The Camels and the Well
by Brad Scott
Very early in my walk with ''Elohiym, I was introduced to types used in the Scriptures. It was through these shadows and pictures that I came to relate intimately with the reality of YHVH. I learned these types and pictures before I actually came to understand my Hebrew roots. For years I was convinced that the only purpose of the Tanakh was to predict the coming of the Messiah and the New Testament. One of the first scriptures I memorized was:
Romans 15:4For whatever things were written in earlier times were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.
This verse, so I was told, was evidence in cement, that the entire Old Testament was only written to predict the Messiah and to warn New Testament believers of what not to do. This view, as I began to grow and actually read the New Testament, turned out to be dead wrong. Those things which happened in earlier times were written to teach and instruct us so that we, as gentiles, might have the same hope as those in earlier times. This is the clear context of the 15th chapter of Romans. There are many times in the New Testament where we are specifically told that a certain event was a picture or type. In 1 Kefa (1 Peter) 3:20-21, Ivrim (Hebrews) 9:23-24, 1 Corinthians 10:4 and Galatians 4:24-26, we are given the revelation of pictures painted long ago. The shadows of the coming of the Messiah is imperative to see, but the Tanakh is filled with many more pictures for our instruction so that with one mind and with one mouth we may glorify ''Elohiym, even the Father of our Adonai, Yeshua' the Messiah (Romans 15:6). This is the reason why YHVH uses types in the Scriptures, and this is the context of Romans 15:4.
I have read many commentaries on the sending of Avraham's servant to get a bride for Yitz'chaq in Bere'shiyt (Genesis) chapter 24. As you might guess, virtually all of them focus only on the identity of the bride and the bridegroom. Many commentators highlight the view that the servant, a type of the Holy Spirit, went to find a gentile bride for Yitz'chaq, using this type to show the rejection of the Messiah by the people of Avraham's new found land, Israel. I hope to show that this view is not only wrong, but this common teaching does not even scratch the surface of what YHVH is teaching His people in this unique chapter of history. So, let's go for a walk with the camels to the well!
Bere'shiyt 24:1-3And Avraham was old, and well stricken in age: and YHVH had blessed Avraham in all things. And Avraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, they hand under my thigh; And I will make thee swear by YHVH, the ''Elohiym of heaven, and the ''Elohiym of earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.
YHVH begins the painting with some background. Avraham, we are previously told, is to be the father of many nations.
Bere'shiyt 17:5Neither shall thy name any more be called Avram, but thy name shall be Avraham; for a father of many nations [gentiles] have I made thee.
According to Bere'shiyt 17:19, the seed to produce these nations was to pass down through Yitz'chaq.
Bere'shiyt 17:19And ''Elohiym said, Sarah, thy wife, shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Yitz'chaq: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
Avraham is old and knows he is not long for this world, so he arranges a bride for his only son, so that the promise of his seed would continue. We know, according to Bere'shiyt 12:1-3, that Avraham came from Ur of the Chaldees or southern Mesopotamia. This we know is the cradle of the nations. This means that Avraham was taken from among the nations because of his faith in the word of YHVH. He is going to instruct his servant to find a bride from the same land and circumstances that Avraham came from. Avraham was taken from among the nations, but is now an Hebrew, one who crossed over, living in the promised land by faith. Avraham's eldest servant will be asked to make an oath with his master and go back to the land from which Avraham came to find a bride. We learn from Bere'shiyt 15:2 that this servant's name is Eliezer, a word that means ''Elohiym's helper or comforter. We are then told that this is a title and the nature of the Ruach HaQodesh (1Yochanan (John) 2:1; Yochanan 14:26, 16:7,13-15). We know from Yochanan chapters 14-16 that the Ruach HaQodesh is sent from the Father and will speak of and glorify the Father and the Son. We will see from reading Bere'shiyt chapter 24, that Eliezer will constantly speak of his master and the master's son. We are told that Eliezer is also Avraham's oldest servant. Yochanan 15:27 tells us that the comforter has been with YHVH from the beginning. So Avraham, the father of all who believe (Romans 4:11), sends his helper or comforter to find a bride for his son.
Avraham will now make a oath with this servant. This oath is referred to as the "oath of the thigh". The thigh is the y'rekiy (ירך), an area that extends to and includes the groin area, which in this context is the area referred to. This oath is an agreement between two people that is sealed with a promise that the inheritor of a father's goods, debts, contracts, and promises will be carried out by the son. In this case, the inheritance concerns the promise of the seed that would continue through his own kindred. The loins are used as an oath sign to picture the passing of seed. According to verse 4 in our text, the seed is to continue through the union of Yitz'chaq and someone of like kind, someone who came out from the nations just like Avraham did.
