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16/03/2009 / Test All Things

A Study Of Genesis 24:1-9

Someone in our Congregation asked me once: “Can you explain to us the parables in the Bible?”

Yes I can!

Where are the parables in the Bible?

When we think of the parables in the Bible, what do we think of?

We think of the parables that Jesus told, when He walked on earth almost 2000 years ago.

But did you know that the Old Testament is filled with historical parables?

These are stories which were really true historical accounts, but God wrote these stories in such a way that they became shining examples of some aspect of the Truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We want to find out, what does God say in the Old Testament?

In this article we will look at one of these historical parables.

A Bride for Isaac (Genesis 24:1-9, John 6:63)

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

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

Genesis 24:3
And I will make thee swear by the LORD (Jehovah), 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:

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

Genesis 24:5
And the servant (the slave) 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?

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

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

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

Perhaps many of you have read this chapter. It is a lovely story of how Rebekah became the wife of Isaac. Genesis 24 is a very nice love story. But there is more in it.

In this article I want to focus on: “What was the assignment that Abraham gave to his servant?”

In the historical context, this a very strange order that Abraham gave to his servant. Very strange. If you look at this assignment just in the historical context, I can raise at least three questions about this strange situation that is developing here before our eyes:

· Why is the servant not named? He had this important task; to go get a bride for Isaac. Eliezer of Damascus. (Genesis 15:2) Why is his name left out? Besides, this is not a servant like we might have servants. The word used here is “slave”!

· What is wrong with Isaac? He is an adult of 40 years old! Is a slave lording it over him? Is he not old enough to get a wife for himself? Can Isaac not speak up for himself?

· What was wrong with Isaac when he was 120 years old? He sent Jacob to, (that country of which Abraham said, “beware!”) Haran to find a wife! Twice did Abraham say to his servant: Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again!

If that was so important, then why did Isaac violate this command from his father?

But remember, this is the Word of God. This is God speaking. This is not just any story written in a history book. This is God Himself speaking to us today. This must be relevant to us, today! And all these apparent contradictions will just fade away when we look at the spiritual picture of this story. And it is already beginning to unfold in these first nine verses and that is just why I focus on these first nine verses. You can see this whole assignment that Abraham gave to his eldest slave summarized in Genesis 24:4:

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

The whole command from Abraham to his slave is summed up in this one verse.

What was Abraham saying in verse 4?

He said, “Thou shalt take..”

1. A Bride from My Country

2. A Bride from My Kindred

3. A Bride for the Seed of Abraham

Abraham said: “Thou shalt take a Wife from my country”, and I have paraphrased that in saying: “Thou shalt take a Bride from my country”. You see, the Hebrew word for “Wife” in this verse, actually means “Woman”, and a woman becomes a wife after she first has been a Bride.

Therefore, a Bride is exactly what Abraham had in view when he gave this charge to his slave: “Go and get a Bride for my Son”. The Father was choosing a Bride for His Son; and here are the specifications the Bride must meet: She must be from My Country, she must be from My Kindred, and she must become the Wife of My Son.

Which Son?

The verse says Isaac, Isaac the Son of the promise?

Why did God put this story in the Bible?

Does this story of finding a Bride for Isaac have anything to do with the Gospel of Salvation?

Why did God direct Moses to write Genesis?

Moses wrote Genesis.

Why did God direct Moses to write about this episode in so much detail?

This is a long chapter; 67 verses in all. For sure, God did not write this long chapter just to give us a juicy love story. That is not what God is like.

In John chapter 6, the Lord Jesus was teaching the Jews, and they did not understand Him at all. And then Jesus added a sentence that clarifies the whole message that He brought. Jesus said:

John 6:63
It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life.

Now, let’s apply this principle here in Genesis 24, and that will clarify this chapter a great deal.

If we read this chapter as just a historical account of finding a bride for Isaac, then we are in a position where “The flesh profiteth nothing”. It will not profit us anything. Nothing at all!

You are not going to be any wiser by reading this story. But Jesus said: “The words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life”.

We must realize that the words in the Old Testament are just as much the words of the Lord Jesus as the words we find in the New Testament in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These are all the words of God. They are just the same, the word of Jesus. The Old Testament is just as much the words of Jesus. We find, in the Old Testament, stories that directly apply to what we read there in the New Testament.

For example, do you remember that at one time God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac?

