Genesis 26

Rebekah’s Beauty (vs 1-11) 

There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham.

And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines to Gerar.

Abimelech was a title for the ruler of the Philistines, like Pharaoh was the title for the ruler of that Egyptians. This Abimelech is probably different from the one with whom Abraham made a covenant, since that was 60 to 100 years earlier.

The Lord appeared to Isaac.

The Lord: Do not go down into Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for I will give all these countries to you and to your seed, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give to your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Do you recognize these words? This is the promise God made to Abraham (Genesis 17:6-8, 22:17-18), now he is making the same promise to Isaac, Abraham’s seed.

And Isaac dwelt in Gerar.

The men of the place asked him of his wife.

Isaac: She is my sister.

Isaac feared to say, She is my wife.

Isaac: Lest the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah.

Rebekah was fair to look upon.

When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window, and saw Isaac sporting with Rebekah his wife.

Abimelech called Isaac.

Abimelech: Of a surety she is your wife. Why did you say, She is my sister?

Isaac: Because I said, Lest I die for her.

Abimelech: What is this you have done to us? One of the people might lightly have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guiltiness on us.

Abimelech (to all his people): He that touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.

Does this situation sound familiar? It should. Twice Abraham was in the same situation. (Genesis 12,20) First in Egypt, then in Gerar like Isaac. Abraham did not lie when he said Sarah was his sister. She was his wife but also his half-sister. (Genesis 20:12) But Isaac did lie. Rebekah was not his sister.

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Isaac’s Wells (vs 12-33)

Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year a hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.

Isaac became very great man. He had possession of flocks and herds and many servants. The Philistines envied Isaac.

After the death of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped all the wells, which his father’s servants had dug, and filled them with dirt.

Abimelech (to Isaac): Go from us, for you are much mightier than we.

Isaac departed, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

Isaac dug again the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.

Isaac’s servants also dug in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.

The herdsmen of Gerar strove with Isaac’s herdsmen.

The herdsmen of Gerar: The water is ours.

Isaac called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.

Isaac’s servants dug another well, and strove for that also. Isaac called the name of it Sitnah.

Isaac moved from there, and dug another well. They did not strive for this well. Isaac called the name of it Rehoboth.

Isaac: Now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

Isaac went up to Beer–sheba and the Lord appeared to him the same night.

The Lord (to Isaac): I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you, and I will bless you, and multiply your seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.

Isaac built an altar there, and called on the name of the Lord. He pitched his tent there, and his servants dug a well.

Abimelech, his friend Ahuzzath, and Phichol the chief captain of his army went to Isaac from Gerar.

Isaac: Why have you come to me, seeing you hate me and have sent me away from you?

Abimelech: We saw that the Lord was certainly with you: and we said, Let there be now an oath between us and you. Let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no hurt, as we have not touched you, and as we have done nothing but good to you, and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord.

 Isaac made them a feast, and they ate and drank.

They rose up early in the morning, and swore one to another. Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

The same day, Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had dug.

Isaac’s servants: We have found water.

Isaac called the well Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beer–sheba to this day.

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Grief of mind (vs 34-35)

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 to Isaac and to Rebekah.

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