Introduction: How do you find a spouse? How do you know when it is
the right person? Once you are married, what basic rules should you
follow? The story of finding a spouse for Isaac recounts another time
and another culture. But, there are important lessons we can learn
for today. Let’s jump right into our lesson and see what we can

  1. Finding a Wife

    1. Read Genesis 24:1-4. Isaac should be about 45 years old
      right now. Would you guess that he had noticed potential
      wives among the Canaanites?

      1. Why did Abraham reject them? (They were not followers
        of God.)

      2. What does it say about Abraham, Isaac and Eliezer,
        that Abraham consults with Eliezer about finding
        Isaac a wife, and Isaac goes along with this?
        (Eliezer has been running Abraham’s household for
        decades. He is apparently a very competent,
        intelligent and wise man who follows God. Isaac has
        a history of trusting his father’s judgment. (See
        Genesis 22, where Isaac has been willing to be
        sacrificed by his father.))

        1. What lessons do we learn from this about
          marriage for today? (Two things. First, it is
          important to seek to marry someone with a
          compatible religious background. Second, when
          seeking a mate, you should pay close attention
          to the views of those who are mature and wise
          followers of God. Taking counsel is critical.)

    2. Read Genesis 24:10-14. On what does Eliezer depend to
      obtain the right wife? (He did the reasonable things –
      like bringing gifts. But, primarily he prayed that God
      would lead him to the right woman.)

      1. What lesson do we learn for today about how to find
        the right spouse? (Gifts and the normal aspects of
        courting are important. But, the most important thing
        is to seek God’s guidance in finding the right
        spouse. I have been praying for many years that God
        would lead my children to the right spouse. This
        week, my son Blake (who is my partner in putting this
        lesson on the Internet), is getting married to a girl
        who is clearly the answer to my prayers. Are you
        praying for God’s guidance for the marriage of your

      2. What do you think about the “test” that Eliezer sets
        up to determine God’s leading in this? (Eliezer is
        looking for someone who is gracious, considerate and
        hard-working. Seems like an intelligent approach.)

    3. Read Genesis 24:15-19. What do you think about God’s
      response to the prayer of Eliezer? (God answers
      immediately! Not only that, He provides a woman who not
      only fits the requirements of Eliezer’s test, but she is
      also very beautiful!)

    4. Eliezer explains to the father and brother of Rebekah his
      mission, the “family stock,” the wealth of Abraham and
      Isaac, and the Lord’s guidance in selecting Rebekah. Read
      Genesis 24:50-51. What does the reaction of the father and
      brother tell you about them? (That they were also
      followers of God and believed in His divine leading in the
      affairs of His followers. There is some debate about
      whether this is Bethuel the father of Rebekah, or whether
      the father has died and this is a son who bears his name.
      In any event, the appropriate “authorities” in the family
      give their consent.)

      1. Read Genesis 24:55-58. What is Rebekah’s view of this
        arranged marriage? (She seems to agree because she is
        willing to go right away.)

        1. Is Rebekah loved by her family? (It seems yes –
          for they want a few days to say goodbye.)

        2. Why would you guess Rebekah is so willing to go
          right away? (I think she is excited about this
          new life and this new adventure and she is ready
          to go! Perhaps hanging around for additional
          time would only prolong the sadness of leaving.)

    5. Read Genesis 24:59-60. They prayed for a blessing for
      Rebekah. Do you see any significance in this prayer? (It
      suggests that Eliezer explained the promise of God to make
      Abraham a “great nation.”)

  2. The Marriage

    1. Read Genesis 24:61. Was Rebekah poor? (Her family had
      money because she has more than one maid.)

    2. Read Genesis 24:62-63. I think there is a lot of meaning
      in these two verses. Is Isaac living at home? (He is not
      living with his father. This suggests that he is setting
      up his own place to get ready for his new wife.)

      1. Why does Isaac return to his father’s place? (My bet
        is that he has carefully calculated the time,
        distance and camel speed, and figures his new wife
        may show up about now. So, he wants to be present for
        the big occasion.)

      2. Isaac went out to “meditate.” I thought this might
        mean pray, but that does not seem to be the case. It
        means “pensively muse.” What would you guess he is
        musing about? (The new wife, of course!)