That was in Genesis 22. The kids already heard that in Sunday School. And Abraham almost sacrificed his son, but God stopped him.

Then why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son in the first place?

God knows what is going on in Abraham’s heart. God knows the end from the beginning.

Did not God know all along what was going to happen?

Yes God knew; but God did ask that from Abraham, because God was painting a picture for us. It was a picture of God offering His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sins.

That is a New Testament picture. In that picture Abraham was in the role of God the Father, and Isaac was in the role of Jesus Christ. God stopped Abraham because He did not have to go on with that picture. The reality would take place in the New Testament. Again, God painted a picture here in Genesis 24 where again Abraham is in the role of God the Father, and Isaac is in the role of Jesus Christ. And now, this love story in Genesis 24 is not just finding a Bride for Isaac, but it is a picture of finding the Bride of Christ.

And who is the Bride of Christ?

It is the Body of Believers. This love story, in Genesis 24, is the story of Evangelism. It is God’s assignment to His servant, (that is you and me) to bring the Gospel into the world, so that those whom God intends to save are going to be brought to the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, God uses His words very carefully. God does not say “find a wife for my son”, but God says in Genesis 24:4, “Thou shalt take a wife unto my son Isaac”.

And she must meet these qualifications:

She must be from My Country!
Let us develop that picture!

A Bride from My Country?

What does that mean?

Where is NOT my country?

Did He not say: The daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I do not dwell?

THAT is not my country. God was not pleased with the daughters of the Canaanites. Remember Canaan, the grandson of Noah?

He was under a curse. Let us face it, we look at this world, this whole world is under a curse. The curse was already placed in Genesis 3, by God when He cursed this earth. And the whole earth is under a curse. These are the descendants of Canaan. God calls this earth the Bottomless Pit. It is the place where Satan is the Prince of the power of the air. This is a sin cursed earth. And we all are under the curse of Sin. Look at Rebekah. She was destined to be Isaac’s wife. She too, was raised in a house that practiced idolatry, and was spiritually in just as bad a condition as the daughters of the Canaanites.

God says: “There is none righteous, NO, NOT ONE!” We are all under the curse of Sin. We all came into this world as rebels against God. We all were under the influence of the prince of the power of the air. We were born as sinners and relished in our sins. We all deserved to go to Hell for our rebellion against God. And God passed by all the daughters of the Canaanites. But God in His great Mercy, decided to save one over there: There is Rebekah. I declare her to be My Country. Not her brother Laban, but just Rebekah. I will make her My Bride. I am taking her away from Satan. She is no longer the territory of Satan. Now she is My Country!

Who is the Bride? (Revelation 19:7-9, Ephesians 1:3-5)

Who is Rebekah a picture of?

When we look for the spiritual picture of a woman in the Bible, most of the time she is a picture of the Body of Believers; the Bride of Christ! For example, at the end of time, when Christ is coming back, when the Bride of Christ is going to be His Wife, we read in Revelation 19:7-9:

Revelation 19:7
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Revelation 19:8
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Revelation 19:9
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Did you hear the words: “Blessed are they which are called.”?

They did not make a decision for Christ. They did not accept Jesus into their hearts. They were called by God Himself, and that is why they desired to come to Jesus. That is the only reason why they came. Just like God chose Rebekah to be the bride of Isaac, so in like manner does God choose people to salvation, and the Father draws those people to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Look at Rebekah: She did not have any hand in it that she was picked to be the wife of Isaac.

In the same way, WE do not make the decision to follow Jesus. We were chosen by the Father!

Moreover, we were not chosen because we were so good. When God looked down the corridors of time, He saw dirty rotten sinners, ALL of us! God says: The Father hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world.

And why did He choose us?

He predestinated us to become adopted children, according to the good pleasure of His will. Just the good pleasure of His will. No other reason.

Why do most people object to the doctrine of God electing some unto salvation and passing others by?

It is the most beautiful doctrine there is. If God did not elect anyone, none would be saved; because none of us want to turn to the Lord Jesus. But it is a doctrine that is found all throughout the Bible. Remember, He passed by the daughters of the Canaanites and elected just Rebekah.

Why did God do that?

Here is the answer: The Father was choosing a Bride for His Son.

What is so bad about that?

