1 Abraham was now a very old man, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.
2 One day Abraham said to the man in charge of his household, who was his oldest servant,
3 "Swear* by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not let my son marry one of these local Canaanite women.1
4 Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac."
5 The servant asked, "But suppose I can't find a young woman who will travel so far from home? May I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives?"
6 "No!" Abraham warned. "Be careful never to take my son there.
7 For the LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my offspring.* He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a young woman there to be my son's wife.2
8 If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there."
9 So the servant took a solemn oath* that he would follow Abraham's instructions.3
10 He loaded ten of Abraham's camels with gifts and set out, taking with him the best of everything his master owned. He traveled to Aram-naharaim* and went to the village where Abraham's brother Nahor had settled.4
11 There the servant made the camels kneel down beside a well just outside the village. It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water.
12 "O LORD, God of my master," he prayed. "Give me success and show kindness to my master, Abraham. Help me to accomplish the purpose of my journey.
13 See, here I am, standing beside this spring, and the young women of the village are coming out to draw water.
14 This is my request. I will ask one of them for a drink. If she says, `Yes, certainly, and I will water your camels, too!'--let her be the one you have appointed as Isaac's wife. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master."
15 As he was still praying, a young woman named Rebekah arrived with a water jug on her shoulder. Her father was Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah.
16 Now Rebekah was very beautiful, and she was a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again.
17 Running over to her, the servant asked, "Please give me a drink."
18 "Certainly, sir," she said, and she quickly lowered the jug for him to drink.
19 When he had finished, she said, "I'll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough!"
20 So she quickly emptied the jug into the watering trough and ran down to the well again. She kept carrying water to the camels until they had finished drinking.
21 The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not she was the one the LORD intended him to meet.
22 Then at last, when the camels had finished drinking, he gave her a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets* for her wrists.5
23 "Whose daughter are you?" he asked. "Would your father have any room to put us up for the night?"
24 "My father is Bethuel," she replied. "My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.
25 Yes, we have plenty of straw and food for the camels, and we have a room for guests."
26 The man fell down to the ground and worshiped the LORD.
27 "Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham," he said. "The LORD has been so kind and faithful to Abraham, for he has led me straight to my master's relatives."
28 The young woman ran home to tell her family about all that had happened.
29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban.
30 When he saw the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister's wrists, and when he heard her story, he rushed out to the spring, where the man was still standing beside his camels. Laban said to him,
31 "Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the LORD. Why do you stand here outside the village when we have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels!"