Various Midrashim say that Rivka's family put poison in front of Eliezer, in an attempt to kill him (Bereishis Rabbasi by Rav Moshe HaDarshan to Genesis 24:30 and v. 33; Yalkut Shimoni Chayei Sarah § 109; Midrash Aggadah, Midrash Lekach Tov, Sechel Tov, and Midrash HaGadol ad. loc.).

He noticed this and avoided a sure death (Targum attributed to Yonasan to Genesis 24:33), and he ended up successful in his mission to find a wife for Yitzchak. He brought Rivka back home with him.

I could imagine one reason they wanted to kill him is they simply weren't interested in him taking Rivka with them. I also saw in Yalkut Shimoni loc. cit. that they saw his riches and wanted to kill him, I guess to steal them (although I don't get that, since he gave them to Rivka already...I guess in order to keep Rivka and the riches as well).

I was wondering if any commentary suggests a different reason why they wanted to kill him.

  • As far as your point about the Yalkut Shimoni, the first set of presents were merely meant as gifts but the second were for the purpose of kiddushin.
    – Dov
    Oct 29, 2021 at 12:16
  • Refer to the Midrash Lekach Tov 24:53 - sefaria.org/… - "ויוצא העבד כלי כסף וכלי זהב. אלו נתן להם לשם קדושין. כי הראשונים לשם מתנה היו"
    – Dov
    Oct 29, 2021 at 12:18

3 Answers 3


Hadar Zikeinim Bireishis 24:33 says Besual wanted to kill him. Besual was called Besual since he was the leader of the town and all the besulas (virgins) who got married, had to live with him first. The people said you have to do the same to your daughter or we'll kill you. Therefore Besual tried to break the shidduch by trying to kill Eliezer.


I found an explanation from Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita, brought in Derech Sicha parshas Bo p. 244

אומרים בשם ר' העשיל, שלבן רצה על ידי סם שבאוכל להרוג את אליעזר, וקיימא לן במס' נזיר (י"ב ע"א) האומר לשלוחו צא וקדש לי אשה סתם ומת השליח אסור בכל הנשים שבעולם, ונמצא שיצחק היה נאסר בכולן.‏

They say in the name of Rav Heshel, that Lavan wanted to kill Eliezer by putting poison in his food. Since we hold from Nazir 12a that someone who appoints an agent to marry an unspecified woman for them, and the agent dies, that the one who appointed them is forbidden to all women in the world, it turns out then that Yitzchak would be forbidden to all women.

First of all, he assumes it was Lavan (and not just Besuel, although I don't know why Besuel died and not Lavan) who tried to kill Eliezer. He uses this to explain what we say in the Haggadah: בקש לבן לעקור את הכל, Lavan intended to uproot everything. Meaning, by making Yitzchak forbidden to marry all women, it would prevent him from producing progeny. This would result in the end of the Jewish people, before they ever had a chance to be formed.

  • If anyone could clarify who ר' העשיל is I'd appreciate it.
    – robev
    Oct 30, 2021 at 18:09
  • Possibly the Rov who succeeded the Tosafos Yom Tov as Chief Rabbi of Cracow? He was known fondly as Reb Heschel - he.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Dov
    Oct 30, 2021 at 18:37
  • He has some pretty stellar talmidim!
    – Dov
    Oct 30, 2021 at 18:54
  • @Dov could be...it doesn't seem to be in his Chanukas HaTorah (at least I didn't find it).
    – robev
    Oct 30, 2021 at 19:32
  • When I have looked at Sefaria in the past it doesn't always have all the text there. I will check when I get a mo bli neder
    – Dov
    Oct 30, 2021 at 19:59

Rav Hirsch points out in Chayei Sarah 24:53

And the servant took out silver articles and golden articles and garments, and he gave [them] to Rebecca, and he gave delicacies to her brother and to her mother.

Rav Hirsch translates מגדנות as delicious fruits


and… delicacies: Heb. וּמִגְדָּנוֹת. An expression of sweet fruits (מְגָדִים), for he had brought with him various kinds of fruits of the Land of Israel.

Rav Hirsch says

He gave precious gifts to the young bride, confectionary, polite attention to the mother and brother, to the father - nothing.

[Incidentally it can be mentioned how hurt Rachel and Leah felt that Laban allowed himself to be paid for them, and after twenty years had not forgotten כי מכרנו]

Thus Besuel knew that the only way he could get any of Avraham's wealth would have been to kill the Eliezer and take the loot.

  • This doesn't seem to be a new reason.
    – robev
    Oct 30, 2021 at 18:03
  • @robev Since it has not yet been given as an answer, I am not repeating what someone else said here. I am explaining according to Rav Hirsch. Oct 30, 2021 at 23:56
  • In the question I brought this explanation, not in the name of Rav Hirsch, and asked for different ones
    – robev
    Oct 31, 2021 at 6:14

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