        1. Is his musing rewarded? (Yes. I recall when my
          parents were alive and they would drive to visit
          us. A visit was pretty rare, so I would stand
          outside my home, or start walking down the
          sidewalk to see them coming. Isaac sees the
          camels in the distance and his hopes start to

    3. Read Genesis 24:64-65. There is an old song I like, “Some
      enchanted evening, you will see a stranger, you will see a
      stranger, across a crowded room. And somehow you’ll know,
      you’ll know even then, you’ll see that stranger again and
      again.” These two see each other across an uncrowded
      field. I love the mental picture.

      1. Why does Rebekah get down from her camel to ask
        Eliezer to confirm Isaac’s identity? (Would it be
        refined to start shouting, “Eliezer, is that the
        guy?” Since she suspects this is Isaac, it would be
        impolite to remain seated on the camel when he is
        walking. Sort of the reverse of standing up when a
        woman arrives.)

        1. What good news does Rebekah get when seeing
          Isaac? (He is interested in her coming. He is
          not off on a hunting trip or a sheep-shearing
          adventure. He is waiting.)

      2. Why did she cover herself with her veil. Was this a
        custom for Hebrew women? (No, it was not. Consider
        Genesis 12:14 and Genesis 24:16. Different
        commentaries have different answers. One suggested a
        Hebrew woman would wear a veil at the time of her
        wedding, thus explaining how (later) the son of Isaac
        and Rebekah could marry the wrong woman and not know
        it. Another said a betrothed woman remained veiled
        until the marriage. Another said the veil was a token
        of “reverence and subjection” to her husband. I’m
        sure Isaac had gotten a look at her face when she was
        up on the camel – since his eyesight was probably
        better than Eliezer’s and Eliezer recognized him. So,
        she lets Isaac see her beauty, then covers it up to
        await the wedding. I love this story.)

    4. Read Genesis 24:66-67. God guided the work of Eliezer in
      selecting a wife for Isaac – just as Eliezer requested.
      How did Eliezer’s faithfulness in partnering with God work
      out? (Good work. Isaac loved Rebekah. Notice the reversal
      of the order of modern marriages: “so she became his wife
      and he loved her.”)

      1. Do you understand how Isaac’s marriage could comfort
        him with the loss of his mother? (My son and my
        daughter were born before my father died. That
        helped to cushion the loss. No doubt, Sarah’s death
        helped trigger Abraham’s decision to get moving on
        getting a son for Isaac. Abraham wanted to have this
        taken care of before he died.)

  3. Children

    1. Read Genesis 25:20-21. What kind of problem did Rebekah
      have that sounded a familiar family theme? (She also had
      no children – like Sarah.)

      1. How did Isaac handle this? Compare his actions with
        that of his father? (Isaac turned to God instead of
        turning to scheming.)

    2. Read Genesis 25:22-23. Where does Rebekah go to have her
      questions answered? (She goes to God!. This is a godly

      1. What does she learn that is contrary to the normal
        order of things? (The older will serve the younger.)

    1. Read Genesis 25:27-28. The story so far of the marriage of
      Isaac and Rebekah sounds perfect. What problem creeps into
      the marriage? (They have preferences among their

      1. If you are reading this you once were a child. Unless
        you were an only child, what does favoritism do to a
        family? (My parents suffered from favoritism when
        they were growing up. They determined never to show
        any favoritism when they were parents.)

      2. The Bible gives food as a basis for Isaac’s
        preference for Esau. Do you see any other reason?
        (Esau is the man of adventure. He is not hanging
        around the tents!)

    2. Read Genesis 25:29-34. What does this reveal about the
      characters of Esau and Jacob? (It doesn’t say anything
      good about either of them.)

    3. Our story goes down hill from here. Genesis 27 describes
      how Rebekah and Jacob conspire to deceive Isaac in his old
      age and deprive Esau of the birthright. Why would Rebekah
      feel justified in this deceit? (Remember, prior to their
      birth, God’s prediction in Genesis 25:23 that Esau would
      serve Jacob.)

      1. Because of this deceit, Jacob is forced to flee from
        his home. He never sees his father or mother alive

    4. Friend, how wonderful things were when Isaac and Rebekah
      depended upon God. When their lives turned to favoritism
      and then deceit, it tore the family apart. Will you
      determine to live in accord with God’s rules?

  1. Next week: Jacob and Rachel: Labor of Love.