed to the Lord that he would send to him just the right young woman to be the wife of his master's son Isaac.
And just as the servant was praying, a beautiful young woman came to the well, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. As she drew the water and filled her pitcher, the servant came up and bowed to her, and said, "Will you kindly give me a drink of water from your pitcher?"
Abraham's servant meeting Rebekah at the well
And she said, "Drink, my lord," and she held her pitcher for him to drink. And then she said, "I will draw some water for your camels also to drink."
And she emptied her pitcher into the trough by the well, and drew more water, until she had given drink to all the camels.
And the servant of Abraham looked at her, and wondered whether she might be the right woman for Isaac to marry. And he said to her, "Will you tell me your name, young lady, and whose daughter you are? And do you suppose that I could find a place to stay at your father's house?" And then he gave her a gold ring and gold bracelets for her wrists. And the beautiful young woman said, "My name is Rebekah; and my father is Bethuel, who is the son of Nahor. You can come right to our house. We have room for you, and a place and food for your camels."
He gave her gold bracelets and a gold ring.
Then the man bowed his head and thanked God, for he saw that his prayer was answered, since this kind and lovely young woman was a cousin to Isaac, his master's son. And he told Rebekah that he was the servant of Abraham, who was so near a relative to her own family.
Then Rebekah ran home and told her parents of the stranger, and showed them the presents that he had given to her. And her brother Laban went out to the man, and brought him into the house, and found a place for his camels. And they washed his feet, for that was the custom of the land, where people did not wear shoes, but sandals: and they set the table for a supper, and asked him to sit down and eat with them. But the man said, "I will not eat until I have told my errand."
Abraham's servant shows the presents.
After this he told them all about Abraham's riches: and how Abraham had sent him to Haran to find a wife for Isaac, his son; and how he had met Rebekah, and felt sure that Rebekah was the one whom the Lord would choose for Isaac's wife: and then he asked that they would give him Rebekah to be taken home to be married to Isaac.
When he had told his errand, Laban, Rebekah's brother, and Bethuel, her father, said, "This comes from the Lord; it is his will; and it is not for us to oppose it. Here is Rebekah; take her, and let her be the wife of your master's son, for the Lord has shown it to be his will."
Then Abraham's servant gave rich presents to Rebekah, and to her mother, and her brother Laban. And that night they had a feast, with great joy. And the next morning Abraham's servant said, "Now I must go home to my master." But they said, "O, not so soon! Let Rebekah stay with us for a few days, ten days at least, before she goes away from her home."
And he said to them, "Do not hinder me; since God has given me what I came for, I must go back to my master."
And they called Rebekah, and asked her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go."
So the servant of Abraham went away, and took with him Rebekah, with good wishes, and blessings, and prayers, from all in her father's house. And after a long journey, they came to the place where Abraham and Isaac were living. And when Isaac saw Rebekah, he loved her; and she became his wife, and they were faithful to each other as long as they both lived.
Afterward Abraham, great and good man that he was, died, almost a hundred and eighty years old. And Isaac and Ishmael buried Abraham in the cave where Abraham had buried Sarah at Hebron. Then Isaac became the owner of all the riches of Abraham, his tents, and flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, and camels, and servants. Isaac was a peaceful, quiet man. He did not move his tents often, as his father had done, but stayed in one place nearly all his life.