Bere'shiyt 24:5-9And the servant said unto him, Suppose the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from where thou camest? And Avraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son there again. YHVH 'Elohiym of heaven, who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke unto me, and who swore unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from there. And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son there again. And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Avraham, his master, and swore to him concerning that matter.
Before Eliezer departs, he asks a very pertinent question. If this woman, living among the nations, will not obey and will not follow me unto the land in which we now dwell, do I take your son to her land? The answer is clearly NO! Why? Because by trusting in YHVH, Avraham and Yitz'chaq have been called out from where they were, they have crossed over (the meaning of the word ivri or Hebrew). The seed, or the word of YHVH, has now made them new creatures and the people of YHVH. This bride is to come out from where she has been and not the other way around. YHVH's pattern is to bring the nations into the tabernacle and to be one with his people. The prospective bride is to come to him to live in His land and to leave the old land behind. The clear picture here is that scriptural salvation involves a departing from where you were to come and dwell in your Creator's land, in His ways, His culture, and in His family. When Yeshua' commanded His disciples to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, He told them that if they were not received then they were to leave and "shake the dust from their feet". In verse 7, Avraham reminds Eliezer of the reason for this request. It is because of the seed. When you trace the seed throughout the Scriptures, it becomes evident that those who are the true carriers of the seed of the woman are those who receive the word of YHVH. Yeshua' identifies the seed in Luke.
Luke 8:11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
The bride for Yitz'chaq will be the one who departs from where she was and follows Eliezer to where the bridegroom is. But now we get to the most interesting and revealing aspect of the bride.
Bere'shiyt 24:10-11And 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. And he made his camels to kneel down outside the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
It is apparent from this verse and other places that Avraham was a wealthy man. Avraham had many camels, but he sends only ten. Why ten? Well, I hope to show as we follow the text that Avraham may have had over 600 camels which the 10 he sent represented. Perhaps even 613 camels! Eliezer is sent by Yitz'chaq's father to find his son a worthy bride. Eliezer leaves with ten camels, not two, five, twenty-five or fifty but ten. Camels were taken because in the desert camels are your source of survival. No man could make the trip alone. The ten camels represent the word of 'Elohiym, especially his commandments. We cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of 'Elohiym. His words are spirit and they are life. So Eliezer is told to take ten camels and all the goods of his master. Several comments by Yeshua' come to mind here, especially considering the fact that Yitz'chaq has temporarily disappeared from the scene.
Yochanan 14:15-18,26If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you ... But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto you.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:18-20All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe, whatsoever I have commanded you ...
Shemot (Exodus) 20:6<And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
These verses, among many, reveal to us that Yeshua' will leave, but He will send the Comforter in His name to teach and remind us to observe all things, that is, to those who will follow Him. Yeshua' tells us in Yochanan 14:15, that those who love him will keep His commandments. It is no coincidence that right smack in the middle of the ten commandments written in Shemot chapter 20, YHVH tells us that He will show mercy to those that love Him and keep His commandments. So, who wrote the ten commandments? And do you think it is possible that the Father sent the Comforter to the gentiles along with his commandments, for their own good until the bride and bridegroom finally meet? Do you think that the Comforter also, perhaps, had gifts (the Father's goods) for this bride?
In Bere'shiyt 24:11 we are told that Eliezer made the camels to kneel by a well of water. Kneeling is the action of a servant. The Hebrew word used here is barak (ברך). This word is normally translated as blessed in Scripture. Could it be that the camels were there to serve and bless the bride-to-be and not the other way around? Could it be understood that commandments are given to serve us and not us to serve the commandments? Is it just happenstance that the camels were to stop at a well in the evening? Wells are notorious pictures of salvation and grace. One such occurance comes to mind, as Yeshua' meets a woman of Samaria at a well.
Yochanan 4:14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The ten camels bow in subjection at the well, just as the commandments of YHVH kneel before the well of living waters. Scripture also reveals to us that men love the darkness rather than the light. YHVH knows that He must meet us in darkness, for that is where we all come from. Nicodemus came to Yeshua' by night, and so it is that Eliezer waits by the well for the normal time of the day that all women go to the well. We are told that this is when they come to draw the water. The word draw issh'av (שאב). This word is a cognate of shoov (שוּב), which is the scriptural word for repentance. Another coincidence? Perhaps, but let's keep going!
Bere'shiyt 24:12And he said, O YHVH 'Elohiym of my master, Avraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Avraham.
I told you that the Comforter would always speak of the Master and not of himself.
Bere'shiyt 24:13-14Behold, 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 her be the one whom thou hast appointed for thy servant, Yitz'chaq; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shown kindness unto my master.
Well, we know several things here about the one that will be chosen for the Father's son. She will be the one who not only draws from the well of water, but will take care of the camels, as well. She will first draw from the well and then she will take care of the camels. This is the one who is appointed. This word is yakach (יכח)in the Hebrew. It basically means to be made right. One other such use of this word can be found in Yesha'yahu (Isaiah).
