I am going to piece together a variety of bits of information, so please bear with me.

  1. Eliezer was in charge of Avraham's house already before Avraham had his name changed (Bereishit 15:2)
  2. Eliezer was an "eved" of Avraham (Bereishit 24 - there seems to be agreement that the eved not named refers to Eliezer).
  3. Avraham circumcised all the males of his household, including non Jewish slaves (17:13, 23) which would include Eliezer.
  4. A non-Jewish slave even not in Avraham's time is subject to some form of conversion during his servitude and must commit to the process within 12 months after being purchased or must be sold (from here)
  5. Eliezer's conversion was completed - he remained with Avraham for more than 12 months(Radak to 15:2 who states that Avraham actually gave the servant "Damesek" the new Ivri name of "Eliezer" which would point to a completed conversion, and would point to the idea that the avot followed the torah)

If these are the case, by the time Avraham sends Eliezer to find a wife for his son, he should not have resisted the possibility that Yitzchak could marry Eliezer's daughter. At that point, though Eliezer might once have been included in the curse on K'na'an (as discussed here), as a convert, Eliezer should have been viewed as a complete Jew and not called out in his status as convert (as discussed here). So why does Avraham reject him and remind him of his ancestry as a K'na'ani?

  • 2
    I don't follow the last point. An Amoni who converts still can't marry a Jewess. Why do you think Eliezer's conversion would have allowed his daughter to marry Isaac?
    – Double AA
    Oct 27, 2013 at 0:45
  • 1
    What about the mother? And if she converted, was it before the daughter was born? Oct 27, 2013 at 0:59
  • I don't understand the question, an Eved Knani could only marry a Shifcha and any children from that marriage are Avodim Kenanim whom a Jew can't marry unless they are sent free - so why does Avraham Avini have to entertain the thought of ever freeing Eliezer's daughter? Secondly, exactly because Eliezer is still an Eved that means that the curse to Kenan that his children would be Avodim is being fulfilled! Oct 27, 2013 at 6:22
  • @MonicaCellio I can't find any info about Eliezer's wife and daughter so I can't pinpoint the timing but I would think that since the child of an eved k'na'ani is still an eved, she too would have gone through the conversion process and double AA this would make her marriagable as she would no longer be from bnot hak'na'ani either because her father is no longer a k'na'ani or she is no longer one. In fact, one could say that her mother's status is immaterial because she falls under "bnot ha'k'na'ani" and not "bnot hak'na'aniah" (as in moavi vlo moavia)
    – rosends
    Oct 27, 2013 at 7:52
  • @MeirZirkind if there was no hope because of the eved status then avraham would not need to justify his decision via the k'na'an curse. If the k'na'an curse was the primary problem then the conversion should have obviated that (and even if it hadn't eliminated it, the conversion status should not have been brought up).
    – rosends
    Oct 27, 2013 at 7:54

1 Answer 1


I think you are confusing 2 types of conversions for slaves.

See the Rambam in הלכות איסורי ביאה פרק יג

ז: כשם שמולין ומטבילין את הגרים, כך מולין ומטבילין את העבדים הנלקחים מן הגויים לשם עבדות. הלוקח עבד מן הגוי, וקדם העבד וטבל לשם בן חורין--קנה עצמו: והוא שיאמר בעת טבילה, הריני טובל בפניכם לשם גירות; ואם טבל בפני רבו, אינו צריך לפרש, אלא כיון שטבל, נשתחרר

ח: לפיכך צריך רבו לתוקפו במים, עד שיעלה והוא תחת שיעבודו, ומודיעו בפני הדיינין, שלשם עבדות מטבילו; ואין העבד טובל אלא בפני שלושה וביום כגר, שמקצת גירות היא

ט: כשישתחרר העבד, צריך טבילה אחרת בפני שלושה ביום, שבה תיגמר גירותו, ויהיה כישראל; ואין צריך לקבל עליו מצוות, ולהודיעו עיקרי הדת, שכבר הודיעוהו, כשטבל לשם עבדות. ובמקוה הכשר לטבילת נידה, שם מטבילין את הגרים ואת העבדים ואת המשוחררים; וכל דבר שחוצץ בנידה, חוצץ בגרים ובעבדים ובמשוחררים

A slave is converted - with Mila and Tevila - after being bought. He then has the status of an Even Kna'ani.

If and when he is freed, he again needs to dip in the Mikveh - in front of 3 kosher witnesses - in order to gain the status of Jew.

Thus, Eliezer Eved Avraham - even after his conversion - was an Eved Kna'ani. Note the stress on Kna'ani, even though slaves could be from any nation. It's as if Chazal want to pre-empt your question by referring to all post-conversion-slaves as Eved Kna'ani.

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