Genesis 24

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English: Basic English Bible         

← Genesis 23   Genesis 25 →

1 Now Abraham was old and far on in years: and the Lord had given him everything in full measure.

2 And Abraham said to his chief servant, the manager of all his property, Come now, put your hand under my leg:

3 And take an oath by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not get a wife for my son Isaac from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I am living;

4 But that you will go into my country and to my relations and get a wife there for my son Isaac.

5 And the servant said, If by chance the woman will not come with me into this land, am I to take your son back again to the land from which you came?

6 And Abraham said, Take care that you do not let my son go back to that land.

7 The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and made an oath to me, saying, To your seed I will give this land: he will send his angel before you and give you a wife for my son in that land.

8 And if the woman will not come with you, then you are free from this oath; only do not take my son back there.

9 And the servant put his hand under Abraham's leg, and gave him his oath about this thing.

10 And the servant took ten of his master's camels, and all sorts of good things of his master's, and went to Mesopotamia, to the town of Nahor.

11 And he made the camels take their rest outside the town by the water-spring in the evening, at the time when the women came to get water.

12 And he said, O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, let me do well in what I have undertaken this day, and give your mercy to my master Abraham.

13 See, I am waiting here by the water-spring; and the daughters of the town are coming out to get water:

14 Now, may the girl to whom I say, Let down your vessel and give me a drink, and who says in answer, Here is a drink for you and let me give water to your camels: may she be the one marked out by you for your servant Isaac: so may I be certain that you have been good to my master Abraham.

15 And even before his words were ended, Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, who was the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her water-vessel on her arm.

16 She was a very beautiful girl, a virgin, who had never been touched by a man: and she went down to the spring to get water in her vessel.

17 And the servant came running to her and said, Give me a little water from your vessel.

18 And she said, Take a drink, my lord: and quickly letting down her vessel onto her hand, she gave him a drink.

19 And having done so, she said, I will get water for your camels till they have had enough.

20 And after putting the water from her vessel into the animals' drinking-place, she went quickly back to the spring and got water for all the camels.

21 And the man, looking at her, said nothing, waiting to see if the Lord had given his journey a good outcome.

22 And when the camels had had enough, the man took a gold nose-ring, half a shekel in weight, and two ornaments for her arms of ten shekels weight of gold;

23 And said to her, Whose daughter are you? is there room in your father's house for us?

24 And she said to him, I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, Nahor's wife.

25 And she said, We have a great store of dry grass and cattle-food, and there is room for you.

26 And with bent head the man gave worship to the Lord;

27 And said, Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has given a sign that he is good and true to my master, by guiding me straight to the house of my master's family.

28 So the girl went running and took the news of these things to her mother's house

29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he came out quickly to the man at the water-spring.

30 And when he saw the nose-ring and the ornaments on his sister's hands, and when she gave him word of what the man had said to her, then he went out to the man who was waiting with the camels by the water-spring.

31 And he said to him, Come in, you on whom is the blessing of the Lord; why are you waiting outside? for I have made the house ready for you, and a place for the camels.

32 Then the man came into the house, and Laban took their cords off the camels and gave them dry grass and food, and he gave to him and the men who were with him water for washing their feet.

33 And meat was put before him, but he said, I will not take food till I have made my business clear to you. And they said, Do so.

34 And he said, I am Abraham's servant.

35 The Lord has given my master every blessing, and he has become great: he has given him flocks and herds and silver and gold, and men-servants and women-servants and camels and asses.

36 And when Sarah, my master's wife, was old, she gave birth to a son, to whom he has given all he has.

37 And my master made me take an oath, saying, Do not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I am living;

38 But go to my father's house and to my relations for a wife for my son.

39 And I said to my master, What if the woman will not come with me?

40 And he said, The Lord, whom I have ever kept before me, will send his angel with you, who will make it possible for you to get a wife for my son from my relations and my father's house;

41 And you will be free from your oath to me when you come to my people; and if they will not give her to you, you will be free from your oath.

42 And I came today to the water-spring, and I said, O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if it is your purpose to give a good outcome to my journey,

43 Let it come about that, while I am waiting here by the water-spring, if a girl comes to get water and I say to her, Give me a little water from your vessel, and she says,

44 Take a drink, and I will get water for your camels; let her be the woman marked out by the Lord for my master's son.

45 And even while I was saying this to myself, Rebekah came out with her vessel on her arm; and she went down to the spring to get water; and I said to her, Give me a drink.

46 And straight away she took down her vessel from her arm, and said, Take a drink, and I will get water for your camels.

47 And questioning her, I said, Whose daughter are you? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, and Milcah his wife. Then I put the ring on her nose and the ornaments on her hands.

48 And with bent head I gave worship and praise to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, by whom I had been guided in the right way, to get the daughter of my master's brother for his son.

49 And now, say if you will do what is good and right for my master or not, in order that it may be clear to me what I have to do.

