LOVE AT FIRST SITE
It was true love, sweetly romantic, and is a wild story. Enjoy one of the sweeter chapters in all scripture.
Sarah is dead and Abraham is on his way, though the Patriarch prospered in the land, his family lives holding onto a future promise.
Isaac cannot leave in search of a wife, in fact, he will never leave the land of his birth, staking out a permanent claim to the land God gifted to his father, and with no godly wife found among the local Canaanite people, Abraham asked an unnamed servant for help.
THE SERVANT AND THE THIGH
Abraham asked his servant to go on a 500-mile road trip, to the land of his birth, Mesopotamia, in order to bring back a godly virgin wife for Isaac.
Ancient Rabbi’s tell us those tribal men sometimes made oaths through tribal gestures, which to us might seem a bit vulgar. For example, if the request was serious enough, a man sometimes grabbed the privates of the other and swore an oath of allegiance. Obviously grabbing that part of the male body and swearing an oath is something neither would ever forget and something that was never sexual.
Such actions were done, but are not what scripture teaches.
Abraham chose a less vulgar approach, asking his servant “to put his hand under his thigh.” The servant touching him in that way meant Abraham was serious, and also communicated the servant’s intentions to follow through. The servant promised to find a wife for Isaac in order to carry on the lineage leading to the coming of the Messiah.
The unnamed servant was given a direct order:
- Find a wife for my son from my relatives,
- And do not take my son out of the land, no matter what.
If the woman refused, the servant was free from his oath.
This is the first recorded use of camels in all human history. Camels were almost never used in this way, and they are a sure sign of Abraham’s wealth and dominance. Their appearance in Mesopotamia would have impressed and intimidated the locals.
As the servant approached the city, he left the camels outside the city, by a watering hole, prayed, then waited.
In direct answer to prayer, Rebekah arrives and gives the servant something to drink. In further answer to prayer she waters the camels, an enormous physical task—not only is Rebekah fit, but scripture says, “she is very attractive in appearance.”
The prayer is now answered, the wife is found, but what will Rebekah and her family do?
The servant gifted Rebekah, and then her family, with precious bracelets and ornaments. In a nod toward a future conflict, Laban notices Rebekah’s gifts and runs to greet the servant.
The servant’s character is steel, and does not allow social rules or family etiquette to deter him from his gospel mission. The family attempts to keep him from leaving, but Abraham’s servant speaks boldly, reasoning well. If in fact, God has moved, then do not delay in moving with God.
Rebekah is allowed to decide for herself, a rare occurrence in those days, gladly choosing adventure, and to love a man she has never seen.
After months on the road, the caravan approaches Isaac’s home. Rebekah saw her love, veiled herself, and went to be with her man. Isaac immediately took her and enjoyed her. Scripture says he loved Rebekah.
And he did.