Several times in the Parasha Bethuel is referred to as "Son of Milkah" and not "Son of Nahor", for example:

... וְהִנֵּה רִבְקָה יֹצֵאת אֲשֶׁר יֻלְּדָה לִבְתוּאֵל בֶּן־מִלְכָּה אֵשֶׁת נָחוֹר...׃ (... Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, the son of Milkah the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor) Genesis.24.15

We already know who's son Bethuel was, but he's still called "son of Milkah". And so says Rivkah: "וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו בַּת־בְּתוּאֵל אָנֹכִי בֶּן־מִלְכָּה אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לְנָחוֹר׃" (She replied, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.”



The Ramban (24.15) says it's to emphasize that besuail was the son of milkah the main wife of Nachor as opposed to the other secondary wife. The Or Hachaim says the same thing in pasuk 24

  • I would say rather different. If she any wanted for some reason to stress that she was from the main wife (although for drawing water what difference does it make) then she also meant to stress that she was from milka, avrohoms family which sounds a better reason. Perhaps she knew the servant (who calls himself 'ish' after talking to her not before) was from avrohom. I think that is a better answer. That would also explain why she invited them into her house and he suddenly became 'ish'.
    – interested
    Nov 15 '20 at 12:24

A possible answer:

Rabbi Ze'ev Ya'avetz wrote in Toldot Yisrael, Vol. I, Motza Davar II:

"פקידת אברהם ושרה בבן לעת זקנתם המפורשת בדברים ברורים בתורה מסתייעת היא בכללה מאליה בלי שום כונת ספור גם מתולדות רבים מקרובי אאע"ה. כי כולם היו קשים בנעוריהם להוליד וללדת. והנה על יצחק רבקה ורחל כי עקרים היו, הלא ידענו ברור מפי הכתובים (בראשית כ"ה, כ"ט, ל"א). אך גם תרח גם נחור גם מלכה אשתו בת הרן היו מטבעם קשים להוליד בנעוריהם. מאפרכשד עד תרח היו שבעה דורות וכלם הולידו בני שלשים ובני חמש ושלשים. ותרח הוליד בן שבעים שנה (י"א כ"ו) וגם נחור ומלכה אשתו החלו להוליד בנים בימי זקנתם אחרי לדת שרה את יצחק לאברהם, על כן שמח אבינו זה בשמחת קרוביו כי "ילדה מלכה גם היא" (כ"ב, כ') בבאה בימים. ואם תאמר כי רק היא אחרה ללדת, אבל נחור בעלה הוליד בנים מאשה אחרת? הרי כבר נאמר "את עוץ בכורו" (כ"א) לאמר בכורו של נחור, ובכן לא היה קודם לכן שום בן או בת גם לו גם לה. וכדברי רמב"ן "והנה אברהם בצאתו מחרן בן ע"ה שנה וגם נחור זקן ואשתו איננה בחורה אבל עשה להם ה' נס שנפקדו בימי הזקנה וזה טעם מלכה גם היא" (רמב"ן שם כ"ב, כ'). ולפ"ז יתבאר היטב, מדוע דבקה גם נפש תרח גם נפש אברהם בלוט בן הרן, אין זאת כי אם יען אשר הוא היה בימי צאת אברהם מחרן השריד האחד לכל בית תרח, כי הרן אבי לוט מת ואברהם ונחור כבר הזקינו שניהם ובנים לא היו להם."

The gist of what he says is that both Nachor and Milkah, like Avraham and Sarah, didn't have children for many years, and so too Terach (Terach was seventy when his sons were born), and for this reason Avraham was very happy to hear that Milkah had given birth. And if one were to ask, perhaps Milkah was the only one with birthing problems and Nachor had children by another woman, then the answer is that it says in the Torah "ואת עוץ בכורו" - Utz, his first-born - Utz was Nachor's true firstborn; he had no prior children.

Now, more directly to your question, Rashi on Beresheet 17:16 quotes the gemara in Bava Metziah 87a which says:

"In reference to Sarah having given birth to Isaac, the verse states: “And she said: Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah should nurse children?” (Genesis 21:7). The Gemara asks: How many children did Sarah nurse? Why does the verse use the plural form when she had only one child? Rabbi Levi says: That day when Abraham weaned his son Isaac, he prepared a great celebratory feast. All of the nations of the world were gossiping and saying to each other: See this old man and old woman who brought a foundling from the market and are saying: He is our son, and moreover they are making a great feast to bolster their claim. What did Abraham, our forefather, do? He went and invited all of the great men of that generation, and Sarah, our foremother, invited their wives. Each and every one of the wives brought her child with her but did not bring her wet nurse. And a miracle occurred to Sarah, our foremother, and her breasts were opened like two springs, and she nursed all of these children. And still those people were gossiping and saying to each other: Even if Sarah, at ninety years of age, can give birth, can Abraham, at one hundred years of age, father a child? Immediately, the countenance of Isaac’s face transformed and appeared exactly like that of Abraham. Everyone exclaimed and said: “Abraham fathered Isaac” (Genesis 25:19)."

So perhaps the reason that it was important to emphasize that Betuel was the son of Milkah was that like Yitzchak with Avraham and Sarah, there was room to suspect that he wasn't really the son of Nachor and Milkah, but a foundling - for this, his parentage, particularly from his mother, was emphasized.

  • @interested I'm sorry, but I didn't understand either of your comments.
    – Harel13
    Nov 15 '20 at 12:51
  • גם נחור ומלכה אשתו החלו להוליד בנים בימי זקנתם אחרי לדת שרה את יצחק לאברהם, This is my second comment. Where is the proof
    – interested
    Nov 15 '20 at 14:48
  • Yitschok was now 40 and in that time he had eight children and his youngest already had a son laban who seems quite old. Anyway you cant just make these things up without proof.
    – interested
    Nov 15 '20 at 14:51
  • @interested I still don't understand. Rabbi Yaavetz didn't write exactly when Nachor and Milkah had children. He quotes the Ramban on the matter, but neither bring an exact date, just like the Torah doesn't bring an exact date. Also, it's not me "making things up", it's the two rabbis I just mentioned.
    – Harel13
    Nov 15 '20 at 16:19
  • You are right the ramban does seem to say it was when yitschak was born.
    – interested
    Nov 15 '20 at 18:41

One of the children of his pilegesh reuma was a girl maacha. (siporno). The siporno here carries on that Eliezer really had a choice of two girls for yitschak. ופילגשו ותלד גם היא והגיד המגיד שגם פילגשו ילדה את מעכה שהיתה כמו כן ראויה לבנו אם לא יבחר ברבקה ולא יצטרך לזרע כנען: So since there was a choice and she wanted to be the one she had to mention that she was the better choice being the more yichus. That means she already knew why Eliezer had come.


  • This sounds to me the best reason.
    – interested
    Nov 15 '20 at 19:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .