Genesis 24

The premise for this chapter is mildly confusing. Abraham seems to be wildly popular wherever he travels, in every land he visits, the people seem to love him. Yet despite all this love going on between different races, Abraham insists that Isaac’s bride be found among his own people. Why so against foreign women after getting along with everyone so well??? And to complicate matters further, Abraham doesn’t want Isaac to return to his own people. Yet he wants Isaac to marry one of them. It’s a bit confusing, don’t you think? Let me know if you have any solutions to that one.

Another strange thing is Abraham getting his servant to swear that he will carry out this bride finding expedition as ordered by placing his hand under Abraham’s thigh. That’s a very strange way to promise something. Whether this was some custom or whether Abraham was just going blind in his old age and needed physical reassurance isn’t clear.

But all the confusing parts aside, the way the story plays out is pretty cool! And in that coolness may lie the reason why Abraham required that Isaac’s wife be found this way. Maybe he needed his servant or more likely Isaac to see that God gives signs and work miracles.

The servant asks God to give a particular sign in order that he might know which woman is for Isaac, and God gives that sign. The servant brings the girl to Isaac and that’s that.

So she became his wife, and he loved her

That’s ten points for arranged marriages right there! I think our modern concept of courting (well it’s becoming seemingly more traditional compared to the more progressive and radical techniques people are using these days, not really courting at all) is very romantic, but it’s funny how we still so easily write off every other way of doing things and assume only love marriages can be good and that arranged marriages can’t be love marriages. Admittedly you have to have sensible parents or matchmakers to make it happen. Isaac had God as his matchmaker, so he couldn’t really go wrong :)

What this chapter tells us about God

  • God does give us signs when we ask Him to. It is a very useful way of being able to discern things sometimes.
  • Again, God provides. This seems to be an extremely common theme so far in Genesis!

Source Text: Genesis 24

2 responses to “Genesis 24

  1. All good points Shirley, thanks for enlightening us! :)

  2. hmm regarding why Abraham was so particular that Isaac’s bride should be from his own people, yet Isaac was not to return to where they live..
    I think a big part of it is because of God’s covenant with Abraham. Hence, Abraham needed to make sure he got Isaac the right kind of wife who’d be able to stick to it? The problem with foreign wives in those days was idolatry. The bit about not returning to where they live, perhaps because God had called Abraham out of his homeland, hence he was not to turn back and return to it? He was to keep his eyes on what’s ahead, where God was going to take him.

    On the topic of arranged marriages. To some extent, I sometimes wish it was still done more widely today. Parents have wisdom that comes with their years of experience. They see through people. They can tell good character from bad. They can see through the flaws that set one up for a bad marriage. I think, ideally, courting + parents’ arrangement would be good, wouldn’t it? ie not totally disregarding the child’s wishes, but giving due consideration to parents’ views on it and giving them room to make decisions too.

    Perhaps arranged marriages in those days also highlight the fact that marriage was seen as more of a community thing than just boy meets girl, fall in love, get married. Marriage is a union between two families. Hence, parents’ opinions on what a good wife and son or daughter-in-law should be like were very important. Marriage doesn’t only involve loving one’s spouse, it also involves loving and being responsible for your spouse’s family, e.g. taking care of yours and your spouse’s parents, etc. Sadly, this seems to be lost in many modern marriages.

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