(Gen 26:1 NASB) Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines.
Gen 26:1: There was a famine in the land so Isaac went to the king of the Philistines in Gerar. This is probably not the same king that Abraham dealt with, because this was more than 75 years later. “Abimelech” was probably a kingly title such as “Pharoah.”
Isaac’s father had worked a deal earlier with the king of Gerar and he expected it to work to his advantage (Gen. 21:22-24).
(Gen 26:2 NASB) And the LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you.
Gen 26:2: Yahweh appeared to Isaac. The Hebrew term “ra’ah” means “to see,” but is often used in Scripture when only an audible voice is heard. That is probably the case here.
Elohim does not want Isaac to go to Egypt. The lure of the land of Egypt for safety and security will be snagged soon enough.
(Gen 26:3 NASB) “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.
Gen 26:3: This land of Israel is the intention for Elohim’s people. He wants them to inhabit that land forever (Isa 43:1-6).
(Gen 26:4 NASB) “And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
Gen 26:4: The descendants of Abraham and Issac are going to be regathered in the land of Israel. They will be called “sons of the living Elohim” (Hosea 1:11). We have the honor of being a part of Israel by being adopted sons of Elohim through the faithfulness of the Father (Romans 8:15-17). We too, will be brought in to the land of promise.
(Gen 26:5 NASB) because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.”
Gen 26:5: Abraham followed the Torah of Elohim. He demonstrated his faithfulness through his obedience to Torah.
(Gen 26:6 NASB) So Isaac lived in Gerar.
(Gen 26:7 NASB) When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” thinking, “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful.”
Gen 26:7: Isaac feared for his life in the same way Abraham did and he used the same lie Abraham did. He undoubtedly heard of his father saying the same thing.
(Gen 26:8 NASB) And it came about, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out through a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was caressing his wife Rebekah.
(Gen 26:9 NASB) Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, certainly she is your wife! How then did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” And Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die on account of her.'”
(Gen 26:10 NASB) And Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
Gen 26:10: What Isaac said was to protect him from the people of the land who would capture Rebekah and probably take her as a wife. But Abimelech heard of Abraham’s story also and knew that they would be cursed if they took her.
(Gen 26:11 NASB) So Abimelech charged all the people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
(Gen 26:12 NASB) Now Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him,
(Gen 26:13 NASB) and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy;
(Gen 26:14 NASB) for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him.
Gen 26:14: Abimelech did not allow anyone to touch him or his wife. But Abimelech did not give Isaac the riches that the king gave Abraham and Sarah.
Regardless, the Philistines were jealous of the prosperity of Isaac.
(Gen 26:15 NASB) Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth.
(Gen 26:16 NASB) Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.”
(Gen 26:17 NASB) And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.
Gen 26:17: This was an early form of vandalism. It was due purely to jealousy of the Philistines.
Apparently Isaac’s wealth in livestock and servants/employess is quite large.
(Gen 26:18 NASB) Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them.
(Gen 26:19 NASB) But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing water,
(Gen 26:20 NASB) the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac, saying, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they contended with him.
Gen 26:20: Wells in that day were greatly desired and were hard work to dig. They were likely rock lined and was a monument to who owned the land. The Philistines filled up the wells which Abraham had dug and laid claim to them.
“Esek” means “contention.”
(Gen 26:21 NASB) Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over it too, so he named it Sitnah.
Gen 26:21: “Sitnah” means “enmity.”
(Gen 26:22 NASB) And he moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, for he said, “At last the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
Gen 26:22: “Rehoboth” means “plenty of room.” I mentioned earlier that the wells were rock lined. But many of them were dug into rock and some were very deep.
(Gen 26:23 NASB) Then he went up from there to Beersheba.
(Gen 26:24 NASB) And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant Abraham.”
(Gen 26:25 NASB) So he built an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
Gen 26:25: Isaac called upon Yahweh and praised His name there. He now knows this is the place designated for him by Elohim.
(Gen 26:26 NASB) Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath, and Phicol the commander of his army.
(Gen 26:27 NASB) And Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me, and have sent me away from you?”
(Gen 26:28 NASB) And they said, “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you; so we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, even between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you,
(Gen 26:29 NASB) that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good, and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.'”
Gen 26:29: The blessings of Isaac were evident to others. They witnessed his success in agriculture and in his exploration of water. They knew Elohim was with him.
(Gen 26:30 NASB) Then he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.
(Gen 26:31 NASB) And in the morning they arose early and exchanged oaths; then Isaac sent them away and they departed from him in peace.
Gen 26:31: The made an oath to one another similar to the one Abraham made with these people years earlier.
(Gen 26:32 NASB) Now it came about on the same day, that Isaac’s servants came in and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.”
(Gen 26:33 NASB) So he called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.
Gen 26:33: “Shebah” means “seven” or “oath.” “Beersheba” means “well of oath” or “well of seven.”
(Gen 26:34 NASB) And when Esau was forty years old he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite;
(Gen 26:35 NASB) and they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah.
Gen 26:35: Esau was still the hunter of the family. He hunted and found a couple of wives this time. They were a source of grief for Isaac and Rebekkah. It is because of the difference in beliefs between them and the pagan girls Esau married. Abraham made his servant promise that whe would not let him take a wife from the Canaanites as Esau did. Esau choosing pagan wives from the land of Canaan was a deliberate act of rebellion.
Esau’s indifference to the things of Elohim would have melded well with the pagan girls.
According to other passages, Isaac was sixty years older than Esau and would have been 100 years old at this time. That would explain the elderly state of blindness of Isaac as described in the next chapter.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas