Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:1-4)
It seems likely that Sarah’s death is what motivated Abraham to find a wife for Isaac. How times have changed; who, in this day and age, would allow their father to choose their wife for them? That alone suggests an incredible degree of trust between son and father. But in this case, not only was Abraham searching for a wife to his son and a mother for his grandchildren, but a matriarch for his people. For this reason he called upon his most trusted servant to fetch a wife for Isaac.
By asking him to put his hand under his thigh, Abraham — who was advanced in years — made his servant swear that he would not take a wife from among daughters of Canaan. In this we see an important component of the covenant which is, God’s people are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Scripture has much to say on this issue.; Moses told the children of Israel as they prepared to enter the land:
“Nor shall you make marriages with them (Canaanites). You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)
The issue really wasn’t or isn’t about skin color, language or culture per se but has always been about not being joined to those of another belief in order to avoid their gods and their ways. This fundamental principle applies to us as well. In fact, this is what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Obviously, Abraham understood the importance of the covenant and the need to consider it and treat it as holy — set apart. Allowing those who had no regard for it to enter into union with his family was something to be avoided. Likewise, we must be diligent to keep those influences and associations that have no regard for the covenant at arm’s length. By that I mean, we are not to join with what we know to be unholy, unclean and profane. We are a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, therefore, we must behave accordingly.
Blessings and Shalom,