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BRAHAM, the 
father of Isaac, was 
born in the country 
of Mesopotamia, which was a part of Syria, about three 
thousand years before the birth of Christ. He lived for a 
very long time in the land of his birth, among his own 
kindred, and was possessed of great wealth in gold and 
silver, and vast flocks of sheep and herds of cattle ; but, 
what is better still, he was a good man, and God loved 
him, because he walked in his ways. 

Now when Abraham was somewhat advanced in years, 
the Lord commanded him to leave his native place and go 
to the land of Canaan, a fertile and beautiful country, now 
called Palestine, or the Holy Land. And God promised 
to give all that country to him and his posterity, that is, 
to his children and their children after them, for all gene- 
rations-; and God also told him that he should be the father 
of many nations, that would be great and powerful in after 
ines. But how was this to come to pass? for Abraham 

1 neither son nor daughter ; however, he trusted in the 

his people, his flocks, and herds, 

to the land of Canaan, where he settled, and in time became 
lord of the whole country. 

The people of those countries did not then live in houses, 
but in tents, as the wandering Arabs do at the present 
day; and thus Abraham lived in the midst of his people, 
and was their ruler, their priest, and their judge; for there 
was no king, therefore this was called the patriarchal form 
of government, meaning the kind of authority that a father 
lias over his children. Still Abraham had no son to inherit 
his lands, which caused him much grief; for years passed 
away, and he and his wife were both very old. 

At length God appeared to him in a dream, and said, that 
he was now about to send him a son, who was to be named 
Isaac, and through whom, the promise lie had made to 
Abraham, of his family's future greatness, was to be ful- 
filled ; and so it came to pass ; for Isaac was the father of 
* Jacob, who had twelve sons, and their families, in course 
-of time, formed the twelve tribes of Israel, who divided; 

®the land of Canaan amongst them, and constitur ' ■ 1 -.j*s« 

I. / • 


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Sarah his wife rejoiced greatly ^ 

when Isaac was born ; and they had reason to take plea- 
sure in him, for he was a child of an excellent disposition, 
being brought up to reverence and obey his parents, and 
to fear the Lord. He lived to the age of forty, without 
being married, when his father was anxious that he should 
have a wife from among his own family or kindred, and 
not from those of a stranger; so he resolved to send to his 
former country, where many of his relatives still resided, 
to seek a damsel for his son's bride. 

But Abraham's strong affection for his only child, made 
him unwilling to let Isaac go by himself; so he commis- 
sioned his steward, who was an old and faithful servant, to 
go to Haran, the place of his birth, and select a wife for 
his son from among the maidens of his own kindred ; and 
he sent many presents to be given to the damsel and her 
friends. Some of these were jewels and bridal dresses, 
the latter being probably vests of rich silk, as such gar- 
ments were always among the wedding clothes of a bride 
^opulent circumstances, who also wore a veil that covered 

customary, in the east, to send 
presents on such occasions, and 

indeed no one ever makes a visit without being provided 
with some gift for the person to whom the visit is paid. 
Even the poorest people follow this custom, as far as their 
circumstances will allow, and when they go to see each 
other, will carry with them a flower, an orange, or some 
other trifle, to present to their friend. 

But to return to our story. The steward set out on his 
errand, attended by several of his master's servants, with 
ten camels to carry provisions and water for the journey. 
The camel is the most useful of all animals in the east, 
since, without it, there would be no possibility of traversing 
the sandy plains in those countries. 

The steward at length arrived at the city in which his 
master's kinsmen dwelt, and finding a well near the place, 
he stopped at it to give the camels drink. It was evening, 

&I the city were coming out with their 
pitchers to get water ; for in those 
times the manners of the people were so simple, that the 
daughters of the richest men fetched water from the wells 
for the use of the family ; we therefore need not think it 
strange that Abraham's servant should look among these 
damsels for a suitable bride for his young master. But he 
was afraid of trusting to his own judgment, so he prayed 
to God to send him a sign, by which he might know how 
to make his choice, saying, " Lord, I pray thee, let it 
come to pass that the damsel to whom I shall say, — * Let 
down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink ; ' and 
she shall answer, ' Drink, and I will give thy camels 
drink also;' — let the same be her that Thou hast ap- 
pointed for Thy servant Isaac." 

He had scarcely made an end to his prayer, when he 
saw a beautiful young girl coming towards the well, with 


her pitcher thrown over 
her shoulder ; so he went to meet h 
her, and asked her to give him a ^BR 
little water to drink. She answered, with ready kindness, 
"Drink, my lord; and I will draw water for thy camels, 
also." Then the man thanked God in his heart for sending 
him the sign he had prayed for; and said to himself, " This 
is surely the maiden whom the Lord has appointed to be 
the wife of my master's son." He then enquired what 
was her name? and whose daughter she was? when, to 
his great joy, he found she was Rebekah, the daughter 
of Nabor, who was Abraham's brother. 

By all these circumstances, we may see that the marriage 
of Isaac and Rebekah was by the especial will of God, who 
put it into the heart of the steward to pray for a sign by 
which he might know on whom to fix his choice. 

That wise and trusty servant then took from among the 
presents he had brought, a pair of golden bracelets, weigh- 
ing ten shekels, which was equal to five ounces ; and put 
them on the arms of Rebekah ; and he also gave her a 
golden ornament which, in the Bible, is called an ear-ring. 

Rebekah ran to shew th^-presents to her brother Laban, 




who immediately went to ^^w 
invite the stranger to go home 
with him, and offered him lodg- 
ing and entertainment for himself, his men, and camels, 
as long as he chose to remain there. The steward went 
home with him, and a supper was presently prepared ; but 
before he could eat, he made known his errand in that 
country ; told how God had directed him to choose Rebe- 
kah, in preference to any other damsel ; and asked her 
mother and brother if they are willing to let her return 
with him, to marry her cousin Isaac? to which they con- 
sented ; for they saw that it was the will of God that this 
marriage should take place, and they doubted not that 
Isaac, like his father Abraham, was a good man. 

The steward then presented the gifts he had brought, 
after which he sat down to supper, feeling sure that he 
had clone right, and that his master, Abraham, would be 
pleased with him. 

On the following morning, he requested leave to depart; 
but the friends of Rebekah begged he would permit her to 
stay with them a few days longer. However, he said it 
was his duty to return as qujplrlv as possible; therefore, 

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they agreed to let the 
damsel decide for herself, whether 
she would go or not; and she 
consented to go. Then they objected no longer; and 
Rebekah, taking an affectionate leave of her mother and 
brother, set out with the trusty steward, accompanied by 
her nurse, and several other female attendants. 

One evening, as Isaac was watching in the fields, he saw 
the camels returning, and women riding on them. He hast- 
ened to meet them ; and, when Rebekah saw them coming, 
she alighted from her camel, and put her veil over her, to 
conceal her face, according to the custom of the maidens of 
that country, at those times, and to this day. The steward 
then related to Isaac all that had happened, at which he 
was much pleased, and taking Rebekah by the hand, led 
her to the tent, which had been the abode of Sarah, his 
mother, who was long since dead. 

They were married according to the Jewish customs, 
with the blessings of their father Abraham, and lived very 
happily together, for many years; and their sons were 
Esau and Jacob, whose interesting history will be related 
in another book. 


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