Genesis 24:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 24:3, NIV: "I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living,"

Genesis 24:3, ESV: "that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell,"

Genesis 24:3, KJV: "And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:"

Genesis 24:3, NASB: "and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live;"

Genesis 24:3, NLT: "Swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women."

Genesis 24:3, CSB: "and I will have you swear by the LORD, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live,"

What does Genesis 24:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abraham is asking his most trusted servant to take a sacred oath to complete a crucial assignment, finding a wife for his son Isaac. Many interpreters assume this servant is Eliezer, the servant mentioned decades earlier as the possible heir of Abraham's estate (Genesis 15:2). However, this particular passage never specifies exactly who this man is.

Abraham begins by asking the man to place his hand under Abraham's thigh. This would have involved the ancient Middle Eastern custom of swearing an oath to a man while touching his genitals as a sign of the importance of the commitment. Strange as that may sound to modern culture, this was a gesture of profound symbolism. It implied that the one swearing the oath would answer to the other man's seed—his offspring—if the oath was not kept.

Abraham, however, also insists that his servant also swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, binding him to answer to God if he failed to do as promised. Abraham, apparently concerned that he might die before Isaac could be married, asks his servant to swear not to let Isaac marry a local, Canaanite woman. In the following verse, he will add that Isaac must marry a woman from Abraham's former homeland and extended family. Further, though, Abraham will insist that Isaac not be allowed to leave Canaan to search for this bride (Genesis 24:5–8).