Genesis 24:1-9 (CSB): Abraham was now old, getting on in years, and the Lord had blessed him in everything. 2 Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his household who managed all he owned, “Place your hand under my thigh, 3 and I will have you swear by the Lord, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live, 4 but will go to my land and my family to take a wife for my son Isaac.”

5 The servant said to him, “Suppose the woman is unwilling to follow me to this land? Should I have your son go back to the land you came from?”

6 Abraham answered him, “Make sure that you don’t take my son back there. 7 The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from my native land, who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘I will give this land to your offspring’—he will send his angel before you, and you can take a wife for my son from there. 8 If the woman is unwilling to follow you, then you are free from this oath to me, but don’t let my son go back there.” 9 So the servant placed his hand under his master Abraham’s thigh and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

Why did it matter so much to Abraham that he made his servant swear an oath not to take Isaac back to Abraham's homeland? Abraham talks about God's promise to Abraham to give him the land, but it's not like Isaac going on a short trip elsewhere would invalidate God's promise. So what did Abraham care so much about this?

2 Answers 2


We know that Abraham came from north Mesopotamia - Paddan Aram - and settled in Canaan. The journey from Hebron to Nahor in the district of Haran is about 550 miles.

It may be true that Isaac going on a short trip would not invalidate God's promise, but this was no short trip to be undertaken lightly! Imagine traveling from Sydney to Brisbane. It may only be 455 miles by aeroplane and 572 miles by car, but how long do you think that would take by camel? Not less than three weeks (with a following wind and no bandits).

Then there is the fact that Abraham's senior servant was directed by God to meet Rebekah, who happened to be the granddaughter of Nahor, his brother.

Imagine if Isaac (who was 40 years old) had gone to Haran and had been welcomed by his father's kin and members of his tribe, having laid eyes on Rebekah. Oh, what a temptation to remain in their tents, being treated as an honoured guest! Oh, what a possibility that Nahor and Rebekah's mother would have tried to persuade Isaac to stay with them, marry Rebekah and set up home in the district of Haran.

As it was, they tried to prevent Abraham's senior servant from returning immediately, but he would have none of it. He was on a mission - God's mission - and he would not be swayed. A besotted young man might have been less determined and more easily persuaded, especially in view of that arduous return journey, one that would take longer because there would now be a caravan of people and goods to transport.

Abraham knew what he was doing when he sent his senior servant on this mission. But perhaps the main reason for keeping Isaac at home was to ensure that Rebekah would literally step out in faith and go to a strange land to marry a man she had never seen. As it turned out, Rebekah's brother and mother blessed her (Genesis 24:60) and sent her on her way - all part of God's divine plan.


And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Similarly, when the LORD wanted to take a "woman" out of mankind to bring forth a "Son" who was to be both a Savior as well as the King of kings, we see in Genesis 12:1-3 the following profound marriage proposal:

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (My emphasis)

That "woman" is identified in Revelation 12:1-5 as follows:

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. …….. . And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (My emphasis)

Yet, even after the Lord previously proposed (Gen 12:1-3, supra), Abram refused to leave his fathers house, or even leave his kindred. Rather, Abram even went with his wife, Sara, with his daddy, Tera, along with his nephew, Lot, into the land of Cannan, as shown in Gen 11:31-32:

And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

FINALLY, Abram told Lot that they must part--Abram must become separated unto the Lord. Only after Abram seperated himself from the last member of his father house, do we find this very beautiful marriage covenant in Genesis 13:14-16:

And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. (My emphasis)

That nation, Israel, is that wife of God, greatly loved, that brought forth that Son, the seed of the woman. God even changed Abram's name to Abraham, designating him as being the father of that, and many other nations, which is now history.

As to going back to the Ur of the Chaldees, that would be like leaving "her husband" and going back home to daddy or mommy. Israel was married, and knew it.

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