50 Then Laban and Bethuel said in answer, This is the Lord's doing: it is not for us to say Yes or No to you.

51 See, here is Rebekah: take her and go, and let her be your master's son's wife, as the Lord has said.

52 And at these words, Abraham's servant went down on his face and gave praise to the Lord.

53 Then he took jewels of silver and jewels of gold and fair robes and gave them to Rebekah: and he gave things of value to her mother and her brother.

54 Then he and the men who were with him had food and drink, and took their rest there that night; and in the morning he got up, and said, Let me now go back to my master.

55 But her brother and her mother said, Let the girl be with us a week or ten days, and then she may go.

56 And he said, Do not keep me; the Lord has given a good outcome to my journey; let me now go back to my master.

57 And they said, We will send for the girl, and let her make the decision.

58 And they sent for Rebekah and said to her, Are you ready to go with this man? And she said, I am ready.

59 So they sent their sister Rebekah and her servant with Abraham's servant and his men.

60 And they gave Rebekah their blessing, saying, O sister, may you be the mother of thousands and ten thousands; and may your seed overcome all those who make war against them.

61 So Rebekah and her servant-women went with the man, seated on the camels; and so the servant took Rebekah and went on his way.

62 Now Isaac had come through the waste land to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the South.

63 And when the evening was near, he went wandering out into the fields, and lifting up his eyes he saw camels coming.

64 And when Rebekah, looking up, saw Isaac, she got down from her camel,

65 And said to the servant, Who is that man coming to us through the field? And the servant said, It is my master: then she took her veil, covering her face with it.

66 Then the servant gave Isaac the story of all he had done.

67 And Isaac took Rebekah into his tent and she became his wife; and in his love for her, Isaac was comforted after his father's death.

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Arcana Coelestia 1356, 1358, 1992, 2851, 2943, 2959, 3015, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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Word/Phrase Explanations

Abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

Measure
'To measure' signifies knowing and exploring the quality of something.

chief
On July 3, 1863, 12,500 Confederate troops attacked their Union foes during the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the American Civil War. The...

servant
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

oath
'To sware' is a binding.

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

Son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

Isaac
'Isaac' represents spiritual love. 'Isaac,' in Genesis 17:19, signifies the rational divine. 'Isaac' signifies the Lord's divine rational in reference to divine good. Isaac' signifies...

the daughters of
The daughters of Rabbah' signify people who are in natural good and falsify the truths of the church.

Daughters
"Behold I have two daughters,” etc. (Gen. 19:8), signifies the affections of good and truth, and the blessedness perceivable from the enjoyment thereof, by those...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

Send
'To send' signifies revealing.

angel
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

ten
Most places in Swedenborg identify “ten” as representing “all,” or in some cases “many” or “much.” The Ten Commandments represent all the guidance we get...

master
In most cases, a "master" in the Bible refers to truth: knowledge, an understanding of the situation at hand, an understanding of the Lord's wishes,...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

Mesopotamia
'Mesopotamia' denotes knowledges of truth.

Nahor
'Nahor,' as in Genesis 22:20, signifies the Lord’s church among the Gentiles.

rest
'To slumber' and 'sleep' denotes the state of a person who is not in truths, as in Jeremiah 51:39, 57, Psalm 8:3 and 76:5, and...

water
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

Spring
'Spring' signifies the first state of a church or spiritual era, the same as 'morning.'

Evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

time
Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

Women
'Women,' as in Genesis 45:19, signify the affections of truth. But in Genesis 31:50, 'women' signify affections of not genuine truth, so not of the...

Well
'A well,' as in Numbers 21:17-18, signifies the Word of the ancient church. 'A well,' or 'pit,' as in Luke 14:5, signifies falsity and the...

Coming
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

girl
In the Word, the words 'virgin' and 'girl' are used, although the word translated 'girl' rarely occurs in the original language. In Exodus 2:8, 'a...

Let down
'To let down,' as in Genesis 24:18, signifies an act of submission.

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

drink
Food in the Bible represents the desire for good, and water and other drinks represent the understanding and true ideas we need to recognize what...

says
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

Words
'Words,' as in Exodus 34:28, signify everything pertaining to doctrine.

daughter
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

Bethuel
'Uz, Buz, Kemuel, Kesed, Haza, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel,' as in Genesis 22:22, 23, signify various religions and the kinds of worship practiced in them....

Brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

my lord
Characters in the Bible will often address others using the term “my lord,” and it seems to be no more than an expression of respect....

Quickly
'Quickly' signifies certain and full, because 'time' signifies state and so 'quickly' and 'speedily' mean a current state of affection and thought, or what is...

Enough
'Sufficiency' relates to the reception of good, because good is the spiritual nourishment of the soul, as natural food is the nourishment of the body.

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

Journey
'To journey' signifies the institutes and order of life.

gold
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

Nose
'A nose' signifies the life of good, because of the respiration which happens through it, which is life in the internal sense, and because of...

