Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Ordinary A32


 34 So he said, “I am Abraham’sA servant.B 35 The LordC has greatly blessedD my master,E and he has become wealthy;F

Notes on verses 34-35a

A “Abraham’s” = abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
B “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
C “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
D “blessed” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
E “master” = adon. From a root that means ruling or being sovereign. This is lord, master, or owner.
F “become wealthy” = gadal. This is to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing.

he has given him flocksG and herds,H silverI and gold, maleJ and female slaves,K camelsL and donkeys.M 

Notes on verse 35b

G “flocks” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.
H “herds” = baqar. From baqar (to plow, break forth; figuratively, to inquire, inspect, consider). This is cattle – an animal used for plowing.
I “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
J “male” = ebed. Same as “servant” in v34. See note B above.
K “female slaves” = shiphchah. Root may mean to spread out – it would be the same root used in mishpachah, which means family or clan. This is maidservant, female slave, or female bondslave.
L “camels” = gamal. From gamal (how one deals with someone whether positively or negatively – so to reward, requite; to wean or the work that goes into something ripening). This is a camel as an animal of labor or one that bears burdens. The English word “camel” is from a Semitic source, perhaps Hebrew or others.
M “donkeys” = chamor. From chamar (to be red, blush). This is a male donkey.

36 And SarahN my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old;O and he has given him all that he has.  37 My master made me swear,P saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites,Q in whose land I live;R 38 but you shall go to my father’sS house, to my kindred,T and get a wife for my son.’ 

Notes on verses 36-38

N “Sarah” = sarah. From the same as sarah (princess, mistress, noble lady, queen); from sar (chief, ruler, captain, official, prince). This is Sarah, meaning princess.
O “old” = ziqnah. 6x in OT. From zoqen (old age); from the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age); from zaqen (to be old or grow old). This is old or old age through the analogy of being bearded.
P “made…swear” = shaba. Perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant. Properly, it can mean to be complete. This is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times.
Q “Canaanites” = knaaniy. From Kanaan (Canaan, his descendants, and the land where they settled; perhaps meaning lowlands, describing their land or subjugated in reference to being conquered by Egypt); from kana (to be humble, subdue; properly, bend the knee). This is Cananite, which in some instances would imply a peddler or sometimes used in place of Ishmaelite. See
R “live” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
S “father’s” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
T “kindred” = mishpachah. Related to “female slaves” in v35. See note K above. This is clan, family, kindred. It is inclusive of the entire circle of one’s relatives, family members, and members of one’s household. It can also be used to refer to animals or types of things or tribes or peoples.

42 “I came today to the spring,U and said, ‘O Lord, the GodV of my master Abraham, if now you will onlyW make successfulX the wayY I am going! 

Notes on verse 42

U “spring” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
V “God” = Elohim.
W “only” = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
X “make successful” = tsalach. This is pushing forward in a literal or figurative sense. So it could be to break out, to come mightily, to rush, to go over. Figuratively, it could mean to prosper.
Y “way” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.

43 Z I am standingAA here by the spring of water; let the young womanBB who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, “PleaseCC give me a little water from your jarDD to drink,” 44 and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also”—let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointedEE for my master’s son.’

Notes on verses 43-44

Z {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
AA “standing” = natsab. This is to station, appoint, establish, take a stand.
BB “young woman” = almah. 7x in OT – this is the same word used in Isaiah 7:14 to refer to the “young woman” who is with child and shall name her son Immanuel. From elem (youth, lad, stripling; something that remains out of view); perhaps from alam (to hide, conceal, a dissembler; to conceal in a literal or figurative sense). This is a young woman or girl. It can be a maid as one who is veiled. By extension, this can mean virgin since a girl/young woman was presumed to be a virgin.
CC “please” = na. Same as “only” in v42. See note W above.
DD “jar” = kad. 18x in OT – 9x in Genesis 24 re: Isaac meeting Rebekah, 4x in Judges 7 of the empty jars that Gideon’s men had; 3x in 1 Kings 17 of the jar belonging to the widow of Zarephath, 1x in 1 Kings 18 of the jars filled with water as part of Elijah’s contest with the priests of Baal, and 1x in Ecclesiastes 12 regarding an extended metaphor of youth and old age – here a broken pitcher. This is a jar, pitcher, bowl, or pail. The root might mean to deepen. It is a vessel made of clay – earthenware, used domestically.
EE “appointed” = yakach. This is to decide, be right, argue, judge, or convince. It can also be to decide, convict, reason together, or reprove.

 45 “Before I had finishedFF speaking in my heart,GG there wasHH RebekahII coming out with her water jar on her shoulder;JJ and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 

Notes on verse 45

FF “finished” = kalah. This is to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed.
GG “heart” = leb. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.
HH {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v43. See note Z above.
II “Rebekah” = ribqah. From the same as marbeq (fattened, a stall used for housing cattle; root may mean to tie up). This is Rebekah, perhaps meaning tied up or secured. See
JJ “shoulder” = shekem. Perhaps from shakam (to rise early, begin work early; properly, this is leaning one’s shoulder or back into a load or a burden; also, loading an animal for work). This is shoulder, neck, or some other place that bears burdens. Figuratively, it can refer to the spur of a hill, or one’s allotted portion.

46 She quicklyKK let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels. 

47 Then I askedLL her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’

She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel,MM Nahor’sNN son, whom MilcahOO bore to him.’

