Genesis 24:7, 40 – The Angel of the Lord Will Watch Abraham’s Servant

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POSTED 02 NOVEMBER, 2017

“The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there… He said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives and from my father’s house.’”

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

The Patriarch Abraham knew that his son Isaac could not marry one of the local Canaanite women, and so he commissioned his most trusted servant, most probably Eliezer of Damascus (Genesis 15:2), to return to Mesopotamia, to find a suitable wife for him (Genesis 24:1-14). As Abraham is instructing his servant, he reminds him how God had said, “I will assign this land to your offspring” (Genesis 24:7b, NJPS), a sure statement about how finding a wife for Isaac bears a significance beyond just two people being married. Abraham informs his servant, presumably as an assurance that he will be protected on his journey, yishlach malakho l’phaneikha, “He shall send His messenger before you” (Genesis 24:7c, Alter).

The bulk of Genesis 24 records the scene of Abraham’s servant encountering Rebekah, who will become Isaac’s wife (Genesis 24:15-67). When he encounters Rebekah, informing her of the charge he has been given, among the things he says is, “The LORD, in whose presence I have walked, shall send His messenger with you” (Genesis 24:40a, Alter), l’panayv yishlach malakho ittakh.

Read isolated by itself, the messenger or angel noted in Genesis 24:7, 40, does not have to be the figure of the malakh YHWH or “messenger/angel of the LORD,” who is witnessed speaking in the first person as the LORD or YHWH. However, when a selection of passages are considered, it is fair to conclude that the messenger or angel spoken of by Abraham and his servant, is this figure, who is ensuring that Abraham indeed would have progeny, with his son Isaac finding a wife.