The Romantic Angel: Finding A Bride for Isaac

A special retelling of Genesis 24, when God sent his heavenly messenger to lead Isaac to Rebecca.

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, especially when God sends his angels. The Bible is filled with stories of angelic intervention. The heavenly messengers often show up when least anticipated. They bring unlikely thoughts to mind, say what is totally unexpected, and do the inconceivable. If that seems strange to us, it is only because God’s ways are different than ours. Probably one reason we have accounts of angels is to open our minds to the truth that God is always at work and that there is much more to life than most people ever guess.

Abraham had a problem. His son Isaac was the most eligible bachelor in the country. Normally this would be good, but where Abraham and Isaac were living the only prospective brides were Canaanite women who worshipped false gods. Something had to be done, and in that time of arranged marriages Abraham was the one to get things done.

Abraham called his most trusted servant, Eliezer of Damascus. For years Eliezer had skillfully handled the important business and family matters, but he was totally unprepared for this new assignment. “I want you to go back to the old country where my clan still lives and pick a bride for my son, Isaac,” Abraham instructed his major domo.

Eliezer was aghast at what he considered to be an impossible assignment. How would he know which girl to pick? Even if he found the right one, how could he persuade her to leave her family and friends and travel to a strange land to marry someone she had never met?

But Abraham didn’t see a problem. He believed wholeheartedly that God had brought him to the Land of Canaan, and that finding the right bride for Isaac was no big deal. “God will send his angel with you and make your journey a success so that you can get a wife for my son, a wife from my own clan and from my father’s family,” he explained to his servant, as if the process was that simple.

Eliezer had learned there was no use arguing with Abraham when he was certain God was telling him to do something. So the trusted servant took 10 camels, a few of his best helpers, and all kinds of good things from the wealth of Abraham and journeyed to the place where the Tigris and Euphrates met. Getting there was the easy part. Finding the right bride was the dilemma. Abraham’s solution was that an angel would take care of everything. Where is the angel now that I need him? Eliezer thought to himself.

For a moment his mind went blank. Then instantly there came a plan. It was not the kind of scheme the methodical Eliezer would have thought of himself. Where had the idea come from? An angel? Eliezer was convinced, and he was convinced that what he was about to do was right.

It was evening and he was by the village well. This was the time the women came to draw water. Boldly Eliezer prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac.”

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William D. Webber
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