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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.
26
Isaac and Abimelech
1Once during Abraham's lifetime, the fields had not produced enough grain, and now the same thing happened. So Isaac went to King Abimelech of the Philistines in the land of Gerar, 2because the Lord had appeared to Isaac and said:
Isaac, stay away from Egypt! I will show you where I want you to go. 3#Gn 22.16-18. You will live there as a foreigner, but I will be with you and bless you. I will keep my promise to your father Abraham by giving this land to you and your descendants.
4I will give you as many descendants as there are stars in the sky, and I will give your descendants all of this land. They will be a blessing to every nation on earth,#26.4 They … on earth: Or “All nations on earth will ask me to bless them.” 5because Abraham did everything I told him to do.
6Isaac moved to Gerar 7#Gn 12.13; 20.2. with his beautiful wife Rebekah. He was afraid that someone might kill him to get her, and so he told everyone that Rebekah was his sister. 8After Isaac had been there a long time, King Abimelech looked out a window and saw Isaac hugging and kissing Rebekah. 9Abimelech called him in and said, “Rebekah must be your wife! Why did you say she is your sister?”
“Because I thought someone would kill me,” Isaac answered.
10“Don't you know what you've done?” Abimelech exclaimed. “If someone had slept with her, you would have made our whole nation guilty!” 11Then Abimelech warned his people that anyone who even touched Isaac or Rebekah would be put to death.
12Isaac planted grain and had a good harvest that same year. The Lord blessed him, 13and Isaac was so successful that he became very rich. 14In fact, the Philistines were jealous of the large number of sheep, goats, and slaves that Isaac owned, 15and they stopped up the wells that Abraham's servants had dug before his death. 16Finally, Abimelech said, “Isaac, I want you to leave our country. You have become too powerful to stay here.”
17Isaac left and settled in Gerar Valley, 18where he cleaned out those wells that the Philistines had stopped up. Isaac also gave each of the wells the same name#26.18 gave … same name: By doing this Isaac claimed ownership of the wells. that Abraham had given to them. 19While his servants were digging in the valley, they found a spring-fed well. 20But the shepherds of Gerar Valley quarreled with Isaac's shepherds and claimed the water belonged to them. So this well was named “Quarrel,” because they had quarreled with Isaac.
21Isaac's servants dug another well, and the shepherds also quarreled about it. So that well was named “Jealous.” 22Finally, they dug one more well. There was no quarreling this time, and the well was named “Lots of Room,” because the Lord had given them room and would make them very successful.
23Isaac went on to Beersheba, 24where the Lord appeared to him that night and told him, “Don't be afraid! I am the God who was worshiped by your father Abraham, my servant. I will be with you and bless you, and because of Abraham I will give you many descendants.” 25Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord. Then he set up camp, and his servants started digging a well.
26 # Gn 21.22. Meanwhile, Abimelech had left Gerar and was taking his advisor Ahuzzath and his army commander Phicol to see Isaac. 27When they arrived, Isaac asked, “Why are you here? Didn't you send me away because you hated me?”
28They answered, “We now know for certain that the Lord is with you, and we have decided there needs to be a peace treaty between you and us. So let's make a solemn agreement 29not to harm each other. Remember, we have never hurt you, and when we sent you away, we let you go in peace. The Lord has truly blessed you.”
30Isaac gave a big feast for them, and everyone ate and drank. 31Early the next morning Isaac and the others made a solemn agreement, then he let them go in peace.
32Later that same day Isaac's servants came and said, “We've struck water!” 33So Isaac named the well Shibah,#26.33 Shibah: In Hebrew “Shibah” sounds something like “good luck” and “promise.” and the town is still called Beersheba.#26.33 Beersheba: Meaning “Well of Good Fortune” or “Peace Treaty Well.”
Esau's Foreign Wives
34When Esau was 40 years old, he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35But these two women brought a lot of grief to Esau's parents Isaac and Rebekah.