Abraham provided his servant, Eliezer, with ten camels and men to ride them, and lots of presents, before sending him off to where all the Hebrew girls were, which was in Mesopotamia, to *persuade one of these girls* to return with him to Canaan so she could marry Abraham’s son Isaac.
Eliezer and his entourage eventually arrived at the city in Mesopotamia where Nahor, Abraham’s brother, lived. Just outside the city Eliezer had seen a well. He concluded this would be where Hebrew girls of the city would congregate as the sun set, since this was the usual time for people to draw water from wells, and that it was usually women who drew the water.
Eliezer bided his time until evening when he led his men and camels to the well, where he made the camels kneel down. Remembering that Abraham had told him that God would be an unseen presence near him on this journey, Eliezer thought fit to say out loud in the hope that God was listening, “O Lord God, in case You don’t know, I’m standing by this well, and I’m hoping the Hebrew girls of the city next to where this well is, will momentarily be arriving here to draw water. If You could ensure that this happens, I’d be ever so grateful. And You should know that in the event of my seeing any Hebrew girls here, I’ll be saying to each one, ‘Please lower your jar that I may drink’. If she answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’, that will be the sign that she’s that Hebrew girl who you wish Isaac to take to wife.”
God made no reply. So Eliezer took this to mean that God agreed that this would be the way to identify the right Hebrew girl.
As the girls began arriving with their water-jars, Eliezer asked each one whether she would lower her water-jar for him to drink from. Some told him to get his own water; others did lower their water-jars for the servant to drink from, but didn’t offer to water Eliezer’s camels. However, there was a girl there, called Rebekah, who not only lowered her water-jar for the servant to drink from, but also watered all Eliezer’s camels. This made it obvious that Rebekah was The One for Isaac.
When the camels had finished drinking, Eliezer, after explaining the reason for his journey and why he had asked all the girls for water, took out a nose-ring weighing half a shekel which he attached to Rebekah’s nose, and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels which he slipped on to Rebekah’s wrists. Then Eliezer said to Rebekah, “I’d like to learn a little bit about you so I can pass this information on to Abraham and to Isaac when next I see them.”
“What exactly do you wish to know?” said Rebekah irritably, for she was experiencing discomfort from the ring in her nose and the heavy bracelets on her wrists.
“To begin with” said Eliezer, “who is your father?”
“I see. And who is Bethuel the son of?”
“Nahor and Milcah.”
“This is incredible” said Eliezer. “Abraham, whose servant I am, has a brother called Nahor. Could it be that this Nahor, who would be your grandfather, is the Nahor who is Abraham’s brother?”
“He must be” said Rebekah, “for I’ve often heard grandfather talk of a brother called Abraham. Yes, I’m sure that grandfather is a brother of your Abraham.”
“What a coincidence” said Eliezer.
“Yes, isn’t it” said Rebekah.
“Another thing I have to ask, and it’s rather delicate. Have you…..have you……..ever had intercourse with a man?”
“That’s a relief” said Eliezer.
“However I should tell you” said Rebekah, “that although I’ve never physically had intercourse with a man, I’ve thought about it many, many times. God, have I ever. Does this affect anything?”
“No, I think you’re in the clear. I have a favour to ask, though. Is there room in your father’s house for me and my camels and my men spend the night?”
“Yes, there is plenty of straw and fodder, and room for you all to stay the night.”
Rebekah ran back home to tell her family what had happened. The only person at home at that moment was her brother, Laban, who, when he saw the ring in Rebekah’s nose and bracelets on her wrists and listened to Rebekah’s account of her meeting with Abraham’s servant, went out to the well where Eliezer was waiting.
“I’m so pleased to meet you” said Laban. “Any man who takes my sister off our hands is a friend of mine and of my father. Now, I’d like you and your camels and men to come to our house, for there’s room for all of you.”
During supper, Eliezer told Laban, and also Laban’s father, Bethuel, who had come in late, the whole story behind Rebekah’s being chosen by God to be Isaac’s wife. After he’d finished his story, Eliezer said to Laban and Bethuel, “It’s up to you whether you agree to Rebekah’s returning with me to marry Isaac. If you say no, then I’ll simply go away.”
Laban and Bethuel said judiciously, “If God says Rebekah must marry Isaac, then what can we say? Yes, Rebekah must go with you, for if she doesn’t, we’ll eventually have to marry her off to some other young man who’ll likely turn out a ne’er-do-well. So please, take her off our hands.”
Eliezer distributed the costly gifts he’d brought with him to Rebekah, and to Laban, Bethuel, and to Rebekah’s mother, Milcah. Then everyone drank and ate and danced the rest of the night.
The next morning while Eliezer and his entourage were preparing to leave with Rebekah, Laban and Milcah, confronted now with the reality that they might never see Rebekah again, said to Eliezer, “How about Rebekah staying with us an extra few days, say ten. Then we’ll send her on to you.”
Scratching his head, Eliezer said, “I’m not sure this is a good idea. Please don’t be offended, but is not a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?”
“How about we let Rebekah decide” said Laban and Milcah. “Rebekah!! Can you come in here a moment?”
When Rebekah entered the room Laban and Milcah said to her, “Do you wish to leave with these men?”
“Yes” said Rebekah. “But please, dear Mother and dear Brother, you mustn’t misunderstand my saying this. I do love you, and Father too, and am grateful for all you’ve done for me and always will be. However, I do feel very cooped up here and am desperate for a change. I’m now ready to go into the great wide world and to embrace all that life has to offer.”
What else could Laban and Milcah say to this, but, “You are our sister, may you be the mother of myriads; may your sons possess the cities of your enemies.”
Weeping, Rebekah’s family watched her and her nurse ride away with Eliezer and his entourage until she was but a speck in the distance.
Source: Genesis 24, 10-61