Genesis 24:1–9 (ESV)
Isaac and Rebekah
Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh,
3 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, 4 but will
go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” 5 The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from
which you came?” 6 Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. 7 The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land
of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8 But if the woman is not willing
to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.
Today, to make a pledge… is to sign a contract. When I was growing up… and my dad’s
generation… a deal was signed by a handshake. The handshake sealed the deal. We see another form that is not used anymore and that is “put your hand under my thigh.” What is that all about? This shows vulnerability
and trust. The thigh is one of the strongest muscles in the body and the loin area also is the procreative area. It was very private and vulnerable. Not anyone would put their hand in this area. The Lutheran Study Bible states: “Cultural
gesture to accompany the oath. The loin and thigh, the body’s largest muscles, represented one’s physical and reproductive strength (cf 1Ki 12:10; Ps 147:10). The oath testified to their faith in the coming Messiah, who would be born of Abraham’s
line. It is important to know and understand the customs of countries, peoples, and cultures.
I pray: O Lord, help me to understand different cultures and symbols, so that we can understand your Word. Help us to dig a little deeper. Amen.
Engelbrecht, E. A. (2009). The Lutheran Study Bible (p. 49). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.