That is not bad at all. That is exactly what the election of God is: The Father was choosing a Bride for His Son. That is the meaning. Even though you do not find those exact words defining election. That is what it is. There is nothing bad about that! Now, let us turn to the question:

Where is My Country? (Mark 14:58, Romans 9:6)

You must take a Bride from My Country.

There are many people who believe that the real estate, there, East of the Mediterranean Sea that is called the land of Israel, that that is God’s sacred country. That is why, in the Middle Ages, there were so many Crusades to take that sacred country back from the Muslims; because those unholy people were taking that holy land away from us. Much blood has been shed for a cause that was absolutely nonexistent. That is what you get when people start to listen to their church, instead of listening to the Bible. Let the Bible itself speak. You remember, when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, at that same moment, in the Temple, the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the remainder of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, as if the finger of God had torn it to pieces. That was a stupendous event. The Holy of Holies was representing the place where God resides, the place where God Himself was present in a very special way. God was hereby indicating that from that time on God no longer dwelt in the Holy of Holies. It ceased to be a holy place.

Therefore, the Temple ceased to be a Holy Temple. Instead, God says that He now dwells in a Temple that is not made with hands. Just listen to what we read in Mark 14:

Mark 14:58
We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

Christ now dwells in the souls of the Saints.

Who are the Saints?

They are the Body of Believers. The Bible says that in the New Testament time, WE are the Body of Christ; WE are the Temple of God. Therefore Jerusalem, the physical city of Jerusalem, is no longer the city of God, and therefore the nation of Israel is no longer the favorite nation of God. Today God has another Israel in view: It is the Israel of God, (you find that in Galatians 6) consisting of the souls of all those who have been truly saved. These souls of the Saints are really God’s Country. It is there where Christ is King. It is really surprising that so few people pay attention when God says in Romans 9:6:

Romans 9:6
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

God is clearly saying here that the Israel of God is not identical to the physical descendants of Jacob. There may be some among the Saints who are of Jewish descent, but not necessarily so!

Where is My country?

It is not the land of Israel, but it is the place where the lost sheep of the house of Israel are. Like, where Rebekah was…there. Now, Let us go on to the second point of Abraham’s request to his servant:

A Bride from My Kindred

Could it be that, when Abraham asks his servant to “take a bride from my kindred,” God here is referring to His command that we should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

NO! That is not possible. This entire passage of Genesis 24 is dealing with salvation, is dealing with rescuing people from the hands of Satan.

Would God then throw in the midst of all this, one of His moralizing commands?

NO! Our interpretation must fit the context. Besides, we have to come to grips with Abraham’s command to his servant: Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. Therefore, let’s first ask the question:

Who is My Kindred? (Ephesians 1:3-5)

The answer is found again in Ephesians 1:3-5.

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by (through) Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

You see, those of us who have been chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world, have been predestined to become adopted children of God only through the work of Jesus Christ. He died on behalf of us. Just like Rebekah. She had no idea what has been going on with Abraham in that land one thousand miles away. Until one day she heard: He was going to be her Father in law. God had determined that she belonged to Abraham and Isaac. She was of His kindred.

Is it not amazing that the Hebrew word for “Redeemer” also means “Kinsman”?

Is it not amazing! In order for Christ to become our Redeemer, He first had to become our Kinsman: He had to become like one of us! One like us! WE were predestined to be in His family.

How did she become His Bride? (Ephesians 1:6-7)

Historically, how did Rebekah become the Bride of Isaac?

We will see that soon.

But more importantly, How did WE become the Bride of Christ?

Continue reading in Ephesians 1:5-7:

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by (through) Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:6
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Ephesians 1:7
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Christ, who is the Beloved, made us accepted by the Father, because Christ redeemed us, He bought us through His blood and gave us the forgiveness of sins; Christ is in us and we are in Him. That is how we became His bride. Just think of it, WE were living in total ignorance of Him, until one day, our eyes were opened. For most of us it happened in the midst of a catastrophe in our life. We think our whole life was coming to an end. That is the time that we are most receptive to the Gospel. God usually has to knock us on the head with a two-by-four.

1. Then God showed us that Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He humbled Himself and became one of us. We could not save ourselves, so He came down to save us.

2. Just imagine when you look into the universe and see billions upon billions of galaxies, each containing as many stars as our own galaxy, that Christ who was King over this entire universe, became a little baby in the womb of Mary, living on this little planet earth.

