Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Marriage of Isaac

       In the course of time Sarah died, and was buried in a cave which Abraham bought as a tomb for his family. Then, as he felt himself growing old, and saw his son Isaac grow to manhood, he said to himself that he would like to have Isaac married. Now most of the people who lived in the land of Canaan worshiped idols, and Abraham decided that his son ought to seek a wife in Mesopotamia, where several of their kindred still lived. These far-away kinsmen believed in the true God, whom Abraham and Isaac worshiped. So Abraham called his oldest servant, the one who took care of his flocks and herds, and bade him go into that country and find there a wife for Isaac. Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and some beautiful gifts, and journeyed to the land in which Abraham had lived so many years before.
The servant meets Rebekah.
       After a time the servant came near to a city in Mesopotamia which had a well outside the gate. It was just at the close of day, and the women were coming out of the city to draw water. The servant had his camels kneel down by the well to rest, and then he prayed to God to show him which one of the women that came to draw water should be Isaac's wife. It was revealed to him that he should ask one of them for water to drink, and if she answered kindly he would know she was the one to be chosen. While he was praying, a beautiful, dark-eyed girl named Rebekah, carrying a pitcher on her shoulder, came up to the well. And when she had filled her pitcher the servant ran up to her and said, "Let me, I pray, drink a little water out of thy pitcher." She answered, "Drink, and I will draw water for the camels also." Then she let down the pitcher from her shoulder and gave the servant a drink, and afterward she carried water to the camels. When Rebekah had performed these services the servant gave her a gold earring and two gold bracelets. He inquired whose daughter she was, and asked whether he and his men could sleep at her father's house. The young woman told him that she was the daughter of Bethuel, and that there was room at their house for all, and food for the camels. The servant rejoiced greatly when she told him these things, for he knew that Bethuel was a kinsman of Abraham, and that God must have guided him to their place.
       Then Rebekah ran home and told her people all that had happened. Her brother Laban, when he saw the earring and bracelets, hastened at once to the well and invited the servant to come to their house and to bring his camels and their keepers. And they were all treated most kindly and made welcome. But before the servant would accept any food he told Rebekah's family who he was and why he had come to their city. And he begged them to say at once whether they would let Rebekah go home with him. As Bethuel and Laban listened to the story they felt it was God's will that Rebekah should be the wife of Isaac, and they at once consented to her going away. The happy servant, on hearing these words, brought out costly jewels of gold and silver and beautiful garments, and he gave Rebekah and her mother and brother many handsome gifts. Then they had a merry feast, and the next morning the travelers departed, taking with them Rebekah and her nurse.
       As they were passing through the land of Canaan one evening, they came near to the place where Isaac was. He had gone into the fields to walk about by himself, and when he saw the train of camels he hastened toward the travelers. As he came nearer Rebekah noticed him and said to the servant, "Who is this man walking to meet us?" When the servant told her that it was Isaac, she covered her face with a veil, and as soon as he came up to her she climbed down from her camel and Isaac took her into the tent his mother had lived in. He made her his wife, and he loved her so dearly that he was comforted for the loss of his mother. After the marriage Abraham gave all his herds and flocks to his son, and when he died Isaac buried him in the cave where Sarah rested.

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