The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Genesis
Abraham was old now, and his life was near its end; and still, in all his doings, the Lord had blessed him.
So now he called the oldest servant in his house, one who had charge of all his possessions, and said to him, Put thy hand here under my thigh,
and let me take an oath of thee. Swear to me by the Lord God of heaven and earth that when thou findest a wife for my son, it shall not be some daughter of these Chanaanites, among whom I dwell;
that thou wilt make thy way to my own country and my own kindred, and find a wife for my son Isaac there.
What then, said the servant, if the woman of my choice refuses to come back to this land with me? Must I then take thy son back instead to the place that was once thy home?
Beware of that, Abraham said; never take this son of mine back there.
It was the Lord God of heaven that called me away from my father’s house and from the land of my birth; and he has spoken with me, swearing to make over this land to my posterity. His angel will go before thee, enabling thee to find a wife for my son there.
If the woman will not accompany thee, then thou art quit of this oath of thine, but never must thou take my son back there instead.
So, putting his hand under his master Abraham’s thigh, the servant pledged himself to fulfil this errand.
He brought out ten of the camels in his master’s herd, and took part of all his master’s treasure with him; thus he set out, and made his way to the city where Nachor dwelt, in Mesopotamia.
He was resting his camels by a well close to the town, just at the time of evening when women go out to draw water, and he prayed thus:
O Lord, who art the God of my master Abraham, speed my errand to-day, and shew kindness to my master Abraham.
I have taken up my post by this well, and the daughters of the citizens will be coming out to draw water.
It may be that one of them, when I ask her to let down her pitcher and give me drink, will say, Here is drink for thee, and I will water thy camels as well. Let this be the bride thou hast chosen for thy servant Isaac; if it proves so, I shall know that thou art shewing kindness to my master.
Before he had finished praying thus in his heart, Rebecca, the daughter of Bathuel, came out with a pitcher on her shoulder. (Bathuel was one of the sons of Melcha, who married Abraham’s brother Nachor.)
A maiden most beautiful, fair of face, and a virgin that had no knowledge of man; and now she had gone down to the well, and filled the pitcher, and was on her way back,
when the servant went to meet her. Give me a drop of water to drink, he said, from that pitcher of thine.
Drink, sir, she answered, and quickly let down the pitcher on to her arm, to give him drink.
Then she added, when he had finished drinking, Now I will draw water for thy camels, too, till they have had their fill.
And with that she emptied her pitcher into the troughs, and ran back to the well to draw water again, and gave what she drew for all his camels to drink.
He, meanwhile, watched her in silence, wondering whether God had sped his errand or no.
Then, when the camels had drunk, he took out two golden ear-rings,✻ that weighed ten pennyweights, and two bracelets, weighing five ounces;
and he said, Tell me, who is thy father? And can thy father’s house give us lodging for the night?
Bathuel is my father, she answered, the son of Nachor by Melcha;
and she added, We have no lack of straw or of hay, and it is a roomy house to lodge in.
At this the servant bowed low and praised God;
Blessed be the Lord, he said, the God of my master Abraham, still so merciful, still keeping his word to this master of mine, and guiding me straight to his brother’s house!
So the girl ran back home, and told her mother all that had been said to her.
She had a brother called Laban; and he hastened out to meet the servant at the well.
Full of the sight of those ear-rings, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and of the words she had reported, he went to look for the man, and found him still standing by the camels, close to the well.
Come in, he said; why dost thou stand without, so high in the Lord’s favour as thou art? I have made the house ready, and found stabling for the camels.
So he brought the servant home, and unharnessed the camels for him, and brought straw and hay for them; water, too, so that the servant and his companions could wash their feet.
Then they put food before him, but he said, I cannot eat until I have delivered my message. So Laban gave him leave to speak,
and he said, I am one of the servants of Abraham.
The Lord has blessed my master abundantly and made him great, giving him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, men-servants and maid-servants, camels and asses.
And now Sara, my master’s wife, has borne him a son in her old age, the heir of all his property.
So my master took an oath of me to do his bidding; When thou findest a wife for my son, he said, it shall not be some daughter of these Chanaanites, among whom I dwell;
thou must make thy way to my father’s house, and find a wife for my son among my own kindred.
What then, I answered, if the woman of my choice refuses to come back with me?
And he said, The Lord, in whose sight I live and move, will send his angel with thee, to guide thee on thy journey and enable thee to find a wife for my son among my own kindred, my own father’s household.
And if, when thou reachest them, these kinsmen of mine will not give her up to thee, no curse of mine shall light upon thee.
So I found myself, to-day, at the well; and my prayer was, O Lord, who art the God of my master Abraham, wilt thou speed this present errand of mine?
I have taken up my post by this well; it may be that some maiden, when I ask her to let me drink a drop of water from her pitcher,
will say, Here is drink for thee, and I will draw water for thy camels as well. Let this be the bride the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.
I was still praying thus in the silence of my own heart, when I saw Rebecca coming down to the well with a pitcher on her shoulder, and drawing water there; and I asked her for a drop of water to drink.
And she, without waiting, let down the pitcher from her shoulder; Do thou drink, she said, and I will water thy camels as well. So I drank, and she gave the camels their drink.
Then, when I questioned her, asking who her father was, she said, Bathuel is my father, the son of Nachor by Melcha. And with that I hung these ear-rings upon her, to deck her face, and put these bracelets on her arms;
and I fell down to worship the Lord, blessing him, the God of my master Abraham, for guiding me where my master’s niece waited for my master’s son.
And now, if you are ready to shew love and loyalty to my master, tell me your mind; if you have other thoughts, tell me your mind none the less, so that I may know where my course lies, to right or to left.
Laban and Bathuel had but one answer; This comes from the Lord; when his will is made known, it is not for us to say Yes or No.
Rebecca stands before thee, take her and go on thy way; she must wed thy master’s son at the Lord’s bidding.
Upon hearing this, Abraham’s servant bowed down to earth and gave the Lord worship;
then he took out cups of silver and gold, and garments, too, as a present for Rebecca, and gave precious gifts to her brethren and her mother besides.
So the feasting began, and they ate and drank and passed the night there; but when morning came, the servant rose up and said, Now give me leave to go back to my master.
And when her mother and her brethren would have kept her with them for ten days, at least, before her departure, he begged them,
Do not detain me, now that the Lord has sped my errand so well, let me go back to my master at once.
Then they said, Let us send for the maiden herself, and find out what her will is.
So they fetched her, and when she came in, they asked, Art thou ready to go with this man? And she told them, I am ready.
So they let her go, and her nurse with her, and Abraham’s servant, and his companions,
wishing their sister good fortune as she went: Sister of ours, may thousands of thousands spring from thee, and may thy posterity storm the gates of their enemies.
So Rebecca and her maids mounted their camels and followed the servant, who went back to his master with all speed.
At this time, Isaac, who now lived in the South country, used to walk along a certain road, leading to the well called, God lives and looks on me.✻
And one evening he had gone out of doors, to meditate there, when suddenly, looking up, he saw camels coming towards him from a distance.
As for Rebecca, when she saw Isaac, she alighted from her camel,
and asked the servant, Who is this coming towards us across the fields? When he said, It is my master, she quickly took up her veil, and veiled herself.✻
And now the servant told Isaac of all that he had done,
and Isaac led her to the tent which had been his mother Sara’s, and made her his wife, and found comfort over the loss of his mother in his love for her.
The Holy Bible