“When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the LORD. The servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother. Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night. When they arose in the morning, he said, “Send me away to my master.”  But her brother and her mother said, “Let the girl stay with us a few days, say ten; afterward she may go.”  He said to them, “Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way.  Send me away that I may go to my master.” And they said, “We will call the girl and consult her wishes.” Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.” Thus they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse with Abraham’s servant and his men.” Gen. 24:52-59

Now that Abraham’s servant has the official response from the family he is almost in the clear.  Gifts were handed out, the men ate and drank in celebration, then went to sleep.

Now it was customary in this time for a young virgin woman to take one year to prepare herself for marriage (Mishna, Kesubos 57b) so it was likely no surprise to Abraham’s servant when Laban and the Rebekah’s mother tried to delay her from leaving.  In all likelihood, the family was requesting she stay for ten months – not a mere ten days as is commonly translated.  Things seemed to have gone so well however that the servant would allow no delay: if she were coming, they were leaving now.

And so now, after the family has already given Rebekah away, they decide to ask her consent personally.  This may have been another attempt to slow the process; perhaps Rebekah wasn’t ready to personally make such a commitment on the spot. This scripture then sets the bar for asking the woman’s permission for marriage (Midrash, Kiddushin 41) (Rambam, Rashi).

Probably to the family’s surprise, Rebekah said she would go – quite emphatically even.  Her response was more like “I will go either way”.

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