Aw, baby Isaac is all grown up, and remember I said to keep Nahor on our radars. He’s a big part of the puzzle in this whopper of a chapter. It’s long not because it says a super whole lot but because it repeats the same story twice. And what a great story it is! Nahor’s youngest son has a beautiful daughter, who is probably about the same age as young Isaac. Remember, Isaac was born in Abraham’s old age. Whereas we learned in Chapter 22 that Nahor had a pot full o’kids by the time Isaac was born. Bethuel could have been old enough to marry by then, and Rebekah could have been born within a few years of Isaac. And then the second cousins meet and fall in love and … swoon … it’s the makings of a perfect romance story!
I do love this story, but today I noticed the servant. This story actually is about Abraham’s servant, whose name we never even read (though, Abraham’s head servant was called Eleazar in a previous chapter). This man, though, was set to be Abraham’s heir. Remember before Ishmael was born, Abraham said if he produced no heirs, he would have to leave his inheritance to his head servant. I love how this man, even though he has lost his inheritance and isn’t even called by name here, remains so loyal to Abraham – and Isaac, who actually is the reason he won’t inherit Abraham’s estate.
He’s not only loyal, but he has a FERVENT love for God. His prayers are so cute. They’re chatty, almost. He even says in verse 45, as he’s telling the story to Rebekah’s family, that before he’d finished praying in his heart … that’s the part! Praying in his heart. Like he was just having a little chit-chat with God in his heart. You ever do that? I catch myself doing it sometimes and realize God probably doesn’t want to hear silly first-world, absent-minded old lady requests like, “Please remind me to pay the electric bill,” but by golly, he always comes through! It’s the simple chats I think God loves the most sometimes. The task Abraham’s servant carries out, however, required a little deeper conversation.
So why does this chapter repeat the same story twice? In the first section, we see the story unfolding. We see what actually happened. In the second section, we witness the servant telling the story. The servant could have shown us a number of things about himself during this second version: he could have stretched the truth, left out bits or even lied to not sound so crazy. But he shines through, doesn’t he? He tells every detail as it happened, right down to making sure they knew she watered his camels. That’s a faithful servant, through and through. And that’s why it was so important for the story to be repeated in full detail twice: we get to witness the servant’s full honesty and faithfulness to Abraham, and more importantly, to God. Can I get a witness? Hey, you ARE a witness, man!
I know I’ve written a ton here already, but I need to address the thigh thing before I sign off. In the first part of the chapter, Abraham asks his servant to take a weird oath by placing his hand under his thigh. That threw me for a loop several years ago, and then I had someone explain it to me like this: imagine the servant kneeling in front of Abraham, and gently grasping the back of Abraham’s thigh. Oh, ok. That made way more sense than my vision of Abraham sitting and the servant placing his hand under Abraham’s thigh. Awkward. Or even worse, just bending over and having to reach down to reach the back of Abraham’s thigh. I couldn’t even fathom why this would be a thing! Thank goodness for historians and Google. And if you had those same horrible images in your head, too, you’re welcome. It’s a relief to know the truth, isn’t it?
Writing prompt: tell-tale hearts
Can you be trusted with the facts? Write about something that happened in front of another person (a witness) recently. Let your witness read your story and see if he/she agrees with your account.