"Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, 'Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.' And the servant said to him, 'Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?' But Abraham said to him, 'Beware that you do not take my son back there. The LORD God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, 'To your descendants I give this land,' He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there.' So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter" (Gen. 24:1-9).
With Sarah's death and his own advancement in years, Abraham is thinking seriously about Isaac's future. He knew his son would marry (because of the promise God had made to him about becoming a great nation). But Abraham, like any loving father, doesn't want just any bride for his son; he desires the best wife possible for Isaac. He does not want him to marry a Canaanite (due to their wicked ways), and he does not want Isaac to return to the land that God had told Abraham to leave (lest he be tempted to stay there and not be willing to come back to the land of promise). Abraham required his chief servant to swear to him that he would not allow either of those two things to happen. His hope is that the servant could travel to Abraham's home land and bring back a suitable woman from the great patriarch's family. Abraham believes that God will providentially bless the mission through His angel. If the woman was unwilling to come with the servant, however, then he was free from that aspect of that oath.
"Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, for all his master's goods were in his hand. And he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. Then he said, 'O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, "Please let down your pitcher that I may drink," and she says, "Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink"--let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master" (Gen. 24:10-14).
The chief servant brought ten camels and other servants along with him. The camels, no doubt, held precious gifts for the one who would become Isaac's bride. They were also proof of the wealthy family the servant came from. This would certainly help his mission be successful. He arrived at evening time, when the women would come out to draw water from the well (we are so blessed to have indoor plumbing and clean water from a faucet!). He prayed that God would be kind to his master by allowing the mission to be a success. Then, he asks that God would tell him which girl would be the proper one by the way in which she replied to his inquiry for water. Abraham is known as a great man of faith, and he had taught his servant well, no doubt, about Almighty God! God could certainly arrange circumstances so that the right woman would be at the right place at the right time, and she would say the right thing!
"And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up" (Gen. 24:15,16). With his prayer barely finished, the chief servant sees a beautiful virgin coming to draw water. He runs to meet her and ask her if he could have some water. She replies with kindness and respect - "Drink, my lord" and quickly lowered the pitcher to give him a drink. She volunteers to give his camels plenty to drink also, and proceeds to make it so. "And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not" (24:21). Perhaps it all seemed a bit too easy for the servant! He asked God to do something specific and the very first girl he met did exactly what he had asked. He has a little uncertainty, perhaps, at this point about whether this was the right woman or not. He gives her a generous gift (a golden nose ring and two golden bracelets) to express his gratitude for her kindness. Then he asks about her family and if there was room for them to stay the night with them. Her answer more than convinces him that this is the girl. She was of Abraham's family and they are welcome to lodge there! "Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the LORD. And he said, 'Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren'" (24:26,27).
Rebekah ran home to tell her family what had happened. They saw the expensive gifts and heard her words and were intrigued. Her brother Laban ran out to meet the chief servant and invite him in. Laban provided for their needs quickly and set food before the servant to eat. The servant, however, refused to eat until he had explained the reason for his visit. He detailed whom he served--Abraham--a man whom God had blessed richly in every way. The servant was there to find a wife for his master's son, Isaac. The chief servant explained the oath Abraham had required of him. He went on to recount the prayer he had uttered to God and how he had met Rebekah before he had finished speaking in his heart. She responded according to his prayer and he now believed that she was the right one for Isaac to marry.
"Now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. And if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left" (24:49). The servant knew that although he was convinced she was the right girl, he would have to secure permission from her family. The men of the household replied - "The thing comes from the LORD; we cannot speak to you either bad or good. Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master's son's wife, as the LORD has spoken" (24:50,51). At this time the servant again thanked God, bowing himself to the ground. He then brought out "jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother" (24:53). He and the servants with him then spent the night there.
The next morning they were ready to depart and take Rebekah home to Isaac. There is some resistance to leaving so soon, but the chief servant does not want to delay his return since God had prospered him so well thus far. Rebekah agrees to leave immediately with them. Her maids accompany her and her family blesses her - "Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands; and may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them" (24:60).
"And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel; for she had said to the servant, 'Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?' The servant said, 'It is my master.' So she took a veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death" (24:63-67).
And thus the chapter ends with the introducing of Isaac to Rebekah. He took her as his wife immediately and loved her.