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Genesis 26

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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.
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1And there was a scarcity of food in the land, besides the first scarcity of food which was in the days of Aḇraham. And Yitsḥaq went to Aḇimeleḵ, sovereign of the Philistines, in Gerar.
2And יהוה appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Mitsrayim, live in the land which I command you.
3“Sojourn in this land. And I shall be with you and bless you, for I give all these lands to you and your seed. And I shall establish the oath which I swore to Aḇraham your father.
4And I shall increase your seed like the stars of the heavens, and I shall give all these lands to your seed. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,”
5because Aḇraham obeyed My voice and guarded My Charge: My commands, My laws, and My Torot.”#Torot - plural of Torah, teaching.
6And Yitsḥaq dwelt in Gerar.
7And when the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister.” For he was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me for Riḇqah, because she is good-looking.”
8And it came to be, when he had been there a long time, that Aḇimeleḵ sovereign of the Philistines looked through a window, and he watched and saw Yitsḥaq playing with Riḇqah his wife.
9So Aḇimeleḵ called Yitsḥaq and said, “See, truly she is your wife! So how could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” And Yitsḥaq said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die on account of her.’ ”
10And Aḇimeleḵ said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people had almost lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us.”
11And Aḇimeleḵ commanded all his people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall certainly be put to death.”
12And Yitsḥaq sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold, and יהוה blessed him.
13And the man grew great and went forward until he became very great.
14And he came to have possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great body of servants, and the Philistines envied him.
15And the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Aḇraham his father, and filled them with dirt.
16And Aḇimeleḵ said to Yitsḥaq, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”
17So Yitsḥaq went from there and pitched his tent in the wadi Gerar, and dwelt there.
18And Yitsḥaq dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Aḇraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Aḇraham. And he called them by the names which his father had called them.
19But when Yitsḥaq’s servants dug in the wadi and found a well of running water there,
20the herdsmen of Gerar strove with Yitsḥaq’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” And he called the name of the well Ěseq, because they strove with him.
21And they dug another well, and they strove over that one too, and he called its name Sitnah.
22And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not strive over it. And he called its name Reḥoḇoth, and said, “For now יהוה has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
23And from there he went up to Be’ĕrsheḇa.
24And יהוה appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the Elohim of your father Aḇraham. Do not fear, for I am with you, and shall bless you and increase your seed for My servant Aḇraham’s sake.”
25And he built a slaughter-place there, and called on the Name of יהוה, and he pitched his tent there, and the servants of Yitsḥaq dug a well there.
26And Aḇimeleḵ came to him from Gerar, with Aḥuzzath, one of his friends, and Piḵol the commander of his army.
27And Yitsḥaq said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing you have hated me and have sent me away from you?”
28But they said, “We have clearly seen that יהוה is with you. And we said, ‘Please, let there be an oath between us, between you and us. And let us make a covenant with you,
29that you do no evil to us, as we have not touched you, and as we have done only good toward you, and have sent you away in peace. You are now blessed by יהוה.’ ”
30And he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.
31And they rose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another. And Yitsḥaq let them go, and they departed from him in peace.
32And on the same day it came to be that the servants of Yitsḥaq came and informed him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.”
33So he called it Shiḇah. Therefore the name of the city is Be’ĕrsheḇa to this day.
34And when Ěsaw was forty years old, he took as wives Yehuḏith the daughter of Be’ĕri the Ḥittite, and Basemath the daughter of Ělon the Ḥittite.
35And they were a bitterness of spirit to Yitsḥaq and Riḇqah.