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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.

Bereshis 26

26
1And there was a ra'av (famine) in ha'aretz, besides the ra'av harishon that was in the days of Avraham. And Yitzchak went unto Avimelech Melech Pelishtim (Philistines) unto Gerar. 2And Hashem appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Mitzrayim; dwell in ha'aretz which I shall tell thee of; 3Sojourn in ha'aretz hazot, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy zera, I will give all these lands, and I will perform the shevu'ah (oath) which I swore unto Avraham avichah; 4And I will make thy zera to multiply as the kokhavim of Shomayim, and will give unto thy zera all these lands; and in thy zera shall kol Goyei Ha'Aretz be blessed; 5Because Avraham obeyed My voice, and was shomer over My mishmeret (charge), My mitzvot, My chukkot, and My torot. 6And Yitzchak dwelt in Gerar; 7And the anshei hamakom asked him about his isha; and he said, She is my achot; for he feared to say, She is my isha; lest, said he, the anshei hamakom should kill me for Rivkah; because she was beautiful to look upon. 8And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Avimelech Melech Pelishtim (Philistines) looked out at a chalon, and saw, and, hinei, Yitzchak metzachek (was caressing) Rivkah his isha. 9And Avimelech called Yitzchak, and said, Hinei, of a surety she is thy isha; and why saidst thou, She is my achot? And Yitzchak said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die because of her. 10And Avimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have slept with thy isha, and thou shouldest have brought asham (guilt) upon us. 11And Avimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his isha shall surely be put to death. 12Then Yitzchak sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and Hashem blessed him. 13And the man became very prosperous, and went forward, and grew until he became gadol me'od: 14For he had possession of tzon, and possession of herds, and many avadim; and the Pelishtim envied him. 15For all the wells which avdei aviv had dug in the days of Avraham aviv, the Pelishtim had stopped them up, and filled them with dirt. 16And Avimelech said unto Yitzchak, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. 17And Yitzchak departed from there, and encamped in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18And Yitzchak dug again the be'erot hamayim (wells of water), which they had dug in the days of Avraham aviv; for the Pelishtim had stopped them up after the mot Avraham; and he called their shemot after the shemot by which his av had called them. 19And avdei Yitzchak dug in the valley, and found there a well of mayim chayyim. 20And the herdmen of Gerar did quarrel with Yitzchak's herdmen, saying, The mayim is ours; and he called the shem of the well Esek (Contention); because they disputed with him. 21And they dug another be'er, and feuded over that also; and he called the shem of it Sitnah (Enmity). 22And he moved away from there, and dug another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the shem of it Rechovot (Broad Places); and he said, For now Hashem hath made rachav (room) for us, and we shall be fruitful in ha'aretz. 23And he went up from there to Beer-Sheva. 24And Hashem appeared unto him balailah hahu, and said, I am Elohei Avraham avichah; fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy zera for the sake of Avdi Avraham (My Servant Abraham). 25And he built a Mizbe'ach there, and called upon the Shem of Hashem, and pitched his ohel there: and there avdei Yitzchak dug a well. 26Then Avimelech went to him from Gerar, and Achuzzat his adviser, and Phichol the sar tz'va of his. 27And Yitzchak said unto them, Why come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you? 28And they said, We saw certainly that Hashem was with thee; and we said, Let there be now an oath between us, even between us and thee, and let us cut a brit (covenant) with thee; 29That thou wilt do us no ra'ah, just as we have not touched thee, and just as we have done unto thee nothing but tov, and have sent thee away in shalom; thou art now the Beruch Hashem (the blessed of Hashem). 30And he made them a mishteh (feast), and they did eat and drink. 31And they rose up early in the boker, and swore one to another: and Yitzchak sent them away, and they departed from him in shalom. 32And it came to pass the same day, that the avdei Yitzchak came, and told him concerning the be'er which they had dug, and said unto him, We have found mayim. 33And he called it Shevah (Seven, Oath): therefore the shem of the Ir is Beer-Sheva unto this day. 34And Esav was arba'im shanah when he took to wife Yehudit the bat Beeri the Chitti, and Basemat the bat Elon the Chitti: 35and they were a morat ruach (grief of mind) unto Yitzchak and Rivkah.