Ring
In Genesis 41:42 and Luke 16:22, 'to give a ring' signifies something that confirms power.

Half
Half and double in reference to numbers in the world have a similar signification as the numbers themselves.

Shekel
'A shekel' signifies the price or estimation of good and truth, and 'half a shekel' signifies the determination of the quantity thereof.

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Arms
Arms and feet (Daniel 10:6) signify the exterior things of the Word, which are its literal sense.

Father
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

Store
To 'Store' denotes the good of truth as provided for every use of the natural mind.

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

cattle
Animals in the Bible generally refer to spiritual activity, the things we actually do on a spiritual level. "Cattle," as typically used in the Bible,...

food
To give food, as in Genesis 41:48, signifies to store up.

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

Worship
'Worship,' as in Revelation 13:12, signifies acknowledging something to be sacred in the church.

Sign
'A sign' is mentioned in the Word in reference to the future, which constitutes revelation. This also refers to truth, when it constitutes testification. It...

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

Laban
'Laban' signifies the affection of good in the natural self, or the affection of external good, and properly collateral good of a common stock. The...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

Sister
The Lord calls people who are in truth from the good of charity from Him 'sisters,' as in Matthew 12:50. 'Sister' denotes intellectual truth, when...

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

Blessing
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving (Rev. 7.) signify divine spiritual things of the Lord.

men
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

washing
It does not take a great leap of imagination to see that “washing” in the Bible represents purification. Washing dirt from the skin is symbolic...

feet
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

meat
'Provision' or 'meat,' as in Genesis 42:25 and Psalm 78:25, signifies support from truth and good.

silver
'Spoil of gold, and silver, and cattle' signifies falsified truths.

Sarah
'Sarah' denotes truth joined to good. Sarai was called 'Sarah' so she would represent the divine intellectual principle by adding the 'H' from the name...

to
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

Today
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

son's wife
'Sons' wives,' as in Genesis 6:18, signify truths joined to goods.

Jewels
Jewels' when applied to the ears, signify good in act.

Robes
'Robes,' as in Revelation 7, signify truths of defense. Before they were washed they signified falsities. People in falsities from ignorance in the spiritual world,...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

Week
'A week' signifies state, and 'the seventh week,' a holy state. The ancients understood 'a week' to mean any period divided into seven, whether days,...

Ten days
'Ten days,' as in Revelation 2:10, signifies duration for some time, because 'forty days' signifies an entire duration of infestation and temptation, and 'ten' denotes...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

Overcome
'To overcome' signifies receiving in heart. 'To overcome' signifies conquering temptations, and remaining in a state of faith derived from charity.

South
'South' denotes truth in light.

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

fields
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

lifting
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

eyes
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

Camel
A camel (Matt. 22:24) signifies scientific knowledge. Camels are confirming scientifics, and cattle are the knowledges of good and truth (Jer. 49:32.)

Veil
'A veil,' as in Genesis 38:19, signifies obscurity of the truth. The first vail of the tabernacle, which was the screen in front of the...

Covering
A covering of precious stones (Ezek. 28:4, 13) signifies the truths of intelligence.

Tent
'Tent' is used in the Word to signify the celestial and holy aspects of love, because in ancient time they performed holy worship in their...

love
To some degree, there really is no spiritual meaning to the word “love” in the Bible. Why? Because if you truly love another, that is...

comforted
When the Bible talks about someone being comforted or consoled, it generally means that they are being offered ideas that will help bring them to...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.


 Conjugial Love
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Correspondences of Water
Illustration of places in the Word that relate to water.
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Family Worship: The Story of Isaac and Rebekah
Ideas for reading and discussing the story of Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24. Includes suggestions for extending the experience such as dramatizing parts of the story.
Religion Lesson | Ages 3 - 12

 Gifts for a Bride
The story includes two love stories: Isaac and Rebekah, and a beautiful wedding Swedenborg witnessed in heaven.
Story | Ages 4 - 8

 Isaac and Rebekah
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Isaac and Rebekah
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Isaac and Rebekah Marry
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Isaac Greets Rebekah
Drawing of Isaac greeting Rebekah after her journey.
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Isaac Marries Rebekah
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Isaac Meets Rebekah
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Marriage & Consent
Consent is more than a person saying "yes" to a marriage proposal. It sets the stage for asking and giving consent throughout a marriage.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Preparing for Marriage
Lesson and activities to explore ways we can prepare for a loving marriage.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Protecting Marriage
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Puppet Play: Isaac and Rebekah
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Quotes: Marriage Is a Gift from God
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Rebekah at the Well
This story shows the Lord’s love and care for those who trust in Him and obey His teachings. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Rebekah at the Well: Servant Asks for Water
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Rebekah Gives Servant Water
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Servant Brings Rebekah
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Story of Isaac and Rebekah Retold
Retelling of the story of Isaac and Rebekah for younger children.
Story | Ages 4 - 8


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