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Genesis 26

Isaac and Abimelech. 1#The promise of land and numerous descendants given to Abraham (12:1–3; 15; 17; 22:17–18) is renewed for his son Isaac. The divine blessing to Isaac is mentioned also in vv. 12, 24, and 29. #Gn 12:10–20. There was a famine in the land, distinct from the earlier one that had occurred in the days of Abraham, and Isaac went down to Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar.#Gn 12:10. 2The Lord appeared to him and said: Do not go down to Egypt, but camp in this land wherever I tell you. 3Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I will give all these lands, in fulfillment of the oath that I swore to your father Abraham.#Gn 12:7; 15:18; Ex 32:13; Ps 105:9; Sir 44:22; Heb 11:9. 4I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, and I will give them all these lands, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing—#Gn 12:3; 22:17–18; 28:14; Ex 32:13. 5this because Abraham obeyed me, keeping my mandate, my commandments, my ordinances, and my instructions.
6#This scene is the third version of the wife-in-danger story (cf. chaps. 12 and 20). The mention of the famine in 26:1 recalls the famine in 12:10; the name Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar, recalls 20:2. The deception, according to all the stories, is the claim that the wife is a sister. This story (from the Yahwist source) departs from the two previous accounts in that the wife is not taken into the harem of the foreign king. So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7When the men of the place asked questions about his wife, he answered, “She is my sister.” He was afraid that, if he called her his wife, the men of the place would kill him on account of Rebekah, since she was beautiful. 8But when they had been there for a long time, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out of a window and saw Isaac fondling his wife Rebekah. 9He called for Isaac and said: “She must certainly be your wife! How could you have said, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac replied, “I thought I might lose my life on her account.” 10“How could you have done this to us!” exclaimed Abimelech. “It would have taken very little for one of the people to lie with your wife, and so you would have brought guilt upon us!” 11Abimelech then commanded all the people: “Anyone who maltreats this man or his wife shall be put to death.”
12#The dispute is over water rights. In a sparsely watered land, wells were precious and claims on water could function as a kind of claim on the land. Scholars generally judge the account of the dispute over water rights and its settlement by a legal agreement between Isaac and Abimelech to be a Yahwist version of the similar story about Abraham in 21:22–34. Here, Abimelech realizes that Isaac has brought blessing to his people and thus desires a covenant with him. The feast in v. 30 is part of the covenant ceremony. Isaac sowed a crop in that region and reaped a hundredfold the same year. Since the Lord blessed him, 13#Jb 1:3. he became richer and richer all the time, until he was very wealthy. 14He acquired flocks and herds, and a great work force, and so the Philistines became envious of him. 15#Gn 21:25–31. The Philistines had stopped up and filled with dirt all the wells that his father’s servants had dug back in the days of his father Abraham. 16So Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us; you have become far too numerous for us.” 17Isaac left there and camped in the Wadi Gerar where he stayed. 18Isaac reopened the wells which his father’s servants had dug back in the days of his father Abraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham’s death; he gave them names like those that his father had given them. 19But when Isaac’s servants dug in the wadi and reached spring water in their well, 20the shepherds of Gerar argued with Isaac’s shepherds, saying, “The water belongs to us!” So he named the well Esek,#Esek: “quarrel.” because they had quarreled there. 21Then they dug another well, and they argued over that one too; so he named it Sitnah.#Sitnah: “opposition.” 22So he moved on from there and dug still another well, but over this one they did not argue. He named it Rehoboth,#Rehoboth: “wide spaces,” i.e., ample room to live; site is probably SW of modern day Beer-sheba. and said, “Because the Lord has now given us ample room, we shall flourish in the land.”
23From there Isaac went up to Beer-sheba. 24The same night the Lord appeared to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, your father. Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of Abraham, my servant.#Gn 46:3. 25So Isaac built an altar there and invoked the Lord by name. After he had pitched his tent there, Isaac’s servants began to dig a well nearby.
26#Gn 21:22–31; Prv 16:7. Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath, his councilor, and Phicol, the general of his army. 27Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have driven me away from you?” 28They answered: “We clearly see that the Lord has been with you, so we thought: let there be a sworn agreement between our two sides—between you and us. Let us make a covenant with you: 29you shall do no harm to us, just as we have not maltreated you, but have always acted kindly toward you and have let you depart in peace. So now, may you be blessed by the Lord!” 30Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31Early the next morning they exchanged oaths. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace.