Notes on verses 46-47a

KK “quickly” = mahar. This is being liquid, which implies flowing. So, this word implies hurrying forward, whether in a positive or negative sense.
LL “asked” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
MM “Bethuel” = bethuel. 10x in OT. Perhaps from the same as bathah (end, desolation, destruction); {from the same as bath (bath as a unit of measurement for liquid); probably from the same as battah (precipice, desolation, steep; the root perhaps means to break in pieces)} + el (God, a god) OR from betulah (virgin) + el (God, a god) OR from bayit (house, household, palace, dungeon) + el (God, a god). This is Bethuel, which perhaps means “man of God” or “virgin of God” or “house of God” or “destroyed of God.” See
NN “Nahor’s” = nachor. 18x in OT. From the same as nachar (nostril or snorting; root means to snort or snore). This is Nachor or Nahor, meaning “snorer.”
OO “Milcah” = milchah. 11x in OT. From malkah (queen); from melek (king, royal). This is Milcah or Milkah, meaning “queen.”

So I put the ringPP on her nose,QQ and the braceletsRR on her arms.SS

Notes on verse 47b

PP “ring” = nezem. 17x in OT. This is a ring worn for decorative reasons. It also includes earrings, nose rings, or other jewels.
QQ “nose” = aph. From anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.
RR “bracelets” = tsamiyd. 7x in OT. From tsamad (to join, link, fasten; figuratively to serve or contrive). This is some kind of covering or lid such as a bracelet or arm clasp.
SS “arms” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.

48 Then I bowed my headTT and worshipedUU the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had ledVV me by the rightWW way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. 

Notes on verse 48

TT “bowed my head” = qadad. 15x in OT. Properly, this means to shrivel up. So it is used for bowing one’s head, bowing down, or stooping. It can be used to show deference.
UU “worshiped” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
VV “led” = nachah. This is lead, guide, or bring. It can be used for transporting into exile or coming in as colonists. This is the word used in Psalm 23 “he leads me in the paths of righteousness.”
WW “right” = emet. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.

49 Now then, if you will deal loyallyXX and trulyYY with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right handZZ or to the left.”AAA

Notes on verse 49

XX “loyally” = chesed. From chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here). This is favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed. When done by God to humanity, this is mercy/loving kindness. When done by humanity to God, it is piety.
YY “truly” = emet. Same as “right” in v48. See note WW above.
ZZ “right hand” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
AAA “left” = semol. Perhaps from the same as simlah (mantle, clothes, wrapper); perhaps from semel (image, figure, likeness). This is left, left side, or north as the part that is dark.

58 And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you goBBB with this man?”

She said, “I will.”CCC 

59 So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurseDDD along with Abraham’s servant and his men. 

Notes on verses 58-59

BBB “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
CCC “will” = halak. Same as “go” in v58. See note BBB above.
DDD “nurse” = yanaq. This is to suckle or to nurse. In a causative sense, it can mean to give milk. So, this word can be used for a nursing mother or for her suckling child.

60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “May you, our sister, become thousands of myriads;EEE may your offspringFFF gain possessionGGG of the gates of their foes.”HHH

Notes on verse 60

EEE “myriads” = rebabah. 16x in OT. From rabab (being many or much, abounding, increasing, multiplying; cast together and so the sense of increasing, generally in number). This is abundance, a myriad. It can be an indefinite large amount or mean ten thousand or a million.
FFF “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
GGG “gain possession” = yarash. This is inheriting or dispossessing. It refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them. By implication, it can mean to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish.
HHH “foes” = sane. This is an enemy or foe. It is one that is hated with a personal hatred.

61 Then Rebekah and her maidsIII rose up,JJJ mountedKKK the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

Notes on verse 61

III “maids” = naarah. From naar (child or a servant; a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence); perhaps from naar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a girl or young lady ranging anywhere in age from infancy to adolescence.
JJJ “rose up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
KKK “mounted” = rakab. This is to ride an animal or in some vehicle. It can also mean bringing on a horse.

62 Now IsaacLLL had come from Beer-lahai-roi,MMM and was settledNNN in the Negeb.OOO 

Notes on verse 62

LLL “Isaac” = yitschaq. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.”
MMM “Beer-lahai-roi” = be’er lahai ro’i. 3x in OT. From beer (a well or pit); {from baar (to make plain,; to dig; can also mean to engrave or figuratively to explain)} + chay (alive, living, lifetime; age; animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people – life in a very broad sense); {from chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively)} + ro’eh (vision, seer); {from raah (to see, show, stare, think, view; to see in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Beer-lahai-roi, which means “well of the living one that sees me” or “well of a living one, my seer.”
NNN “settled” = yashab. Same as “live” in v37. See note R above.
OOO “Negeb” = negeb. Root may mean to be parched. The Negeb is the south country – sometimes used to refer to Egypt. This is a land that suffers from a lot of drought.

63 Isaac went out in the evening to walkPPP in the field; and looking up,QQQ he sawRRR, SSS camels coming. 

64 And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, 65 and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?”

The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 

Notes on verses 63-65

PPP “walk” = suach. 1x in OT. This may mean to muse, meditate, or walk.
QQQ “looking up” = nasa + ayin. Literally “he lifted up his eyes.” Nasa is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept. Ayin is the same as “spring” in v42. See note U above.
RRR “saw” = raah. Related to “Beer-lahai-roi” in v62. See note MMM above.
SSS {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v43. See note Z above.

66 And the servant toldTTT Isaac all the thingsUUU that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his motherVVV Sarah’s tent.WWW He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comfortedXXX after his mother’s death.

Notes on verses 66-67

TTT “told” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
UUU “things” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
VVV “mother” = em. This is a mother as binding a family together or a breeding female animal. It could be mother in a literal or figurative sense.
WWW “tent” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.
XXX “comforted” = nacham. Properly, this is a strong breath or a sigh. This can be to be sorry, to pity, console. Comfort, or repent. But, one can also comfort oneself with less righteous thoughts, so this can also mean to avenge oneself.

Image Credit: “Rebecca and Eliezer” by Alexandre Cabanel, 1883.

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