There are two men in scripture that we associate with the place called Damascus. One in the New Testament called Ananias, Acts 9. 10-18;1 the other in the Old Testament, ‘Eliezer of Damascus’, Gen. 15. 2. There are some eleven Eliezers mentioned with only one in the New Testament, Luke 3. 29. The popularity of the name could, perhaps, be because of its meaning - ‘my God is help’.2
Eliezer was the eldest servant in Abraham’s household, Gen. 24. 2, and to him was given the important task of finding a wife for Isaac. Eliezer is referred to as ‘one born in my house’, Gen. 15. 3.3 Eliezer would not become heir although the law at that time would regard him as such if Abraham had died childless. However, God’s plan clearly sets forth that Abraham’s heir would ‘come forth out of thine own bowels’, v. 4. Overall, Abraham’s seed would be as the dust of the earth, 13. 16, as the stars in the heavens, 15. 5, and as the sand on the seashore, 22. 17. An important factor too is that in Abraham’s seed, ‘shall all the nations of the earth be blessed’, v. 18. In all this Abraham believed God, Jas. 2. 23.
Genesis chapter 24 is the longest chapter in the book of Genesis and its importance cannot be overlooked. Thus, a broad consideration of Eliezer is worthy of note:
In taking a journey with Eliezer we might outline the chapter as follows:
‘Abraham was… well stricken in age’.
Eliezer would realize that what lay before him must be accomplished before his master’s death. The servant has been employed for many years and, perhaps, may have been around eighty years of age. He knew the family well. However, unknown to him, Abraham would live for another thirty-five years. However, Eliezer’s desire was to return as soon as possible to Abraham, v. 56.
As Abraham indicates, a bride is to be sought for Isaac. But not just any bride but one of ‘my country and… my kindred’, v. 4.
As he considered the task, the servant started to realize the instructions of his master. He was to obtain a bride for another. His concern, and rightly so, was whether his choice of bride would return with him.
Abraham reassures his servant if he was not able to return with a bride for Isaac. However, as God had provided a lamb in chapter 22, He would surely guide to the provision of a bride in chapter 24. Abraham recounts God’s declaration that Isaac would be the heir, v. 7.
Neither the sending master nor the servant knew who she would be, but God did. Thus, Eliezer sets off on his journey of some 400 miles to find a bride for his master’s son.
Such resources were in the hands of the servant and the others that went with him. This denoted the generosity of his master, v. 35, and this was seen in the gifts he was to bestow on Rebekah, v. 22, and her family, v. 53.
The servant had confidence in God, ‘I being in the way, the Lord led me’, v. 27, see also verse 48. He was sure this was all of God.
‘Before he had done speaking’ the answer to his prayer came. The servant asks later, ‘whose daughter art thou?’ v. 23. He had to be sure other family connections. It must have been some task to water ten camels. Whilst Rebekah had servants, v. 61, she was prepared to do the menial work. He wondered but did not say anything. Surely, here was the very bride in the purposes of God and the answer to the servant’s prayer.
Confirmation is given and God’s approval evidenced. The Lord had truly led him to the right family, the right place and the right woman, so the servant bows and worships, v. 26.
They are to be noted and they are a study in themselves, vv. 5, 12-14, 17, 23, 27, 34-49, 56 and 65.
For Rebekah, Laban, Bethuel and others, nothing is hidden from them. He was a true servant of his master in all things. Notice the many times in the chapter the words ‘master’ and ‘servant’ are mentioned.
The task is complete. Rebekah sees Isaac for the first time. What a scene that must have been! ‘It is my master’. Equally, he told Isaac all things.
Nothing more is said of the servant. The mission was accomplished. He sought the Lord and with His help was able to convince a young woman to leave her home, to go to a place she had never been, to marry someone she did not know and live in a land she had never seen.
In concluding this meditation may we consider the wonderful ways of God and bow our hearts in worship. His ways are past finding out!