The key event of Chapter 23 is the death of Sarah, Abraham’s wife and the mother of Isaac, the promised son. It was shortly after the events on Mt. Moriah when Abraham offered up a willing Isaac on the altar, that Sarah passed away in her old age. She was 127 years old. (Gen 23:1-2).
Abraham mourned her death deeply. And he bought a cave wherein he could bury Sarah (Gen 23:4, 7-9, 16-19). Abraham lived another 48 years after Sarah. He took another wife — a woman named Keturah — and by her, he had many more descendants (Gen 25:1ff). But only through Isaac, his son by Sarah, would God’s promises come.
After Abraham secured the burial place for Sarah, he turned his attention to finding a bride for Isaac. Abraham commissioned his most trusted servant to find a bride for his son — a bride worthy to be the next mother of the “line of the promise.”
The servant set out to find the bride by trusting that God would lead his every step. He walked in faith that God would lead him to the proper place and the chosen woman. As instructed by Abraham, the servant went to Abraham’s home country and kinsman (Gen 24:4). There the servant sought the Lord to direct his work in finding a bride for Isaac:
Gen 24:12-13 Then he said, “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water.”
Gen 24:14 “Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’; let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”
As it came to pass, the young woman who gave water to the servant and his camels was Rebekah. Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother Nahor (Gen 24:15) and she was living in the household of her brother Laban. Abraham’s servant approached Laban to request her hand in marriage to Isaac. And with the blessings of her family, Rebekah agreed.
A Foreshadow of Things to Come
Chapter 24 gives great detail of the servant’s quest to find a bride for Isaac. The chapter foreshadows how God the Father would send the Holy Spirit into the world to find a spiritual bride for His Son Jesus. That Bride is the Church. In typology we see:
- Abraham as a type of God the Father who sends his servant to find a bride for his son
- Abraham’s servant as a type of the Holy Spirit who seeks a bride for the father’s son
- Rebecca as a type of the Bride of Christ, who hears the call of the servant and comes willingly to the bridegroom.
- And Isaac as a type of the bridegroom [Jesus], who is spoken of but not physically present, until united with His Bride.
It’s interesting to note that Abraham’s servant is unnamed in the text. However, most Bible scholars believe it was the same trusted servant of Genesis 15:2. His name was Eliezer, which means “God of help.” Clearly, that’s a name befitting the Holy Spirit. Just as Abraham’s servant helped find and prepare a bride for Isaac, the Holy Spirit, the God of Help, is preparing a Bride for Jesus.
Gen 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
This chapter records many things:
- Abraham took another wife, Keturah (Gen 25:10
- The names of the children born to Abraham and Keturah (Gen 25:2-4)
- Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac and sent away the sons of the concubines (Gen 25:5-6)
- Abraham’s died and was buried (Gen 25:7-8, Gen 25:9-10)
- God blessed Isaac (Gen 25:11)
- The generations of Ishmael (Gen 25:12-18)
- The generations of Isaac (Gen 25:19ff)
- The births of Isaac and Rebekah’s twin sons, Esau and Jacob (Gen 25:20-26)
Two Very Different Sons for Rebekah and Isaac
When Rebekah became pregnant with twins, she felt them struggling against one another in the womb (Gen 25:22). And the Lord told her that two nations would be born of her. He told that the struggle would continue, and “the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen 25:23).
As the sons grew to maturity, Esau became a hunter and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents (Gen 25:27). The Bible also tells that Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob (Gen 25:28).
Take note that Esau, being the eldest, the birthright was his. And he would be the beneficiary of the inheritance of the firstborn–a double portion. In ancient times, family succession was through the firstborn son and included:
- The Birthright: Leadership of the family, including responsibilities and authority, for leading the family to live in covenantal relationship with God.
- Inheritance: Possession of all worldly things, i.e. property and assets.
Sadly, Esau esteemed his birthright of little value (Gen 25:32). So he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Gen 29-34). In doing so, the birthright passed from the firstborn son of Isaac and Rebekah to the second-born son, Jacob.
The Life and Faith of Abraham
- Timeline of the Life of Abraham
- A Story of Relationship
- From Haran to Canaan
- Abraham and Lot
- The Battle of Siddim
- Abraham and Melchizedek
- Righteousness Through Faith
- Cutting the Covenant
- Hagar and Ishmael
- A New Name for A New Man
- Circumcision: the Sign of the Covenant Read also: Why Circumcision?
- Sarah — A New Name for a New Woman
- The Lord Appeared to Abraham at The Oaks of Mamre
- Abraham Pleaded for Mercy for Sodom and Gomorrah
- The Rescue of Lot Out of Sodom
- Lot and His Daughters
- The Birth of Isaac, the Son of the Promise
- The Akedah: God’s Testing of Abraham’s Faith and Obedience
- ISAAC: A Whisper of Jesus in Genesis 22
- The Death of Sarah and A Bride for Isaac
- Jacob and Esau - Great Life Lessons + the Pattern of the Second Born
- Isaac’s Blessing on Jacob: Genesis 27
- Jacob’s Ladder and His Wrestling Match — Genesis 27, 32
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