Genesis 26 - Outline of Genesis (Book Notes menu page)
26:1 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.
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:
26:3 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;
26:4 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;
26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice,
and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
there was a famine in the land...-
Like Abraham before him, in a similar time of crisis (Gen 12:10-f), Isaac acted in fleshly wisdom to deal with the problem.
the Lord appeared unto him, and...
  1. warned him not to go to Egypt.
    The Lord intervened to preserve Isaac from spiritual dangers there. Abraham had suffered a setback during his sojourn in Egypt.
  2. confirmed the Abrahamic Covenant with Isaac (cp. 12:1-3,7) -
    1. the land (v.3).
      (The personal nature of this promise requires Isaac's resurrection for fulfillment.)
    2. the nation (v.4a).
    3. the blessing upon all the earth in the Seed (v.4b).
  3. warned him of the importance of keeping God's Word (v.5) -
    The Mosaic Law had not yet been given. Therefore, the 'commandments, statutes and laws' refer to the general and specific instructions which God had revealed up to that time. The believer's actions are to be governed by God's Word.
26:6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
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.
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.
26:9 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.
26:10 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.
26:11 And Abimelech charged all [his] people, saying,
He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
Isaac obeyed the instructions regarding Egypt, but he chose to stay in Gerar.
Gerar held a bad moral influence, which caused an ungodly ''fear of men,'' in the hearts of the godly.
Both Abraham and Isaac denied their wives there. cp. v.6,7; 20:1,2,11
     Abraham had told a half truth, 20:12 Isaac told a complete lie, v.7
     Sarah was nearly married to another.Rebekah never left Isaac's presence.
In both cases, there was real danger to the line of promise, due to the foolishness of the flesh. Although, Jacob and Esau had been born prior to this sojourn in Gerar, family entanglements could have corrupted the line (eg., in the choice of an ungodly wife for Jacob). But God intervened by reproving His servant through the governing authority of Gerar. v.10; 20:9,10; cp. Rom 13:1-5; 1Pet 2:11-16
     Note: Abimelech (meaning 'father of the king') is a title, not a personal name. The Abimelech of Isaac's time may have been a son or grandson of the ruler who held this title in Abraham's day.
26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold:
and the LORD blessed him.
26:13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
26:14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants:
and the Philistines envied him.
26:15 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.
26:16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.
26:17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.
26:18 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.
26:19 And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
26:20 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
{ie., 'contention'}; because they strove with him.
26:21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also:
and he called the name of it Sitnah
{ie., 'hatred'}.
Isaac was blessed materially, to the envy of his neighbors.
''But he suffered spiritually, was a moral injury to the Philistines, was continually contending with them, had anything but a life of peace, and finally was asked of them to go away.'' [GWms]
Isaac's life in the world was characterized by 'contention' and 'hatred' with his neighbors.
The blessing of material prosperity is not to be confused with the blessing of the Lord's presence.
There is no record that the Lord appeared to Isaac, during his sojourn in Gerar.
26:22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not:
and he called the name of it Rehoboth
{ie., 'enlargement'};
and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
26:23 And he went up from thence to Beersheba.
26:24 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.
26:25 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.
26:26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar,
and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
26:27 And Isaac said unto them,
Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
26:28 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;
26:29 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.
26:30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.
26:31 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.
26:32 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.
26:33 And he called it Shebah
{ie., 'a covenant'}:
therefore the name of the city [is] Beersheba unto this day.
Upon departing from Gerar to Beersheba, the LORD again appeared to Isaac, saying:
''I am with thee.''
The presence of the LORD is to be found, neither in the company of, nor in contention with, the world. cf. v.6-7, 20-21 with v.22-25
We can meet with Him, only when we separate from the world. cp. 2Cor 6:17; Eph 5:7-14
the LORD is with thee... thou art now 'the blessed' of the LORD {ie., in Abraham's stead}- v.28,29
When God's servant is in communion with Him, the world can see the reality of the LORD and of His Covenant.
Beersheba- the well of the covenant.
  • Isaac's covenant with Abimelech recalls Abraham's covenant at that place. 21:27-33
    Isaac re-learned the lessons which his father had learned through similar experience.
    - - The presence of the Lord is to be sought above material blessing.
    - - Separation, from the world and to the Lord, blesses the world with a clear witness for the Lord.
  • Although God's covenant with Abraham included land south of this place,
    both Abraham & Isaac enjoyed the Lord's presence from here and northward.
    Beersheba became regarded as the southern extreme of the land of Israel during most of the OT period.
    eg., Judg 20:1; 1Sam 3:20; 2Sam 3:10 {'Israel... from Dan (a city in the north) to Beersheba (in the south).'}
26:34 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:
26:35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
a grief of mind...-
Esau's heathen wives brought false gods and an ungodly manner of life into the family.
Esau's choice of wives gave further evidence of his disregard for the God of his fathers, and for His Covenant with them.
Contrast Abraham's care in choosing a wife for Isaac (24:2-7).

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