Reading 6/341, Genesis 22-24

God tested Abraham, telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham obeyed, believing in God’s promises. Sarah dies and Abraham buys a field to bury her. Abraham sends a servant back to his homeland to find a wife to Isaac. He finds Rebekah, and she marries Isaac.
Remember that Abraham has been promised grandchildren through Isaac. When the Lord tells Abraham to kill his son, he knows that his son will still live to beget children, whether because the Lord stops him or because he will raise Isaac from the dead, he does not know. The point of the story is that Abraham's faith in this promise is unshakable.

...Genesis...

It happened after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" He said, "Here I am." He said, "Now take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac himself, and go into the land of Moriah. Offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of." Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far off. Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go yonder. We will worship, and come back to you." Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife. They both went together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, "My father?" He said, "Here I am, my son." He said, "Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son."

So they both went together. They came to the place which God had told him of. Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, on the wood. Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to kill his son. The angel of the Lord called to him out of the sky, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" He said, "Here I am." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy, nor do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked and saw that behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham called the name of that place the Lord Will Provide. As it is said to this day, "On the Lord's mountain, it will be provided."

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of the sky, and said, "I have sworn by myself, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, that I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your seed greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba. Abraham lived at Beersheba. It happened after these things, that Abraham was told: "Behold, Milcah, she also has borne children to your brother Nahor: Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel." Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

Sarah lived one hundred twenty-seven years. This was the length of Sarah's life. Sarah died in Kiriath Arba (this is Hebron), in the land of Canaan. Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. Abraham rose up from before his dead and spoke to the children of Heth, saying, "I am a stranger and a foreigner living with you. Give me possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." The children of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, "Hear us, my lord. You are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the best of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb. Bury your dead." Abraham rose up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. He talked with them, saying, "If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he has, which is in the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me among you for a possession of a burying-place." Now Ephron was sitting in the middle of the children of Heth. Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the children of Heth, even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying, "No, my lord, hear me. I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the children of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead." Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land. He spoke to Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, "But if you will, please hear me. I will give the price of the field. Take it from me, and I will bury my dead there." Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, "My lord, listen to me. What is a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver between me and you? Therefore bury your dead." Abraham listened to Ephron. Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver which he had named in the audience of the children of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the current merchants' standard. So the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all of its borders, were deeded to Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre (that is, Hebron), in the land of Canaan. The field, and the cave that is in it, were deeded to Abraham for a possession of a burying place by the children of Heth.

Abraham was old and well stricken in age. The Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that he had, "Please put your hand under my thigh. I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live. But you shall go to my country, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac." The servant said to him, "What if the woman is not willing to follow me to this land? Must I bring your son again to the land you came from?" Abraham said to him, "Beware that you do not bring my son there again. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my birth, who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, 'I will give this land to your seed' will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. If the woman is not willing to follow you, then you shall be clear from this my oath. Only you shall not bring my son there again." The servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.

The servant took ten camels, of his master's camels, and departed, having a variety of good things of his master's with him. He arose, and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water. He said, "O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water. The daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Let it happen, that the young lady to whom I will say, 'Please let down your pitcher, that I may drink,' and she will say, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink,'-- let her be the one you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master."

It happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher on her shoulder. The young lady was very beautiful to look at, a virgin, no man had known her. She went down to the spring, filled her pitcher, and came up. The servant ran to meet her, and said, "Please give me a drink, a little water from your pitcher." She said, "Drink, my lord." She hurried, and let down her pitcher on her hand, and gave him drink. When she had done giving him drink, she said, "I will also draw for your camels, until they have done drinking." She hurried, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again to the well to draw and drew for all his camels. The man looked steadfastly at her, remaining silent, to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.

It happened, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold, and said, "Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there room in your father's house for us to lodge in?" She said to him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor." She said moreover to him, "We have both straw and provender enough and room to lodge in." The man bowed his head, and worshiped the Lord. He said, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his loving kindness and his truth toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master's relatives." The young lady ran and told her mother's house about these words.

Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban. Laban ran out to the man, to the spring. It happened, when he saw the ring, and the bracelets on his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, "This is what the man said to me," that he came to the man. Behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring. He said, "Come in, you blessed of the Lord. Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house, and room for the camels." The man came into the house, and he unloaded the camels. He gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.

Food was set before him to eat, but he said, "I will not eat until I have told my message." He said, "Speak on." He said, "I am Abraham's servant. The Lord has blessed my master greatly. He has become great. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male servants and female servants, and camels and donkeys. Sarah, my master's wife, bore a son to my master when she was old. He has given all that he has to him. My master made me swear, saying, 'You shall not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, but you shall go to my father's house, and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son.' I said to my master, 'What if the woman will not follow me?' He said to me, 'the Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you, and prosper your way. You shall take a wife for my son of my relatives, and of my father's house. Then will you be clear from my oath, when you come to my relatives. If they do not give her to you, you shall be clear from my oath.'

I came this day to the spring, and said, 'O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you do prosper my way which I go-- behold, I am standing by this spring of water. Let it happen, that the maiden who comes forth to draw, to whom I will say, "Give me, I pray you, a little water from your pitcher to drink," and she will tell me, "Drink, and I will also draw for your camels,"--let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master's son.' Before I had done speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew. I said to her, 'Please let me drink.' She hurried and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink.' So I drank, and she made the camels drink also. I asked her, and said, 'Whose daughter are you?' She said, 'The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bore to him.' I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her hands. I bowed my head, and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter for his son. Now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. If not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left."

Then Laban and Bethuel answered, "The thing proceeds from the Lord. We cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before you. Take her and go, and let her be your master's son's wife, as the Lord has spoken." It happened that when Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth to the Lord. The servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and her mother. They ate and drank, he and the men who were with him, and stayed all night. They rose up in the morning, and he said, "Send me away to my master." Her brother and her mother said, "Let the young lady stay with us a few days, at least ten. After that she will go." He said to them, "Do not hinder me, seeing the Lord has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master." They said, "We will call the young lady, and ask her." They called Rebekah, and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will go."

They sent away Rebekah, their sister, with her nurse, Abraham's servant, and his men. They blessed Rebekah, and said to her, "Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let your seed possess the gate of those who hate them." Rebekah arose with her ladies. They rode on the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah, and went his way. Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he lived in the land of the South. Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the evening. He lifted up his eyes and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming. Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel. She said to the servant, "Who is the man who is walking in the field to meet us?" The servant said, "It is my master." She took her veil, and covered herself. The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife. He loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

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