3. And from that moment on, down into eternity future, Almighty God took on a human nature, a human body. In one moment Almighty God forever changed His constitution with a human body, and forever into the future He would carry this human body around. He did that just for us, so that He can be our Kinsman-Redeemer.

4. That was really nice of Him to do that for us. Was is not? But did we appreciate that? Did we really appreciate it that He came to earth to be our stand-in before the Judgment throne of God?

5. Not really! If we had been there in Jerusalem, we also would have been shouting: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

6. But why was He crucified? It was because we, relishing in our sins, and in bondage to our sins, were on the way to Hell! Because a Righteous God cannot tolerate Sin, those sins must be burned away under the awful wrath of God in a place that is called Hell. But Hell is so awful that Almighty God had Mercy on us and He sent His Son to endure that penalty in our place. Look at what God did!

7. What an incredible love that God had for us. I did not deserve it. You did not deserve it. We did not even want Him. But He did it for us. Totally Free!

8. How Free is Free? Well, if you must do something to earn it, then it is not free! But His Grace is unmerited favor. Can you merit unmerited favor? Of course you cannot! The Bible is perfectly clear that salvation is a Free gift.

9. Therefore it is by Grace that you have been saved, not of works, lest any man should boast. Why, because Christ does NOT share His glory with any man.

10. But look at the audacity of mankind. They say: Christ has done His part, now we must do our part. They say: We should come forward and accept Christ into our heart. Or they say: We have to be baptized in water first before we can be saved. Or they say: We have to clean up our act first and we have to obey the Ten Commandments, before we can be saved.

11. But God says: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man”. (Jeremiah 17:5) Don’t trust me. Don’t trust your church. Trust only what you read in the Bible.

And see if this passage in Ephesians 1 agrees with what you have learned in the past, from someone else. Look at the last point:

A Bride for the Seed of Abraham

The servant was sent out to bring home a Bride for Isaac.

Is that really the important information in Genesis 24?

To whom, were the promises made; to Abraham and Isaac?


The promises were made to Abraham and his Seed. The Bible does not say descendants. It says, “his seed”.

· Who is the Seed of Abraham? (Galatians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

Galatians 3:16
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ.

All along, God did not have Isaac and Jacob and Israel in view. God had in view Christ! When Abraham sent out his servant to get a bride for his son, this servant was Abraham’s ambassador to do whatever was necessary to bring back the Bride for Isaac. But that was not what God had in view. God had in view the Bride of Christ. And WE are ambassadors for Christ. That is why we read in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20:

2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

God says we are ambassadors for Christ. What an honor! Almighty God chose us to be His instruments to reach the ears of those for whom Christ died.

And do you remember what Abraham said to his servant?

He said:

And I will make thee swear by Jehovah that you do this for me. (Genesis 24:3,7,9)

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

Did the servant have a choice?

No, he did not have a choice. The servant did not have the choice: Shall I swear this oath or shall I not swear this oath? Shall I go; or shall I not go?

Abraham said: I will make thee swear concerning that matter. So likewise: We are the ambassadors for Christ. That is not an option. God made us swear that we will do the task to be His ambassador. And if we really are a child of God, if we really have been saved, then it will be our greatest desire to do this thing for our Master, because we love Him.

But why did Abraham give his servant this grave warning?

Genesis 24:6
Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again!

That is a great warning. And now that we have the spiritual meaning of this historical parable, now we can understand it. It is because God’s Son has been there already here on earth, and suffered the wrath of God for our sins on the cross. He did that once, and it was finished. The Bible warns us that it must not be repeated. The sufferings that Christ had to suffer were so great, that they must never be repeated. And look at the glory of Christ there after. The glory is so great that it can never be improved upon. So, that is why there should not be a second sacrifice, because His glory cannot be improved upon! Just think of it: WE are joint heirs with Christ.

Can there be a more glorious future for, those, who are the Bride for the Seed of Abraham?

By Alfred J. Chompff

One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. Terry Justison / Apr 14 2010 7:27 pm

    I am getting used to be disappointed by articles I find on the internet, but that is not the case here. I have began to suspect there is much to be learned in the OT and this article confirms that fact. It is too bad not more people look at scripture from a reformed view. I will be searching your website to glean other pearls of great wisdom. For instance I have always wondered about Judges 19-21.

    God Bless

    Terry Justison

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