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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 1–9
Verses 1–9

Three things we may observe here concerning Abraham:—

I. The care he took of a good son, to get him married, well married. It was high time to think of it now, for Isaac was about forty years old, and it had been customary with his ancestors to marry at thirty, or sooner, Gen. 11:14, 18, 22, 24. Abraham believed the promise of the building up of his family, and therefore did not make haste; not more haste than good speed. Two considerations moved him to think of it now (Gen. 24:1):—1. That he himself was likely to leave the world quickly, for he was old, and well-stricken in age, and it would be a satisfaction to him to see his son settled before he died; and, 2. That he had a good estate to leave behind him, for the Lord had blessed him in all things; and the blessing of the Lord makes rich. See how much religion and piety befriend outward prosperity. Now Abraham’s pious care concerning his son was, (1.) That he should not marry a daughter of Canaan, but one of his kindred. He saw that the Canaanites were degenerating into great wickedness, and knew by revelation that they were designed for ruin, and therefore he would not marry his son among them, lest they should be either a snare to his soul, or at least a blot to his name. (2.) That yet he should not leave the land of Canaan, to go himself among his kindred, not even for the purpose of choosing a wife, lest he should be tempted to settle there. This caution is given Gen. 24:6; and repeated, Gen. 24:8. “Bring not my son thither again, whatever comes of it. Let him rather want a wife than expose himself to that temptation.” Note, Parents in disposing of their children, should carefully consult the welfare of their souls, and their furtherance in the way to heaven. Those who through grace have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, and have brought up their children accordingly, should take heed of doing any thing by which they may be again entangled therein and overcome, 2 Pet. 2:20. Beware that you bring them not thither again, Heb. 11:15.

II. The charge he gave to a good servant, probably Eliezer of Damascus, one of whose conduct, fidelity, and affection to him and his family, he had had long experience. He trusted him with this great affair, and not Isaac himself, because he would not have Isaac go at all into that country, but marry there by proxy; and no proxy so fit as this steward of his house. This matter is settled between the master and the servant with a great deal of care and solemnity. 1. The servant must be bound by an oath to do his utmost to get a wife for Isaac from among his relations, Gen. 24:2-4. Abraham swears him to it, both for his own satisfaction and for the engagement of his servant to all possible care and diligence in this matter. Thus God swears his servants to their work, that, having sworn, they may perform it. Honour is here done to the eternal God; for he it is that is sworn by, to whom alone these appeals ought to be made. And some think honour is done to the covenant of circumcision by the ceremony here used of putting his hand under his thigh. Note, Swearing being an ordinance not peculiar to the church, but common to mankind, is to be performed by such signs as are the appointments and common usages of our country, for binding the person sworn. 2. He must be clear of this oath if, when he had done his utmost, he could not prevail. This proviso the servant prudently inserted (Gen. 24:5), putting the case that the woman would not follow him; and Abraham allowed the exception, Gen. 24:8. Note, Oaths are to be taken with great caution, and the matter sworn to should be rightly understood and limited, because it is a snare to devour that which is holy, and, after vows, to make the enquiry which should have been made before.

III. The confidence he put in a good God, who, he doubts not, will give his servant success in this undertaking, Gen. 24:7. He remembers that God had wonderfully brought him out of the land of his nativity, by the effectual call of his grace; and therefore doubts not but he will succeed him in his care not to bring his son thither again. He remembers also the promise God had made and confirmed to him that he would give Canaan to his seed, and thence infers that God would own him in his endeavours to match his son, not among those devoted nations, but to one that was fit to be the mother of such a seed. “Fear not therefore; he shall send his angel before thee to make thy way prosperous.” Note, 1. Those that carefully keep in the way of duty, and govern themselves by the principles of their religion in their designs and undertakings, have good reason to expect prosperity and success in them. God will cause that to issue in our comfort in which we sincerely aim at his glory. 2. God’s promises, and our own experiences, are sufficient to encourage our dependence upon God, and our expectations from him, in all the affairs of this life. 3. God’s angels are ministering spirits, sent forth, not only for the protection, but for the guidance, of the heirs of promise, Heb. 1:14. “He shall send his angel before thee, and then thou wilt speed well.”