We have here the making up of the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah. It is related very largely and particularly, even to the minute circumstances, which, we should think, might have been spared, while other things of great moment and mystery (as the story of Melchizedek) are related in few words. Thus God conceals that which is curious from the wise and prudent, reveals to babes that which is common and level to their capacity (Matt. 11:25), and rules and saves the world by the foolishness of preaching, 1 Cor. 1:21. Thus also we are directed to take notice of God’s providence in the little common occurrences of human life, and in them also to exercise our own prudence and other graces; for the scripture was not intended for the use of philosophers and statesmen only, but to make us all wise and virtuous in the conduct of ourselves and families. Here is,
I. The very kind reception given to Abraham’s servant by Rebekah’s relations. Her brother Laban went to invite and conduct him in, but not till he saw the ear-rings and the bracelets upon his sister’s hands, Gen. 24:30. “O,” thinks Laban, “here is a man that there is something to be got by, a man that is rich and generous; we will be sure to bid him welcome!” We know so much of Laban’s character, by the following story, as to think that he would not have been so free of his entertainment if he had not hoped to be well paid for it, as he was, Gen. 24:53. Note, A man’s gift maketh room for him (Prov. 18:16), which way soever it turneth, it prospereth, Prov. 17:8. 1. The invitation was kind: Come in, thou blessed of the Lord, Gen. 24:31. They saw he was rich, and therefore pronounced him blessed of the Lord; or, perhaps, because they heard from Rebekah (Gen. 24:28) of the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, they concluded him a good man, and therefore blessed of the Lord. Note, Those that are blessed of God should be welcome to us. It is good owning those whom God owns. 2. The entertainment was kind, Gen. 24:32, 33. Both the house and stable were well furnished, and Abraham’s servant was invited to the free use of both. Particular care was taken of the camels; for a good man regardeth the life of his beast, Prov. 12:10. If the ox knows his owner to serve him, the owner should know his ox to provide for him that which is fitting for him.
II. The full account which he gave them of his errand, and the court he made to them for their consent respecting Rebekah. Observe,
1. How intent he was upon his business; though he had come off a journey, and come to a good house, he would not eat, till he had told his errand, Gen. 24:33. Note, The doing of our work, and the fulfilling of our trusts, either for God or man, should be preferred by us before our necessary food: it was our Saviour’s meat and drink, John 4:34.
2. How ingenious he was in the management of it; he approved himself, in this matter, both a prudent man and a man of integrity, faithful to his master by whom he was trusted, and just to those with whom he now treated.
(1.) He gives a short account of the state of his master’s family, Gen. 24:34-36. He was welcome before, but we may suppose him doubly welcome when he said, I am Abraham’s servant. Abraham’s name, no doubt, was well known among them and respected, and we might suppose them not altogether ignorant of his state, for Abraham knew theirs, Gen. 22:20-24. Two things he suggests, to recommend his proposal:—[1.] That his master Abraham, through the blessing of God, had a very good estate; and, [2.] That he had settled it all upon Isaac, for whom he was now a suitor.
(2.) He tells them the charge his master had given him, to fetch a wife for his son from among his kindred, with the reason of it, Gen. 24:37, 38. Thus he insinuates a pleasing hint, that, though Abraham had removed to a country at so great a distance, yet he still retained the remembrance of his relations that he had left behind, and a respect for them. The highest degrees of divine affection must not divest us of natural affection. He likewise obviates an objection, That, if Isaac were deserving, he needed not send so far off for a wife: why did he not marry nearer home? “For a good reason,” says he; “my master’s son must not match with a Canaanite.” He further recommends his proposal, [1.] From the faith his master had that it would succeed, Gen. 24:40. Abraham took encouragement from the testimony of his conscience that he walked before God in a regular course of holy living, and thence inferred that God would prosper him; probably he refers to that covenant which God had made with him (Gen. 17:1), I am God, all-sufficient, walk before me. Therefore, says he the God before whom I walk will send his angel. Note, While we make conscience of our part of the covenant, we may take the comfort of God’s part of it; and we should learn to apply general promises of particular cases, as there is occasion. [2.] From the care he himself had taken to preserve their liberty of giving or refusing their consent, as they should see cause, without incurring the guilt of perjury (Gen. 24:39-41), which showed him, in general, to be a cautious man, and particularly careful that their consent might not be forced, but be either free or not at all.
(3.) He relates to them the wonderful concurrence of providences, to countenance and further the proposal, plainly showing the finger of God in it. [1.] He tells them how he had prayed for direction by a sign, Gen. 24:42-44. Note, It is good dealing with those who by prayer take God along with them in their dealings. [2.] How God had answered his prayer in the very letter of it. Though he did but speak in his heart (Gen. 24:45), which perhaps he mentions, lest it should be suspected that Rebekah had overheard his prayer and designedly humoured it. “No,” says he, “I spoke it in my heart, so that none heard it but God, to whom thought are word, and from him the answer came,” Gen. 24:46, 47. [3.] How he had immediately acknowledged God’s goodness to him therein, leading him, as he here expresses it, in the right way. Note, God’s way is always the right way (Ps. 107:7), and those are well led whom he leads.
(4.) He fairly refers the matter to their consideration, and waits their decision (Gen. 24:49): “If you will deal kindly and truly with my master, well and good: if you will be sincerely kind, you will accept the proposal, and I have what I came for; if not, do not hold me in suspense.” Note, Those who deal fairly have reason to expect fair dealing.
(5.) They freely and cheerfully close with the proposal upon a very good principle (Gen. 24:50): “The thing proceedeth from the Lord, Providence smiles upon it, and we have nothing to say against it.” They do not object distance of place, Abraham’s forsaking them, or his having no land in possession, but personal estate only: they do not question the truth of what this man said; but, [1.] They trust much to his integrity. It were well if honesty did so universally prevail among men that it might be as much an act of prudence as it is of good nature to take a man’s word. [2.] They trust more to God’s providence, and therefore by silence give consent, because it appears to be directed and disposed by Infinite Wisdom. Note, A marriage is then likely to be comfortable when it appears to proceed from the Lord.
(6.) Abraham’s servant makes a thankful acknowledgment of the good success he had met with, [1.] To God: He worshipped the Lord, Gen. 24:52. Observe, First, As his good success went on, he went on to bless God. Those that pray without ceasing should in every thing give thanks, and own God in every step of mercy. Secondly, God sent his angel before him, and so gave him success, Gen. 24:7, 40. But when he has the desired success, he worships God, not the angel. Whatever benefit we have by the ministration of angels, all the glory must be given to the Lord of the angels, Rev. 22:9. [2.] He pays his respects to the family also, and particularly to the bride, Gen. 24:53. He presented her, and her mother, and brother, with many precious things, both to give a real proof of his master’s riches and generosity and in gratitude for their civility to him, and further to ingratiate himself with them.