Yesha'yahu 1:18Come now, and let us reason together, saith YHVH; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
So we see that the bride will not be the one who just meets Eliezer at the well (salvation) but she who also draws from the well and then waters the Father's camels. This is precisely the same teaching that Sha'ul gives us in Ephesians.
Ephesians 2:8-10For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of 'Elohiym - not of works lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship created in the Messiah Yeshua' unto good works; which 'Elohiym hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Bere'shiyt 24:16-19And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water from thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hastened , and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had finished giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have finished drinking.
Here we are informed that the prospective bride was, of course, to be a virgin. In this text it is a betulah. The two words most translated as virgin or maiden in the Tanakh are betulah and almah. Betulah means one who is separate and almah means having not known. Almah is basically the same word as olam, the word usually translated as age, eternal, universe or forever. This is because both words speak of something not known. The bride that is betrothed to Yeshua' is also to remain a virgin, washed in the water of the word and made clean (Ephesians 5:26-27; 2Corinthians 11:2). It is only Torah that teaches and proscribes what is clean and what is unclean. This is why the prospective bride is to be found watering and caring for the camels (commandments), as well.
At the end of verse nine we are told that Rivqah (Rebekah) would draw water for the camels until they are finished drinking. The word carefully chosen here is kalah (כלה). This word means to accomplish, attain, finish, complete. The word implies a goal or an accomplishment. One of the cognates of this word is kallah (כלּה), which is the Hebrew word for bride. Coincidence? One would naturally ask what the word for accomplish or complete has to do with a bride. Well, the second chapter of Bere'shiyt would probably help to answer that. We are told in Bere'shiyt 2:8 that it was not good that Adam should be alone, so a helpmate was taken from him. She would soon be his bride as they were brought together to be one flesh. The man is not complete without the woman or the bride. Now according to many ancient Torah scholars, when the Torah is fulfilled the Messiah will come and bring redemption. There is a direct connection in Torah between the redemption of the bride, the Day of YHVH, the wedding banquet, and the law being accomplished, for Torah is the ketubah, or marriage contract. It is no accident that the true bride would not only water the camels, but see to it that they drank until they were finished.
Mattityahu 5:18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
It is quite a revelation to read all the prophesies in the Tanakh concerning the times of the end, and the ones in the New Testament, as well. Virtually all of them are centered around whether one keeps our Father's Torah, Sabbath, and feasts or whether they profaned, polluted, changed, or otherwise ignored them. None of these glimpses into the future take away from faith or trust in Yeshua'. I hope that I have firmly established the scriptural pattern for a true child of YHVH. In our story of Rivqah we have the trust represented by the wells and expressed by her desire to water or take care of the master's goods. I could not help to notice that Rivqah was just as aggressive about watering the camels as she was giving water to the Ruach HaQodesh. Whoops! I mean Eliezer.
Bere'shiyt 24:20And she hastened, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
Now the crowning moment arrives for Eliezer. Is this the one? Rivqah has come to the fountain of living water and she has watered the camels just as YHVH has revealed to him.
Bere'shiyt 24:20-26And the man, wondering at her, held his peace, to learn whether YHVH had made his journey prosperous or not. And it came to pass, as the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her wrists of ten shekels weight of gold; And said, Whose daughter art thou? Tell, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in? And she said unto him I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore unto Nahor. She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and fodder enough, and room to lodge in. And the man bowed down his head, and worshiped YHVH.
Eliezer watches Rivqah and wonders if this is the one he was sent for. He waits to see if she will water all of the camels before he gives her the master's gifts. Rivqah does not disappoint him and takes care of all the camels. She does not water some and ignore the others but receives them all. But there are two more things that Eliezer must know. Whose daughter is she? He was told by Avraham that he is to only bring back a bride from Avraham's country. He then asks her if there is a place for all of them in her home. Rivqah reveals that she comes from the loins of Nahor who is the father of Terah, Avraham's father. Rivqah tells Eliezer that there is not only a place for them, but straw and fodder for them as well. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but as I read all of chapter 24, I see an extraordinary desire by this bride to take care of these camels. Not even a mention of any home cooked meals for Eliezer. The well seems to be the place where these two meet and must meet for that matter. But the focus is on Eliezer and especially his camels. In this chapter, the well is mentioned 9 times and the camels are mentioned 17 times. Why? I mean if this story is a type or picture of Yeshua' and his church, which nearly all commentators and expositors agree, then one could not help notice that the focus on the camels far outweighs the wells. Eliezer knows, based upon Rivqah's response, that she is the bride that he has been sent to take back to Yitz'chaq, for she is willing to take them all into her house. The servant of Avraham knows that the one who is willing to receive the servant and the camels into her house will be the one that the Father will receive into His house. Now Eliezer can bow and worship YHVH. The first words after bowing are addressed to his master. Again, this servant speaks of the Father in verse 27.
