By now Abraham was an old man, well on in years, and Yahweh had blessed Abraham in every way.
Abraham said to the senior servant in his household, the steward of all his property, 'Place your hand under my thigh:
I am going to make you swear by Yahweh, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live
but will go to my native land and my own kinsfolk to choose a wife for my son Isaac.'
The servant asked him, 'What if the girl does not want to follow me to this country? Should I then take your son back to the country from which you come?'
Abraham replied, 'On no account are you to take my son back there.
Yahweh, God of heaven and God of earth, who took me from my father's home, and from the land of my kinsfolk, and who promised me on oath, "I shall give this country to your descendants"-he will now send his angel ahead of you, so that you can get a wife for my son from there.
If then the girl refuses to follow you, you will be quit of this oath to me. Only do not take my son back there.'
And the servant placed his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham, and swore to him that he would do it.
The servant took ten of his master's camels and, carrying all kinds of gifts from his master, set out for the city of Nahor in Aram Naharaim.
In the evening, at the time when women come out to draw water, he made the camels kneel outside the town near the well.
And he said, 'Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and show faithful love to my master Abraham.
While I stand by the spring as the young women from the town come out to draw water,
I shall say to one of the girls, "Please lower your pitcher and let me drink." And if she answers, "Drink, and I shall water your camels too," let her be the one you have decreed for your servant Isaac; by this I shall know you have shown faithful love to my master'
He had not finished speaking when out came Rebekah -- who was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor -- with a pitcher on her shoulder.
The girl was very beautiful, and a virgin; no man had touched her. She went down to the spring, filled her pitcher and came up again.
Running towards her, the servant said, 'Please give me a sip of water from your pitcher.'
She replied, 'Drink, my lord,' and quickly lowered her pitcher on her arm and gave him a drink.
When she had finished letting him drink, she said, 'I shall draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough.'
She quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran to the well again to draw, and drew for all the camels.
All the while, the man stood watching her, not daring to speak, wondering whether Yahweh had made his journey successful or not.
When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing half a shekel, and put it through her nose, and put two bracelets weighing ten gold shekels on her arms,
and said, 'Whose daughter are you? Please tell me. Is there room at your father's house for us to spend the night?'
She replied, 'I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son whom Milcah bore to Nahor.'
And she went on, 'We have plenty of straw and fodder, and room to spend the night.'
Then the man bowed down and worshipped Yahweh
saying, 'Blessed be Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, for not withholding his faithful love from my master. Yahweh has led me straight to the house of my master's brother.'
The girl ran to her mother's house to tell what had happened.
Now Rebekah had a brother called Laban, and Laban ran out to the man at the spring.
As soon as he had seen the ring and the bracelets his sister was wearing, and had heard his sister Rebekah saying, 'This is what the man said to me,' he went to the man and found him still standing by his camels at the spring.
He said to him, 'Come in, blessed of Yahweh, why stay out here when I have cleared the house and made room for the camels?'
The man went to the house, and Laban unloaded the camels. He provided straw and fodder for the camels and water for him and his companions to wash their feet.
They offered him food, but he said, 'I will eat nothing before I have said what I have to say.' Laban said, 'Speak.'
He said, 'I am Abraham's servant.
Yahweh has loaded my master with blessings, and Abraham is now very rich. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, men and women slaves, camels and donkeys.
Sarah, my master's wife, bore my master a son in his old age, and he has made over all his property to him.
My master made me take this oath, "You are not to choose a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose country I live.
Instead, you are to go to my father's home and to my own kinsfolk to choose a wife for my son."
I said to my master, "Suppose the girl will not agree to come with me?"
and his reply was, "Yahweh, in whose presence I have walked, will send his angel with you and make your journey successful, for you to choose a wife for my son from my own kinsfolk, from my father's house.
Then you will be quit of my curse: if you go to my family and they refuse you, you will be quit of my curse."
Arriving today at the spring I said, "Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, please grant a successful outcome to the course I propose to take.
While I stand by the spring, if a girl comes out to draw water and I say to her, 'Please give me a little water to drink from your pitcher,'
if she replies, 'Drink by all means, and I shall draw water for your camels too,' let her be the girl whom Yahweh has decreed for my master's son."
I was still saying this in my mind when Rebekah came out, her pitcher on her shoulder. She came down to the spring and drew water. I said to her, "Please give me a drink."
Quickly she lowered her pitcher saying, "Drink, and I shall water your camels too."
I asked her, "Whose daughter are you?" She replied, "I am the daughter of Bethuel, whom Milcah bore to Nahor." Then I put this ring through her nose and these bracelets on her arms.
I bowed down and worshipped Yahweh, and I blessed Yahweh, God of my master Abraham, who had led me by a direct path to choose the daughter of my master's brother for his son.
Now tell me whether you are prepared to show constant and faithful love to my master; if not, say so, and I shall know what to do.'
Laban and Bethuel replied, 'This is from Yahweh; it is not for us to say yes or no to you.
Rebekah is there before you. Take her and go; and let her become the wife of your master's son, as Yahweh has decreed.'
On hearing this, Abraham's servant bowed to the ground before Yahweh.
He brought out silver and gold ornaments and clothes which he gave to Rebekah; he also gave rich presents to her brother and to her mother.
They ate and drank, he and his companions, and spent the night there. Next morning when they were up, he said, 'Let me go back to my master.'
Rebekah's brother and mother replied, 'Let the girl stay with us for ten days or so; then she can go.'
But he replied, 'Do not delay me, since Yahweh has made my journey successful; let me leave and go back to my master.'
They replied, 'Let us call the girl and find out what she has to say.'
They called Rebekah and asked her, 'Will you go with this man?' She replied, 'I will.'
Accordingly they let their sister Rebekah go, with her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men.
They blessed Rebekah and said to her: Sister of ours, from you may there spring thousands and tens of thousands! May your descendants gain possession of the gates of their enemies!
And forthwith, Rebekah and her maids mounted the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah and departed.
Isaac meanwhile had come back from the well of Lahai Roi and was living in the Negeb.
While Isaac was out walking towards evening in the fields, he looked up and saw camels approaching.
And Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac. She jumped down from her camel,
and asked the servant, 'Who is that man walking through the fields towards us?' The servant replied, 'That is my master.' So she took her veil and covered herself up.
The servant told Isaac the whole story.
Then Isaac took her into his tent. He married Rebekah and made her his wife. And in his love for her, Isaac was consoled for the loss of his mother.
The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985. The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) has become the most widely used Roman Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.
Like its predecessor, the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) version is translated "directly from the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic." The 1973 French translation, the Bible de Jerusalem, is followed only "where the text admits to more than one interpretation." Introductions and notes, with some modifications, are taken from the Bible de Jerusalem.
Source: The Very Reverend Dom (Joseph) Henry Wansbrough, OSB, MA (Oxon), STL (Fribourg), LSS (Rome), a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and a biblical scholar. He was General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible. "New Jerusalem Bible, Regular Edition", pg. v.
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