Genesis 26

1 And there was a famine in the land, in addition to the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech, king of the Philistines, unto Gerar.
2 And the LORD appeared unto him and said, Do not go down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of;
3 abide 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 lands, and I will confirm the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father;
4 and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven and will give unto thy seed all these lands, and in thy seed shall all the Gentiles of the earth be blessed
5 because Abraham hearkened unto my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
6 Therefore Isaac dwelt in Gerar.
7 And the men of that 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.
8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time that Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looking out a window, saw Isaac sporting with Rebekah, his wife.
9 And Abimelech called Isaac and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife; and how didst thou say, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die because of her.
10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? One of the people might easily have slept with thy wife, and thou should have brought the sin upon us.
11 Then Abimelech charged all the people, saying, He that touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
12 Then Isaac sowed in that land and received in the same year one hundred-fold, and the LORD blessed him.
13 And the man waxed great and went forward and grew until he became very great,
14 for he had possession of flocks, possession of herds, great store of servants, and the Philistines envied him.
15 For all the wells which his father’s slaves had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them and filled them with earth.
16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us, for thou art become much mightier than we.
17 And Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar and dwelt there.
18 And Isaac reopened the wells of water, which they had opened in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham, and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
19 And Isaac’s slaves dug in the valley and found there a well of living waters.
20 And the pastors of Gerar strove with Isaac’s pastors, saying, The water is ours; therefore he called the name of the well Esek, because they strove with him.
21 And they opened another well and strove for that one also; and he called the name of it Sitnah.
22 And he left there and opened another well; and for that one they did not strive and he called the name of it Rehoboth, and he said, For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
23 And he went up from there unto Beersheba.
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 slave Abraham’s sake.
25 And he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s slaves opened a well.
26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar and Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol, the chief captain of his army.
27 And Isaac said unto them, Why come ye to me, seeing ye hate me and have sent me away from you?
28 And they said, We have seen certainly that the LORD is with thee; and we said, Let there be now an oath between us, even between us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee,
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.
30 And he made them a banquet, and they ate and drank.
31 And they rose up early in the morning and swore one to another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
32 And it came to pass the same day that Isaac’s slaves came and told him concerning the well which they had opened and said unto him, We have found water.
33 And he called it Shebah, therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.
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:
35 Who were bitterness of spirit unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

Genesis 26 Commentary

Chapter 26

Isaac, because of famine, goes to Gerar. (1-5) He denies his wife and is reproved by Abimelech. (6-11) Isaac grows rich, The Philistines' envy. (12-17) Isaac digs wells God blesses him. (18-25) Abimelech makes a covenant with Isaac. (26-33) Esau's wives. (34,35)

Verses 1-5 Isaac had been trained up in a believing dependence upon the Divine grant of the land of Canaan to him and his heirs; and now that there is a famine in the land, Isaac still cleaves to the covenant. The real worth of God's promises cannot be lessened to a believer by any cross providences that may befall him. If God engage to be with us, and we are where he would have us to be, nothing but our own unbelief and distrust can prevent our comfort. The obedience of Abraham to the Divine command, was evidence of that faith, whereby, as a sinner, he was justified before God, and the effect of that love whereby true faith works. God testifies that he approved this obedience, to encourage others, especially Isaac.

Verses 6-11 There is nothing in Isaac's denial of his wife to be imitated, nor even excused. The temptation of Isaac is the same as that which overcame his father, and that in two instances. This rendered his conduct the greater sin. The falls of those who are gone before us are so many rocks on which others have split; and the recording of them is like placing buoys to save future mariners. This Abimelech was not the same that lived in Abraham's days, but both acted rightly. The sins of professors shame them before those that are not themselves religious.

Verses 12-17 God blessed Isaac. Be it observed, for the encouragement of poor tenants who occupy other people's lands, and are honest and industrious, that God blessed him with a great increase. The Philistines envied Isaac. It is an instance of the vanity of the world; for the more men have of it, the more they are envied, and exposed to censure and injury. Also of the corruption of nature; for that is an ill principle indeed, which makes men grieve at the good of others. They made Isaac go out of their country. That wisdom which is from above, will teach us to give up our right, and to draw back from contentions. If we are wrongfully driven from one place, the Lord will make room for us in another.

Verses 18-25 Isaac met with much opposition in digging wells. Two were called Contention and Hatred. See the nature of worldly things; they make quarrels, and are occasions of strife; and what is often the lot of the most quiet and peaceable; those who avoid striving, yet cannot avoid being striven with. And what a mercy it is to have plenty of water; to have it without striving for it! The more common this mercy is, the more reason to be thankful for it. At length Isaac digged a well, for which they strove not. Those that study to be quiet, seldom fail of being so. When men are false and unkind, still God is faithful and gracious; and his time to show himself so is, when we are most disappointed by men. The same night that Isaac came weary and uneasy to Beer-sheba, God brought comforts to his soul. Those may remove with comfort who are sure of God's presence.

Verses 26-33 When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him, ( Proverbs 16:7 ) . Kings' hearts are in his hands, and when he pleases, he can turn them to favour his people. It is not wrong to stand upon our guard in dealing with those who have acted unfairly. But Isaac did not insist on the unkindnesses they had done him; he freely entered into friendship with them. Religion teaches us to be neighbourly, and, as much as in us lies, to live peaceable with all men. Providence smiled upon what Isaac did; God blessed his labours.

Verses 34-35 Esau was foolish in marrying two wives together, and still more in marrying Canaanites, strangers to the blessing of Abraham, and subject to the curse of Noah. It grieved his parents that he married without their advice and consent. It grieved them that he married among those who had no religion. Children have little reason to expect God's blessing who do that which is a grief of mind to good parents.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 26

This chapter treats of Isaac's removal to Gerar, occasioned by a famine, Ge 26:1; of the Lord's appearance to him there, advising him to sojourn in that place, and not go down to Egypt; renewing the covenant he had made with Abraham, concerning giving that country to him and his seed, Ge 26:2-6; of what happened unto him at Gerar on account of his wife, Ge 26:7-11; of Isaac's great prosperity and success, which drew the envy of the Philistines upon him, Ge 26:12-15; of his departure from hence to the valley of Gerar, at the instance of Abimelech; and of the contentions between his herdsmen, and those of Gerar, about wells of water, which caused him to remove to Beersheba, Ge 26:16-23; of the Lord's appearance to him there, renewing the above promise to him, where he built an altar, pitched his tent, and his servants dug a well, Ge 26:24,25; of Abimelech's coming to him thither, and making a covenant with him, Ge 26:26-31; which place had its name from the oath then made, and the well there dug, Ge 26:32,33; and lastly, of the marriage of Esau, which was a great grief to Isaac and Rebekah, Ge 26:34,35.

Genesis 26 Commentaries

The Jubilee Bible

(from the Scriptures of the Reformation)

edited by Russell M. Stendal

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