Bere'shiyt 28-30And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things. And Rivqah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. And it came to pass, when he saw the ring, and bracelets upon his sister's wrists, and when he heard the words of Rivqah, his sister, saying, Thus spoke the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and; behold, he stood by the camels at the well.
The first thing that Rivqah does is to run and tell her family. It is noteworthy that in her testimony are both the camels and the well, not just the well. It is fascinating to me that the whole idea of testimony or witness comes from the construction of the ark of the covenant in Shemot 25. All the details of this ark and the source of our witness can be found in our teaching section about the tabernacle on this website. I would like to point out that the ark was designed to house the ten camels, I mean the commandments of YHVH! Rivqah's witness will be seen by her outward appearance, i.e., the rings and the bracelets, and will be verified and substantiated by her words. These two, scripturally, MUST always go together. Words do not stand alone. Outward change is not evidence either. I know plenty of people who have been dramatically changed or emotionally charged by doctrines that are not from YHVH. I also know plenty of those whose words are undeniable, but do not live and express a changed life.
In verses 31 through 52, we see Eliezer's retelling of how and why he was in their house. He repeats to them that his mission is to find the one who comes forth to draw from the well, but also waters the camels (vs. 43-44). Laban and Bethuel cannot argue with him about it (vs. 49-50). Laban and Bethuel agree to let Rivqah go with him. As a result of this news, Eliezer gives Rivqah more jewels, clothes her and even blesses her brother and mother with precious things, as well.
Bere'shiyt 24:54-56And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master. And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go. And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing that YHVH hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.
Even though Rivqah's mother and brother are willing to let her go, they still cannot grasp the revelation of what is taking place. Although family strings are the motivation, they are blind to the urgency and eternal purpose of this visit. From a human point of view it is natural to hesitate leaving your former life. The reality of what is actually taking place is expressed by Eliezer's response, "No! Today is the day of salvation." Yeshua' might say,
Mattityahu 10:37He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.
Ultimately the decision is not her mother's or her brother's. It is Rivqah who must make this decision, for no one can make it for her.
Bere'shiyt 24:58And they called Rivqah, and said unto her, wilt thou go with this man? and she said, I will go.
Her family agrees to let her go and they send her away with this blessing:
Bere'shiyt 24:60And they blessed Rivqah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those who hate them.
Wow! Somebody got a revelation. Rivqah's family blesses her by telling her that she, a gentile, will be not only the mother of a lot of people, but as history tells us, she will be the grandmother of the 12 tribes of Israel. The true seed of Avraham are those who respond to the word (seed) of YHVH. YHVH also reveals to them that there will be those who, because of their response to the word, will hate them. Rivqah will not be the mother of all, but only the mother of those who possess the seed.
Bere'shiyt 24:61-65And Rivqah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rivqah, and went his way. And Yitz'chaq came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the Negev. And Yitz'chaq went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. And Rivqah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Yitz'chaq, she alighted from the camel. For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: Therefore she took a veil, and covered herself.
From the time that the servant called her, Rivqah has been riding on the camels. The text reveals to us that she will not remove herself from them until she finally meets the bridegroom face to face. The camels brought her to the bridegroom, and sustained her along the way. It may also be noteworthy that the servant now calls the son his master. Could it be because the son is now going to be on his Father's throne?
Bere'shiyt 24:66-67And the servant told Yitz'chaq all things that he had done. And Yitz'chaq brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rivqah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Yitz'chaq was comforted after his mother's death.
The Master keeps his promise and because she let his servant and camels into her home, he will now take her into his home. And here they will live happily ever after.
Perhaps this story is just a story and all we have seen is just coincidence. However, this revelation that followed on the heels of the figurative sacrifice of Yitz'chaq, could be YHVH painting a picture of what a faithful bride is all about. Rivqah did not ride any camels to get to the well. In the midst of doing what she had always done, she was called to Yitz'chaq. But standing by the well was the servant and the camels, and she responded to both. Many women came to the well, but only one was chosen. Rivqah declared all of what happened at the well. It is my opinion that Scripture is replete with this same pattern of response by those who are the true followers of YHVH. The declaration that Yeshua' has not only redeemed us at the fountain of salvation, but sustains us with Torah. It is the purpose of the Comforter to teach us these things, and bring them to our remembrance (Yochanan 14:26). The witness that we are to declare is the same thing that Rivqah declared in this beautiful story of the father Avraham, the son Yitz'chaq, the servant Eliezer, and the bride Rivqah.
Yesha'yahu 61:9-11And their seed shall be known among the gentiles, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed whom YHVH hath blessed. I will greatly rejoice in YHVH, my soul shall be joyful in 'Elohiym; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so YHVH 'Elohiym will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