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12. ISAAC'S MARRIAGE.

WHEN Abraham was very old, he sent the eldest servant of his house to Mesopotamia, the country where his own kindred dwelt, to bring from thence a wife for his son Isaac. And the servant took with him ten camels laden with articles of all kinds, as bridal presents for her whom the Lord had appointed for Isaac. And he came to the city of Nahor, and he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water in the evening, at the time when the women go out to draw water. And he prayed, and said, “ O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 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."

Scarcely had he done speaking, when Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel, came with her pitcher upon her shoulder; and she went to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, me, I

thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.” And she said, “ Drink, my lord; and I will draw water for thy camels also.” And she went and drew water for all his camels. And the man wondered at her while he saw her. And he took a golden earring and two golden bracelets, and put them upon her. And he asked her, “Whose daughter art thou ?”

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And she answered, “ I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor” (who was Abraham's cousin). Then the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not forsaken his mercy and his truth to my master, and who hath led me in the way to the house of my master's brother.

On the next morning, he said, “ Let me go to my master, and hinder me not.” Then they asked Rebekah, “ Wilt thou go with this man?” And she said, “ I will go.” And they blessed her, and said, “ Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions.” And so Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.a

JACOB AND ESAU.

13. ISAAC was forty years old when he married Rebekah. And when he was sixty years old there were twins born to him. The two brothers were very much unlike one another : the firstborn was rough both in his appearance and in his manners; the second was smooth and fair. The former was named Esau, and the other Jacob. When they grew up, Esau became a hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob followed his father's manner of life, and was a shepherd dwelling in tents. Isaac, however, loved the wild Esau ; but Rebekah loved the quiet Jacob best.

It happened one day that Jacob had made a mess of pottage of lentiles, and Esau came home faint with hunting. “ Feed me with that same red day of

a Gen. xxiv. 10467.

go out

pottage; for I am faint:" said he to Jacob. Heimmediately makes this proposal to him, “Sell me this day thy birthright.” And Esau said, “Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” So Esau sold his birthright, and confirmed it by an oath. But the father had not been a party to this light-minded bargain, and therefore might still have given the blessing to Esau.

When Isaac was old, it came to pass that his eyes became dim, so that he could not see, and he thought he should soon die; and he called Esau, and said, “ Behold now, I am old, I know not the

my

death: now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and to the field, and take me some venison ; and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; and let my soul bless thee before Í die.”

Now while Esau was gone, Rebekah took two kids and made savoury meat of them, such as Isaac loved, and sent her son Jacob with it, that he might receive his father's blessing. Then Jacob came in and said, “My father :” and Isaac answered, “ Who art thou, my son ?” Jacob said to him, “Esau thy firstborn ; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless

Then his father felt him, because Esau had rough hands, but Jacob's were smooth. But Rebekah had by an artifice given him a rough skin. Then said Isaac, “ The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And he asked him again, “ Art thou my very son Esau ?” And he said, “ I am." Then he ate, and after he had

me.”

eaten and drunk, he said to Jacob, “ Come near now, and kiss me, my son.” Then he blessed him,

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and said, “ God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.” a

Scarcely had Jacob gone out, before Esau came home from hunting, bringing some savoury meat, and said, “ Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison.” And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, “ Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him ? yea,

a Gen. xxvii. 1 -- 29.

and he shall be blessed.” And Esau cried aloud and said, “ Bless me, even me also, O my father!” And he said, “ Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.” Then Esau wept bitterly. And Isaac said, “ Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above : and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother: and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.”

And Esau hated Jacob on account of the blessing, and uttered fearful threats against him. “My father," said he, “ will soon have to suffer grief ; for I will slay my brother Jacob.”. Therefore Jacob was advised by his mother to flee away from his brother, and to go to her brother Laban, in the land of Haran.c

In this flight, Jacob had to experience in many ways what sorrow it brings upon any one to seek advantages by deceit. Do not imagine, dear children, that the deceit of Jacob and of Rebekah was pleasing to God. They ought to have waited to see how God would fulfil his promise, instead of taking it into their own hands.

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14. JACOB'S WANDERINGS. Jacob took leave of his father, who gave strict charge not to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; but to go to Padan-aram, and to take a wife of the daughters of Laban, his mother's brother. On the journey, when he had placed a • Luther's version.

Gen. xxvii. 30-45.

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