10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. 12 And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
Abraham’s servant takes an impressive show of wealth with him, including ten camels and, as we will find out later, precious gifts and jewelry. He travels to Nahor, which was both the name of Abraham’s brother and his grandfather. So perhaps this city is named after one of these individuals. Perhaps the brother, given that his son Bethuel and grand-daughter Rebekah now live there.
And when the servant arrives at the outskirts of the city he comes up with a test. He petitions God, asking that the first woman to follow a certain procedure will also be the one who is meant to marry Isaac. The procedure is not random, though, it is a way meant to identify a good and worthy woman.
For starters he is looking for a woman who is diligently serving the needs of her household, coming down to the well to draw water. Then he is looking for one who is kind, willing to give water to him when he asks. Finally he is looking for one who is generous and industrious, who goes the extra mile by offering to also draw water for each of his camels. And while I’m not an expert on camels, it said that he brought ten of them, which sounds like an exorbitant amount of large animals to be drawing water for!
A woman who has each of these qualities would make a wonderful companion indeed, but then there would be the matter of whether she was an eligible member of Abraham’s kin. The servant’s prayer is that she would be.