Genesis Chapter Twenty Four, Arranged Marriage?

In our study of Genesis chapter twenty four, we will look at arranged marriage from a biblical perspective. 

Genesis 24:1

"Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way." NIV translation

Abraham was not only wealthy but he had an heir to carry on the family name. He was blessed by the fact that he did not have to worry about how he was going to survive or whether he would leave a lasting legacy. 

Genesis 24:2 - 4

"He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, 'Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.'" NIV translation

Abraham's last task was to arrange for the marriage of his son. Although it is not common in the world today, it was throughout the Bible. He wanted to ensure that Isaac was united to the woman that God had created for him. We should remember that Abraham had learned a valuable lesson about being united with a woman that was not chosen by God. He had suffered the heartache of Hagar and Ishmael and wanted to help Isaac to avoid a similar mistake.

Genesis 24:5

"The servant asked him, 'What if the woman was unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?'" NIV translation

"The servant" probably refers to Eliazer of Damascus and he asks a very reasonable question. When we hear the term "arranged marriage", we usually don't think of the woman having a choice in the matter but, here, we see that the woman would have a choice. We see that Abraham trusted God to ensure that the selected woman would agree to travel to Canaan. He did not want Isaac to go to his old homeland and it reminds us of a parent's wish to help their children to avoid some of the mistakes of life. Abraham knew that Mesopotamia was a pagan place and he did not want Isaac to go there.