Genesis 24 is the longest chapter in the book. And what is the subject of this chapter?
It is not about the creation, as important as that is. We live in a universe alive with life because before the creation of the world, God existed. He filled the universe with life, which in turn has the ability to reproduce after its kind. The creation account in Genesis 1:2-3 reveals who we are and why we are here. This stands in stark contrast to the soulless, silent, empty, purposeless universe as framed by evolutionism and taught to us in school.
Neither is Genesis 24 about the critical concept of covenant. God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. He stands apart from the small, capricious gods of animistic, tribal deities. God’s law-establishing, covenant-making character means we live in an orderly, intelligible universe; we may live in freedom within the boundaries of natural and moral law.
No, the longest chapter in Genesis, 67 verses, is not about creation or covenant. It’s about the first and fundamental institution established by God: marriage. The chapter tells the story of Abraham’s servant finding a wife for Isaac.
Dr. Victor P. Hamilton, Professor of Old Testament and Theology at Asbury University from 1971 until 2007, makes the remarkable observation: “It is interesting that the longest chapter in Genesis is given over to discussion of marriage and not, say, to the creation of the world or the covenant with Abraham.”
Why might this be?
Dennis Prager is a Jewish Hebrew and Old Testament scholar, cultural commentator, and founder of Prager University. In his commentary The Rational Bible: Genesis Prager explains the Jewish understanding as to why the longest chapter of Genesis is about marriage.
As important as theology is, neither the Torah nor later Judaism is preoccupied with it. They are preoccupied with life.
The Torah’s preoccupation is with living a morally good life and enjoying it. That is why, though the Torah alludes to the afterlife, it does not directly discuss it. So it makes sense the Torah would spend more time on one man’s marriage than on the creation of the world. From the Torah’s perspective, it is better for a man to get married and know little about the how the world was created than to never marry and know a great deal about how the world was created. (Ideally one does both.)
In fact, the Creation Mandate (Genesis 1:26-28) connects marriage and family formation with the creation narrative. We were placed here to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth (family formation), for the purpose of the governance/stewardship of creation.
Genesis 24 is about the distributive labor of the maternal and the paternal. The maternal, or life giver, conceives, gestates, births and nurtures children. The paternal husbands the family and the land to make it productive. Marriage means the continuance of life; the woman bringing life and future generations from her body, the man bringing life from the ground to sustain the family and its future.
The Bible is a nuptial story
The significance of this concept of marriage is affirmed in that the Bible is nuptial. It begins with the wedding of Adam and Eve. It ends with the wedding of Christ and the church.
In the postmodern world, the air we breathe is both post familial and post maternal. The post familial reveres singleness and rejects the commitment required to form families. These are painful realities for so many today.
Then there is post maternal and post paternal. Not only are we not forming families, we are post maternal (not having children) and post paternal (abandoning the children we have helped conceive). One of the greatest causes of global poverty is fatherlessness, fathers abandoning their children, particularly boys.
In the modern and postmodern worlds there is little concept of future – we live only in the present. There is little to no concept of family legacy. These are great tragedies.
You are made for community
One other thing to notice in the longest chapter in Genesis is found in verse 67: “Isaac then brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he took Rebekah as his wife. Isaac loved her.” As Dennis Prager points out:
The first reference to love in the Bible was Genesis 22:2, when God describes Abraham’s love for his son Isaac. This is the second. The first described parent-child love; the second describes love for a spouse. These are the two greatest loves in life, and the Bible reflects the chronological order they follow.
Many young people are looking for a solid rock, a solid foundation on which to ground their lives.
That foundation is not far off. In fact, it is right in front of you. Read the one true narrative. Look! See, the creator of the universe has made you for community and the most basic community is the family! Do not be afraid! Do not follow the crowd! Rediscover the Grand Design: male and female, made Imago Dei, for a purpose.
- Darrow Miller
 Prager, Dennis. The Rational Bible: Genesis . Regnery Faith. Kindle Edition.