Genesis 24 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It details the account of Abraham sending his trusted servant to find a wife for his beloved son, Isaac.
This servant fascinates me. I see in him a tremendous level of faith, and even a degree of boldness, seasoned with humility, in his approach to Yahweh. Genesis 24:12-14 records his prayer:
And he said, “Yahweh, Elohim of my master Aḇraham, please cause her to meet before me this day, and show kindness to my master Aḇraham. See, I am standing here by the fountain of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar to let me drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and let me water your camels too,’ let her be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And let me know by this that You have shown kindness to my master.” (ISR)
Did you notice the very specific request he made? He asked Yahweh to orchestrate a certain encounter at a certain place, with a certain conversation to occur with the woman whom Yahweh had chosen to be Isaac's bride. This speaks volumes to me! I believe it displayed a tremendous level of faith in Yahweh to make such a detailed request. But Yahweh's response is also amazing:
And it came to be, before he had ended speaking, that see, Rebekah, who was born to Bethu’ĕl, son of Milkah, the wife of Naḥor, Aḇraham’s brother, came out with her jar on her shoulder.
Genesis 24:15 (ISR)
Yahweh began answering the servant's prayer before he could even finish asking! How awesome to have an answer to prayer that quickly!
But it was Genesis 24:21 that stood out to me this time.
And watching her, the man remained silent in order to know whether
Yahweh had prospered his way or not.
The word for "watching her" is the Hebrew word מִשְׁתָּאֵ֖ה (mistaeh), which comes from the root שָׁאָה (sha'ah) . The Strong's definition for this word is: gazing; to gaze, wonder. A primitive root (identical with sha-ah through the idea of whirling to giddiness) to stun, i.e. be astonished
Considering that Yahweh answered his prayer - his very specific prayer - before he could even finish asking, makes it easy for me to believe that this man would have been stunned, astonished, dare I say - even possibly giddy with amazement?!
In my opinion, the English translation of this verse does not give a complete picture of what this servant was experiencing.
I will admit that I do find it difficult to imagine that he was whirling with giddiness, but I can picture him standing there jaw dropped in stunned silence as he watched Rebekah not only bring him a drink, but go back and forth hauling gallon after gallon of water for ten camels! Do you know how much water camels drink?! Neither do I! But I bet it is a lot!! So even though he likely was not bouncing, whirling, and/or skipping with delight, I still think that "And watching her" just doesn't cut it.
So here is my translation attempt:
"And standing there astonished, stunned in complete awe and wonder, holding his hand over his mouth, the man remained silent in order to know whether Yahweh had prospered his way or not."
He was silently waiting because he needed to know whether or not this woman was from Abraham's family (see verses 1-4). This verse reminded me of Psalm 46:10:
Be still, and know that I am Elohim; I am exalted among nations, I am exalted in the earth!
After the servant verified her family lineage, he then knew for certain that she was indeed the answer to his prayer! His reaction here is also understandable:
And the man bowed down his head and worshipped Yahweh.
Halleluyah! So would I!
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.