When was the Jewelry Given/2

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When was the Jewelry Given?

Exegetical Approaches



Jewelry Given First

The servant gave Rivka the jewelry before asking for her name, as per the narrator's account in Bereshit 24:22-23.

Why didn't the servant first ask for her name?
  • Rashi explains that the servant was so confident that Hashem would make him succeed because of Avraham, that he did not even wait to ask who Rivka was before giving her the jewelry.
  • On the other hand, Ibn Kaspi and the Malbim explain that it did not matter if the wife was from Avraham's family, and therefore he gave the jewelry first. According to them Avraham never asked that the wife would be from his family. See Wanted: A Wife for Yitzchak for more about this issue.
  • Chizkuni explains that the jewelry was not given because the servant succeeded in his mission but rather to acquire a name of a generous person.
  • AbarbanelBereshit 24About R. Yitzchak Abarbanel understands Rashi to be saying that the jewelry was actually given as a payment for Rivka's labor. This is also the approach taken by R. D"Z Hoffmann.
Reversal of the order in the servant's account – According to Rashi, the servant did not want Rivka's family to question why he gave her the jewelry before knowing who she was. Chizkuni, Ibn Kaspi, and R. D"Z Hoffmann explain that the servant wanted the family to think that he gave the jewelry only in honor of their family's name.1

Name Asked First

The servant asked for Rivka's identity before giving her the jewelry, as indicated by his own recounting of the events in Bereshit 24:47.

The narrator's reversal of the order – Why is the story not written like it transpired?
  • Rashbam suggests that the Torah did not want to interrupt the conversation between the servant and Rivka with the giving of the jewelry.4
  • R. Yosef Bekhor Shor and many others after him5 explain that the servant took out the jewelry, then asked who she is, and then gave her the jewelry. This is based on the difference between "וַיִּקַּח הָאִישׁ" in Bereshit 24:22 which is talking about taking the jewelry and "וָאָשִׂם" in Bereshit 24:47 which is talking about giving the jewelry.
  • Ralbag explains that the order was switched in order to show that the jewelry was given as a present for her kindness.
Requirements for Yitzchak's wife – Josephus, in his version of the story, says that the servant was sent to betroth specifically Rivka. Similarly, Ibn Ezra points out that Yitzchak's wife needed to be from Avraham's family, and thus he gave her the jewelry only after he asked for her identity.


The servant asked Rivka for her name at the same time as he gave her the jewelry.

The two verses – According to Shadal, the order of the verses does not matter since both can be correct.