32That same day Isaac’s servants came and informed him about the well they had been digging; they told him, “We have reached water!” 33He called it Shibah;#Shibah: the place name Shibah is a play on two Hebrew words, shebu‘ah, “oath,” and shwebaa‘, “seven.” In v. 31, they exchanged oaths. hence the name of the city is Beer-sheba to this day. 34#These verses from the Priestly source introduce the next section on Esau’s loss of his right as firstborn by suggesting a motivation for this in Isaac’s and Rebekah’s dislike for Esau’s Canaanite wives. When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, daughter of Elon the Hivite.#Gn 27:46. 35But they became a source of bitterness to Isaac and Rebekah.
1And there was a famine in the lande besides the first famine that was in the dayes of Abraham. Wherefore Izhak went to Abimelech King of the Philistims vnto Gerar. 2For the Lord appeared vnto him, and sayde, Goe not downe into Egypt, but abide in the land which I shall shewe vnto thee. 3Dwell in this lande, and I will be with thee, and will blesse thee: for to thee, and to thy seede I will giue all these countreys: and I will performe the othe which I sware vnto Abraham thy father. 4Also I wil cause thy seede to multiply as the starres of heauen, and will giue vnto thy seede all these countreys: and in thy seede shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, 5Because that Abraham obeyed my voyce and kept mine ordinance, my commandements, my statutes, and my Lawes. 6So Izhak dwelt in Gerar. 7And the men of the place asked him of his wife, and he sayd, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife, least, sayde he, the men of the place shoulde kill me, because of Rebekah: for she was beautifull to the eye. 8So after hee had bene there long time, Abimelech King of the Philistims looked out at a windowe, and loe, he sawe Izhak sporting with Rebekah his wife. 9Then Abimelech called Izhak, and sayde, Loe, shee is of a suertie thy wife, and why saydest thou, She is my sister? To whom Izhak answered, Because I thought this, It may be that I shall dye for her. 10Then Abimelech said, Why hast thou done this vnto vs? one of the people had almost lien by thy wife, so shouldest thou haue brought sinne vpon vs. 11Then Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man, or his wife, shall die the death. 12Afterwarde Izhak sowed in that lande, and founde in the same yeere an hundreth folde by estimation: and so the Lord blessed him. 13And the man waxed mightie, and stil increased, till he was exceeding great, 14For he had flockes of sheepe, and heards of cattell, and a mightie housholde: therefore the Philistims had enuy at him. 15In so much that the Philistims stopped and filled vp with earth all the welles, which his fathers seruantes digged in his father Abrahams time. 16Then Abimelech sayde vnto Izhak, Get thee from vs, for thou art mightier then wee a great deale. 17Therefore Izhak departed thence and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18And Izhak returning, digged the welles of water, which they had digged in the dayes of Abraham his father: for the Philistims had stopped them after the death of Abraham, and hee gaue them the same names, which his father gaue them. 19Izhaks seruantes then digged in the valley, and found there a well of liuing water. 20But the herdmen of Gerar did striue with Izhaks herdmen, saying, The water is ours: therefore called he the name of the well Esek, because they were at strife with him. 21Afterwarde they digged another well, and stroue for that also, and he called the name of it Sitnah. 22Then he remoued thence, and digged an other well, for the which they stroue not: therefore called hee the name of it Rehoboth, and sayde, Because the Lord hath nowe made vs roome, we shall increase vpon the earth. 23So he went vp thence to Beer-sheba. 24And the Lord appeared vnto him the same night, and sayde, I am the God of Abraham thy father: feare not, for I am with thee, and wil blesse thee, and will multiplie thy seede for my seruant Abrahams sake. 25Then he builte an altar there, and called vpon the Name of the Lord, and there spred his tent: where also Izhaks seruauntes digged a well. 26Then came Abimelech to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friendes, and Phichol the captaine of his armie. 27To whom Izhak sayd, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate mee and haue put mee away from you? 28Who answered, Wee sawe certainely that the Lord was with thee, and wee thought thus, Let there be nowe an othe betweene vs, euen betweene vs and thee, and let vs make a couenant with thee. 29If thou shalt do vs no hurt, as we haue not touched thee, and as we haue done vnto thee nothing but good, and sent thee away in peace: thou nowe, the blessed of the Lord, doe this. 30Then hee made them a feast, and they dyd eate and drinke. 31And they rose vp betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: then Izhak let them go, and they departed from him in peace. 32And that same day Izhaks seruantes came and tolde him of a well, which they had digged, and said vnto him, We haue found water. 33So hee called it Shibah: therefore the name of the citie is called Beer-sheba vnto this day. 34Nowe when Esau was fourtie yeere olde, he tooke to wife Iudith, the daughter of Beeri an Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon an Hittite also. 35And they were a griefe of minde to Izhak and to Rebekah.