Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (July 9th)

Pastor's Summary of Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67

Isaac has grown up, and Sarah his mother has died in Hebron. Abraham has insisted that his son marry a woman of his own clan, of his choosing. He has therefore made a pact with his head srvant (v. 2): to return to "{Aramnaharaim" (v. 10), Haran) to find a wife for Isaac. The servant has come to the well at Haran, where he has prayed to God that he will give a particular sign to identify the woman God has chose. Rebekah, daughter of "Bethuel" (vb. 15), has shown that she is the one (by offering water to both the servant and his camels); she has said that she is kin to Abraham, and has offered hospitality. When she has told her brother Laban, he has welcomed the servant and his party and has offered them a meal. But first, the servant insists, he must state the purpose of the trip. Here our reading begins.

It seems that the family worships Abraham's God (v. 50), although they also have household gods (see 31:19, 30). "Bethuel" (Abraham's nephew) and his son "Laban" recognize the servant's mission as divinely inspired; they decide that Rebekah shall become Isaac's wife, but they will ask her for her consent. She concurs (v. 58). Laban and Bethuel bless her: may she become the mother of many; may they be politically and militarily powerful ("gain pssession..." v/ 60): a blessing given to Abraham earlier (22:17). Isaac now lives at an oasis in the Negev Desert, in southern Canaan (v. 62). ("Beer-lahai-roi" means well of the living one who sees me; it was so named by Hagar when she saw God, appearing as an angel, there.) That Rebekah notices Isaac before she knows who he is shows that God brings them together. The servant calls Isaac "my master" (v. 65), so it seems that Abraham has died while he was away. Custon forbade a bride seeing her future husband's face before marriage, so she dons a "veil". Isaac welcomes her to his house ("tent", v. 67) and they are married.