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Abraham, Part 3: Do You Have to Marry a Jewish Girl?

The issue of continuity that continues to perplex.

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

May 5, 2013 - 8:00 am

The servant — a wonderfully drawn character, honest, earnest, and dedicated,

took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed…and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia….

Arriving there, he stops with his men and camels by a well in the evening. Addressing God, the servant requests that he be able to identify the right girl by means of a test:

Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:

And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac….

And indeed, in the dusk there, the girl materializes:

And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

At that point the servant approaches her with his test — which she passes decisively, showing nothing but kindness and hospitality. The girl, of course, is Rebekah, granddaughter of Abraham’s brother Nahor. She leads the servant to Abraham’s kinfolk; he stays the night there, explains his mission, and they realize that “The thing proceedeth from the Lord” and they have no choice but to send Rebekah back with him to Canaan.

And there:

…Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.

And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.

And the future of the great nation in the land of Canaan is — for now — secured.

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