Genesis 26: Isaac and Abimelech

How did the fields where Isaac was compare to the fields in Gerar and in Egypt? Without satellite imagery, how did he know where better pastures were?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:1–2 A famine struck the land like the one that came in the days of Abraham. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech was king of the Philistines.
The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Don’t go to Egypt. Live where I show you.
King James
Genesis 26:1–2 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:

In what manner did the Lord appear to Isaac? How did this appearance compare to those where the Lord appeared to Abraham?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Don’t go to Egypt. Live where I show you.
King James
Genesis 26:2 And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:

Abraham had been in Egypt for a while. What was wrong with Isaac going there?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:2–3 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Don’t go to Egypt. Live where I show you. Remain in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you. I will give this land to you and your descendants as I promised your father, Abraham.”
King James
Genesis 26:2–3 And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;

Why did Isaac believe God and follow his direction?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:4–6 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. I will give these lands to your descendants, and all nations on Earth will be blessed through them, because Abraham listened to me and did all I asked, following my direction and keeping my commandments.”
So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
King James
Genesis 26:4–6 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:

Where did Isaac get the idea that he should say Rebekah was his sister? Why did he think that was a good thing to do?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:7 When men there asked Isaac about Rebekah, he said, “She’s my sister.” He was afraid to tell them she was his wife, because she was very beautiful, and he thought they might kill him if they knew.
King James
Genesis 26:7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.

Do you think Abimelech might have doubted at the moment when Isaac claimed that Rebekah was his sister? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 20:2 When Abraham introduced his wife as his sister to Abimelech, king of Gerar, the king took Sarah into his palace.
Genesis 26:8 Sometime later, King Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah.
King James
Genesis 20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
Genesis 26:8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.

What kind of relationship did Isaac have with Abimelech? To what extent was that relationship affected by Isaac’s father’s reputation?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:9–11 Abimelech summoned Isaac. “She is really your wife,” he said. “Why did you say she was your sister?”
Isaac said, “I thought someone might kill me because of her.”
“How could you do this to us?” Abimelech said. “One of the men might have slept with your wife, bringing guilt upon us.” Abimelech gave an edict to his people, saying that anyone harming Isaac or his wife would be put to death.
King James
Genesis 26:9–11 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister?
And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us. And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.

What is a “hundredfold” harvest? Had the famine ended? Why was the harvest so great?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:12–13 In that year, Isaac’s crops brought a hundredfold harvest, and the Lord blessed him. His riches continued to increase, and Isaac became very wealthy.
King James
Genesis 26:12–13 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:

Why were the Philistines envious? Wasn’t stopping up the wells self-destructive? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:14–15 The Philistines envied him because of his flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, and many servants. They had stopped up all the wells that Abraham’s servants had dug, filling them with dirt.
King James
Genesis 26:14–15 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.

Were Isaac’s flocks demanding more grazing than the rest of the Philistines combined? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:16–17 Abimelech said to Isaac, “You need to leave our country, for you have become bigger than we are.”
So Isaac moved to the valley of Gerar.
King James
Genesis 26:16–17 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

What did Isaac accomplish by moving to the valley?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:18–19 Isaac reopened the wells the Philistines had plugged after Abraham’s death and gave them the same names that his father had given them.
Isaac’s servants were digging in the valley and discovered an artesian well of fresh water.
King James
Genesis 26:18–19 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.

If Isaac moved away to avoid contention, why was he still facing it?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:20–21 The shepherds of Gerar fought with Isaac’s shepherds, saying the water was theirs. Because of the dispute, Isaac named the well Esek, meaning “contention.”
Isaac’s servants dug another well, which was also disputed. Isaac named the well Sitnah, meaning “adversary.”
King James
Genesis 26:20–21 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him. And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.

After Isaac settled in an undisputed territory, why did he move on to Beersheba?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:22–23 Isaac moved on and dug yet another well, and this time no dispute followed. He named the well Rehoboth, meaning “open space,” saying the Lord had made space for them to flourish in the land.
From there, Isaac moved to Beersheba.
King James
Genesis 26:22–23 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. And he went up from thence to Beersheba.

Why did God tell Isaac not to fear? When we are fearful, does it help for someone to tell us not to fear? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:24–25 That night, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father, Abraham. Have no fear, for I am with you and will bless you. Because of my promise to my servant Abraham, I will give you many descendants.”
Isaac built an altar and worshiped the Lord. His servants started digging a well, and he pitched his tent there.
King James
Genesis 26:24–25 And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake. And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.

Why did Abimelech think he needed a peace treaty with Isaac?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:26–29 Abimelech went to him from Gerar, accompanied by Ahuzzath, one of his advisors, and Phicol, his army commander.
“Why come to see me?” Isaac said. “You hated me and sent me away.”
“We have seen that the Lord is with you,” they said. “So we want to make an agreement for peace between us. 29 Swear that you will not harm us, just as we did nothing but good for you. We sent you away in peace, and now the Lord has blessed you.”
King James
Genesis 26:26–29 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army. And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you? And they said, We saw certainly that the Lord was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the Lord.

How often do parties swear to live in peace and war follows? Why does that happen?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:30–33 Isaac prepared a feast, and they ate and drank together.
Early the next morning, they swore an oath to live in peace, and Isaac bid them farewell.
That day, Isaac’s servants came with news about the well they had been digging. They had struck water. Isaac named the well Shibah, meaning “oath.” Today, the name of the city there is Beersheba.
King James
Genesis 26:30–33 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water. And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.

What caused Esau’s parents to grieve over his marriage to Hittite women?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 26:34–35 Esau was forty years old when he married the Hittite women Judith, daughter of Been, and Basemath, daughter of Elon, which grieved Isaac and Rebekah.
King James
Genesis 26:34–35 And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.