After Sarah’s death, Abraham decided that he needed to choose a wife for Isaac, but how should this be done, and from where should the selection be made? It was decided that Isaac’s wife should be chosen from his own kindred and not from the Canaanites in whose land Isaac lived. No doubt Abraham had heard of the fate of his grandnieces’ prospective mates when God judged Sodom. Therefore, Isaac’s mate should not be among those whom God has placed under judgment. Neither should Isaac’s bride be among the Canaanites whose destiny it was to disinherit the land. From where then should Isaac’s mate be brought (Genesis 24:1-3)?
Abraham’s chief concern regarding a mate for his son, Isaac, was: who could be brought into the covenant of God and enjoy the promises? If Isaac were to marry a Canaanite woman he would introduce confusion into Abraham’s descendents, because the Canaanites were under the judgment of God and would eventually be cast out of the land. Therefore, it wasn’t desirable for Isaac’s descendents, who were given the promises, to be among those who were to disinherit the land. How could the will of God be done under such circumstances?
Since Isaac was 40 years old at this time, why couldn’t Abraham simply leave it up to Isaac to find his own mate? I believe it was a responsibility issue for Abraham—and not just for Isaac. Although the text doesn’t say, we should not presume that to mean Isaac was not involved in the decision. Remember, he could have prevented his father from binding him for a sacrifice in chapter 22. Therefore, he could have nullified Abraham’s desire for him by taking it upon himself to choose his own mate. Certainly Isaac knew of the mission of Abraham’s chief servant in going to Hebron. Ultimately, it was the future of the nation of Israel that was at stake and not merely a lifetime mate (Genesis 18:19). Therefore, we should probably see the cooperation of both Abraham and Isaac in the decision to look for his bride.
Abraham called for his chief servant to carry out his will, and he was instructed how to choose a mate for his son (Genesis 24:3-6). The stipulations given him regarding this mission were that Isaac’s wife must not be a Canaanite (verse 3), but she was to come from Abraham’s home country and from among his relatives (verse 4). However, under no circumstances should Isaac be taken back to Haran or Mesopotamia (verse 6), because that would mean Isaac would disinherit himself of the promises through repatriation to Mesopotamia.
Why does Abraham expect God to give the servant success (Genesis 24:7)? The logic of this can be deduced from the fact that it was God’s desire for Abraham to separate himself from the people of the land (cp. Genesis 17:10-14 and 2Corinthians 6:17). If Abraham was doing all in his power to keep his covenant with God, God could be trusted to do his part and bless Abraham’s efforts. If God swore that he would give the land to Abraham’s descendents, this wouldn’t occur unless Isaac had descendents in the first place, so it is logically expected that God would give Abraham’s servant success.
Abraham’s instructions to his servant tell us that there is a spiritual aspect of the covenant that cannot be ignored. That aspect is fulfilled in trusting God to bring it all to pass. It is not fulfilled in the expediency of our own desires, nor can it be completed through our efforts alone. It is enough to do what we are able to do to show our commitment to the Lord, and let God bless our efforts and bring it all to pass.