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Very often in the torah Eliezer's proper name is omitted when he is discussed. Examples include the story of finding a wife for Yitzhak where he is referred to as Eved or Ish, his accompanying Avraham and Yitzhak to the akeida where he is referred to as a naar, and going out to war with Avraham where chazal tell us that the 318 soldiers which Avraham took were a remez (hint) to Eliezer.

I would like to know why Eliezer's proper name is omitted so often in relation to the positive things he did.

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The following only addresses the absence of his name in Parshas Chayei Sarah, but that is the bulk of cases in which his name is replaced with eved/ish.

R' Yaakov Kaminetzky (Emes L'Yaakov Bereishis 24:39) sees in this point an important motif underlying the story of Eliezer's search for a wife for Yitzchok. Eliezer had a daughter whom he wanted to marry off to Yitzchok, but this was not accepted by Avraham because Eliezer was a descendant of Canaan and was accursed, whereas Yitzchok was blessed (Rashi to Bereishis 24:39). This was reflected in his being an eved (servant), as this was the curse that Canaan was given (Bereishit 9:25). R' Yaakov explained that during the course of Eliezer's mission, he started out as "eved" (verses 2 - 17), but upon finding Rivka and completing his mission, he became "blessed" (as Lavan declares in verse 31), and therefore was transformed into an "ish" (verses 21 - 32). However, after having removed his ineligibility to marry his own daughter to Yitzchok, Eliezer tried to ruin the match by implying there was some problem with Yitzchok (verse 39), and at that point he reverts to being an eved (verses 52 - the end, with two exceptions that R' Yaakov explains). So the absense of his name is in order to refer to him by his status, which is important to the story line.

(I have my own explanation of this labeling pattern, but I'll defer to R' Yaakov for this forum.)

  • How does verse 39 imply there was a problem with Yitzchok? – Yishai Nov 25 '14 at 22:35
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    @Yishai You could see it in Emes L'Yaakov, but briefly - he is bothered why Eliezer would bother to mention to Besuel the possibility that the girl wouldn't want to come, and why Rashi only brings the point that Eliezer had a daughter in the account that he relates to Besuel as opposed to when he originally said it to Avraham. He concludes that the reason to mention it to Besuel is because he was insinuating there was a reason the girl wouldn't want to come, and only by mentioning it to Besuel did it relate to his having his own daughter. – Y     e     z Nov 25 '14 at 22:40
  • @Yez I'd love to hear your explanation. – SAH Dec 26 '17 at 17:55
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If we go with the opinion that Eliezer had his good servitude repaid in full by being made king of the Bashan, known famously by his other name Og, see Pirkei DiRabi Eliezer 16, than I think the personality of this person itself would answer why we don't mention his name alongside his good deeds. He was not really a nice person doing nice things, rather simply a servant doing his master's bidding, the medrash there in fact calls him a rasha. So there is no reason to attribute the actions to him.

Again in chapter 31 of Pirkei DiRabi Eliezer we find Eliezer's true intentions where we find him happy to see Avraham taking Yitzchok to sacrifice him leaving himself, Eliezer, to inherit Avraham.

  • Here is a thorough article dealing with Og's complicated and cloudy life story. – Lee Nov 2 '15 at 7:18

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