Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Genesis
Book: Genesis
Chapter: 24

Abraham's care for Isaac's Marriage. (1-9) The Journey of
Abraham's servant to Mesopotamia, His meeting with Rebekah.
(10-28) Rebekah and her relatives consent to her Marriage.
(29-53) The happy meeting and Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah.

1-9 The effect of good Example, good teaching, and the Worship
of God in a family, will generally appear in the Piety,
faithfulness, prudence, and Affection of the servants. To live
in such families, or to have such servants, both are blessings
from God which should be highly valued, and thankfully
acknowledged. But No concern in Life is of greater importance to
ourselves, to others, or to the Church of God, than Marriage. It
therefore ought always to be undertaken with much care and
prudence, especially with reference to the will of God, and with
Prayer for his direction and blessing. Where good parents are
not consulted and regarded, the blessing of God cannot be
expected. Parents, in disposing of their children, should
carefully consult the welfare of their souls, and their
furtherance in the way to Heaven. Observe the charge Abraham
gave to a good servant, one whose conduct, faithfulness, and
Affection, to him and his family, he had long known. Observe
also, that Abraham remembers that God had wonderfully brought
him out of the land of his Birth, By the Call of his Grace; and
therefore doubts not but He will prosper his care, not to bring
his son thither again. God will cause that to End in our
comfort, in which we sincerely aim at his Glory.

10-28 Abraham's servant devoutly acknowledged God. We have
leave to be particular in recommending our affairs to the care
of Divine Providence. He proposes a sign, not that he intended
to proceed No further, if not gratified in it; but it is a
Prayer that God would provide a good Wife for his young master;
and that was a good Prayer. She should be simple, industrious,
humble, cheerful, serviceable, and hospitable. Whatever may be
the fashion, common sense, as Well as Piety, tells us, these are
the proper qualifications for a Wife and mother; for one who is
to be a companion to her Husband, the manager of domestic
concerns, and trusted to form the minds of children. When the
steward came to seek a Wife for his master, he did not go to
places of amusement and sinful pleasure, and pray that he might
meet one there, but to the Well of water, expecting to find one
there employed aright. He prayed that God would please to make
his way in this matter Plain and clear before him. Our times are
in God's Hand; not only events themselves, but the times of
them. We must take heed of being over-bold in urging what God
should do, lest the event should weaken our Faith, rather than
strengthen it. But God owned him By making his way clear.
Rebekah, in all respects, answered the characters he sought for
in the Woman that was to be his master's Wife. When she came to
the Well, she went down and filled her Pitcher, and came up to
go home with it. She did not stand to gaze upon the strange Man and
his camels, but minded her business, and would not have been
diverted from it but By an opportunity of doing good. She did
not curiously or confidently enter into discourse with him, but
answered him modestly. Being satisfied that the Lord had heard
his Prayer, he gave the damsel some ornaments worn in eastern
countries; asking at the same time respecting her kindred. On
learning that she was of his master's relations, he bowed down
his head and worshipped, blessing God. His words were addressed
to the Lord, but being spoken in the hearing of Rebekah, she
could perceive who he was, and whence he came.

29-53 The making up of the Marriage between Isaac and Rebekah
is told very particularly. We are to notice God's Providence in
the common events of human Life, and in them to Exercise
prudence and other graces. Laban went to ask Abraham's servant
in, but not till he saw the Ear-Ring, and Bracelet upon his
sister's hands. We know Laban's character, By his conduct
afterwards, and may think that he would not have been So free to
Entertain him, if he had not hoped to be Well rewarded for it.
The servant was intent upon his business. Though he was come off
a Journey, and come to a good House, he would not eat till he
had told his errand. The doing our work, and the fulfilling our
trusts, either for God or Man, should be preferred By us before
our Food: it was our Saviour's meat and Drink, Joh 4:34. He
tells them the charge his master had given him, with the reason
of it. He relates what had happened at the Well, to further the
proposal, plainly showing the finger of God in it. Those events
which to us seem the effect of choice, contrivance, or Chance,
are "appointed out" of God. This hinders not, but rather
encourages the use of all proper means. They freely and
cheerfully close with the proposal; and any matter is likely to
be comfortable, when it proceeds from the Lord. Abraham's
servant thankfully acknowledges the good success he had met
with. He was a humble Man, and humble men are not ashamed to own
their situation in Life, whatever it may be. All our temporal
concerns are sweet if intermixed with Godliness.

54-67 Abraham's servant, as one that chose his work before his
pleasure, was for hastening home. Lingering and loitering No way
become a Wise and good Man who is Faithful to his duty. As
children ought not to marry without their parents' consent, So
parents ought not to marry them without their own. Rebekah
consented, not only to go, but to go at once. The Goodness of
Rebekah's character shows there was nothing wrong in her answer,
though it be not agreeable to modern customs among us. We may
Hope that she had such an idea of the religion and Godliness in
the family she was to go to, as made her willing to forget her
own people and her Father's House. Her friends dismiss her with
suitable attendants, and with hearty good wishes. They blessed
Rebekah. When our relations are entering into a new condition,
we ought By Prayer to commend them to the blessing and Grace of
God. Isaac was Well employed when he met Rebekah. He went out to
take the advantage of a silent Evening, and a solitary place,
for meditation and Prayer; those divine exercises By which we
converse with God and our own hearts. Holy souls Love
retirement; it will do us good to be often alone, if rightly
employed; and we are never less alone than when alone. Observe
what an affectionate son Isaac was: it was about three years
since his mother died, and yet he was not, till now, comforted.
See also what an affectionate Husband he was to his Wife.
Dutiful sons promise fair to be affectionate husbands; he that
fills up his first station in Life with honour, is likely to do
the same in those that follow.