The Story of Rebekah and the
Servant on the Road from Haran
Of the three Patriarchs, only Isaac never leaves Canaan. Since Canaanite women were forbidden to the Patriarchs, the need arose to send for a wife for Isaac from Haran, from his father’s family that lived there. Abraham assigns the task of traveling to Haran and fetching an appropriate wife for his son to “the senior servant of his household, who had charge of all that he owned” (Genesis 24:2). The servant — whom the Rabbis identified as Abraham’s steward, Damesek Eliezer, who is mentioned in Genesis 15:2 (see, e.g., Genesis Rabbah 59:10) — departs for Haran and performs his task well: Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, nephew of Abraham, and the sister of Laban, is identified as the bride-to-be.
Once the servant confirms that Bethuel and Laban agree to the marriage, he hurries to return to his master’s home, telling his hosts, “‘Do not delay me, now that the LORD has made my errand successful. Give me leave that I may go to my master.’… Then Rebekah and her maids arose, mounted the camels, and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and went his way” (Genesis 24:56, 61).
Nothing is said about the journey back to Canaan. Their meeting with Isaac, on the other hand, is described in detail. Isaac “went out walking” toward evening. “Raising her eyes, Rebekah saw Isaac. She fell off the camel and said to the servant, ‘Who is that man walking in the field toward us?’ And the servant said, ‘That is my master.’ So she took her veil and covered herself” (Genesis 24:64–65). Immediately,