Eternity Daily Bible Study
The Life Of Abraham
Verses: Genesis 24:10-27
Topic: Eliezer's Answered Prayer
Date: 26th April 2006
Genesis 24:10-27 HCSB The servant took 10 of his master's camels and departed with all kinds of his master's goods in hand. Then he set out for the town of Nahor, Aram-naharaim. (11) He made the camels kneel beside a well of water outside the town at evening. This was the time when the women went out to draw water. (12) "LORD, God of my master Abraham," he prayed, "grant me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. (13) I am standing here at the spring where the daughters of the men of the town are coming out to draw water. (14) Let the girl to whom I say, 'Please lower your water jug so that I may drink,' and who responds, 'Drink, and I'll water your camels also'--let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. By this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master." (15) Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah--daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor--coming with a jug on her shoulder. (16) Now the girl was very beautiful, a young woman who had not known a man intimately. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up. (17) Then the servant ran to meet her and said, "Please let me have a little water from your jug." (18) She replied, "Drink, my lord." She quickly lowered her jug to her hand and gave him a drink. (19) When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, "I'll also draw water for your camels until they have had enough to drink." (20) She quickly emptied her jug into the trough and hurried to the well again to draw water. She drew water for all his camels (21) while the man silently watched her to see whether or not the LORD had made his journey a success. (22) After the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing half a shekel, and for her wrists two bracelets weighing 10 shekels of gold. (23) "Whose daughter are you?" he asked. "Please tell me, is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?" (24) She answered him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor." (25) She also said to him, "We have plenty of straw and feed, and a place to spend the night." (26) Then the man bowed down, worshiped the LORD, (27) and said, "Praise the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld His kindness and faithfulness from my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master's relatives."
The size of Rebekah's watering task was immense: The servant took 10 Arabian camels, and dromedaries drink 40-60 liters of water each. This totals 400 – 600 liters – about 3 large 55 gallon drums full! This would have weighed at least 1000 lbs. total and been, say, thirty trips back and forth carrying 35 lbs. of water at a time! This was an exceptionally hard-working and industrious young woman!
Ancient weights and measures are hard to determine but the gold shekel, as best I can work out, was a bit over half an ounce of gold, so the jewelry given to Rebekah weighed ten and a half shekels that is around 5 or 6 ounces of gold. Gold is a bit over $600 an ounce on today's trading so that would make her gift worth a bit over $3000 in today's value.
I put these calculations first to show that there was a spirit of willing generosity on both sides of the equation, and this willing spirit is often a sign that the Lord is at work!
The servant prays for a specific and remarkable answer. Let’s look what lay behind this prayer:
1. The camels needed to be watered after the journey. When the servant asked for a drink of water, with ten hot, thirst, panting camels lined up behind him, then it was obvious he wanted the camels watered also. This was obvious to any passer-by at the well. But no-one would want to do it.
2. Drawing water was women's work in that culture. It was not the work of an aged and esteemed servant. Eliezer could not, and perhaps even should not, have done the work himself. He needed help, and he needed it soon, and socially speaking a woman had to provide this help.
3. A young beautiful single woman, who could see that the obvious needed to be done, and who would do it do it straight away, even though it was difficult and arduous, would be an excellent wife.
4. Providing she was from the right family and spiritual lineage and was still a virgin.
Eliezer combined two things, his immediate need of getting his camels watered, and his goal – of finding a suitable wife for Isaac. And the prayer was answered 'while he was still speaking'. Thus indicating that God was in action arranging events even before Eliezer started praying.
To reverse the analogy, it is like a woman asking if anyone could give her a lift, and a young man says “Sure, and by the way, what is wrong with your car?” then spending all Saturday fixing it for her. If that young man was a Christian, then he would probably make an excellent husband. People who are courteous, respectful and kind, and who can see the obvious, and go the extra mile to help someone - are the sort of people you want to have in your life!
Eliezer's “test” was a natural test arising out of the circumstances in a very ordinary and sensible way. It would be like saying “Lord, if I get this grant application, then I know that the project can go ahead”. The two are connected in a natural and sensible way. On the other hand, tests such as: “If a Japanese admiral wearing a Dracula outfit walks through that door at exactly 9pm, then I will go to the church camp” are silly and God will not honor them!
Eliezer's prayer connected the need and the circumstances of the moment, with the redemptive purposes of God, in a natural, reverent and godly way. he asked for a reasonably low probability event (a stranger willingly watering his ten camels) that was nonetheless possible and which would by itself indicate that the person possessed some of the right qualities to be the bride of Isaac.
The finger-prints of God were all over this marriage. It was a divine set-up! There was no arduous search, the bride was right there as soon as the prayer was uttered from the servant’s lips. Eliezer recognized the obvious hand of God and bowed down and worshiped the Lord – at the well, in public, in front of Rebekah! Such public faith is uncommon nowadays as we have confined God to churches and prayer closets! Yet we need to show our worship “at the well” and in the market-place.
John Edmiston (email@example.com)
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