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Genesis 26

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.

Genesis 26

26
1And when a famine came in the land, after that barrenness which had happened in the days of Abraham, Isaac went to Abimelech, King of the Palestines, to Gerara.
2And the Lord appeared to him and said: Go not down into Egypt, but stay in the land that I shall tell thee.
3And sojourn in it, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee: for to thee and to thy seed I will give all these countries, to fulfill the oath which I swore to Abraham thy father.
4And I will multiply thy seed like the stars of heaven: and I will give to thy posterity all these countries. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
5Because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my precepts and commandments, and observed my ceremonies and laws.
6So Isaac abode in Gerara.
7And when he was asked by the men of that place, concerning his wife, he answered: She is my sister. For he was afraid to confess that she was his wife, thinking lest perhaps they would like him because of her beauty.
8And when very many days were passed, and he abode there, Abimelech king of the Palestines, looking out through a window, saw him playing with Rebecca his wife.
9And calling for him, he said: It is evident she is thy wife. Why didst thou feign her to be thy sister? He answered: I feared lest I should die for her sake.
10And Abimelech said: Why hadst thou deceived us? Some man of the people might have lain with thy wife, and thou hadst brought upon us a great sin. And he commanded all the people, saying:
11He that shall touch this man's wife shall surely be put to death.
12And Isaac sowed in that land, and he found that same year a hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.
13And the man was enriched, and he went on prospering and increasing, till he became exceeding great.
14And he had possessions of sheep and of herds, and a very great family. Wherefore the Palestines, envying him,
15Stopped up at that time all the wells, that the servants of his father Abraham had digged, filling them up with earth:
16Insomuch that Abimelech himself said to Isaac: Depart from us, for thou art become much mightier than we.
17So he departed, and came to the torrent of Gerara, to dwell there.
18And he digged again other wells, which the servants of his father Abraham had digged, and which, after his death, the Palestines had of old stopped up. And he called them by the same names by which his father before had called them.
19And they digged in the torrent, and found living water.
20But there also the herdsmen of Gerara strove against the herdsmen of Isaac, saying: It is our water. Wherefore he called the name of the well, on occasion of that which had happened, Calumny.
21And they digged also another; and for that they quarreled likewise, and he called the name of it, Enmity.
22Going forward from thence, he digged another well, for which they contended not: therefore he called the name thereof, Latitude, saying: Now hath the Lord given us room, and made us to increase upon the earth.
23And he went up from that place to Bersabee,
24Where the Lord appeared to him that same night, saying: I am the God of Abraham thy father. Do not fear, for I am with thee: I will bless thee, and multiply thy seed, for my servant Abraham's sake.
25And he built there an altar: and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent. And he commanded his servants to dig a well.
26To which place when Abimelech, and Ochozath his friend, and Phicol chief captain of his soldiers, came from Gerara,
27Isaac said to them: Why are ye come to me, a man whom you hate, and have thrust out from you?
28And they answered: We saw that the Lord is with thee, and therefore we said: Let there be an oath between us, and let us make a covenant,
29That thou do us no harm, as we on our part have touched nothing of thine, nor have done any thing to hurt thee: but with peace have sent thee away, increased with the blessing of the Lord.
30And he made them a feast, and after they had eaten and drunk:
31Arising in the morning, they swore one to another: and Isaac sent them away peaceably to their own home.
32And, behold, the same day the servants of Isaac came, telling him of a well which they had digged, and saying: We have found water.
33Whereupon he called it, Abundance: and the name of the city was called Bersabee, even to this day.
34And Esau being forty years old, married wives, Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hethite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon, of the same place.
35And they both offended the mind of Isaac and Rebecca.