Genesis 26

1 And there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine, which was in the time of Abraam; and Isaac went to Abimelech the king of the Phylistines to Gerara.
2 And the Lord appeared to him and said, Go not down to Egypt, but dwell in the land, which I shall tell thee of.
3 And sojourn in this land; and I will be with thee, and bless thee, for I will give to thee and to thy seed all this land; and I will establish my oath which I swore to thy father Abraam.
4 And I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven; and I will give to thy seed all this land, and all the nations of the earth shall be blest in thy seed.
5 Because Abraam thy father hearkened to my voice, and kept my injunctions, and my commandments, and my ordinances, and my statutes.
6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerara.
7 And the men of the place questioned him concerning Rebecca his wife, and he said, She is my sister, for he feared to say, She is my wife, lest at any time the men of the place should slay him because of Rebecca, because she was fair.
8 And he remained there a long time, and Abimelech the king of Gerara leaned to look through the window, and saw Isaac sporting with Rebecca his wife.
9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said to him, Is she then thy wife? why hast thou said, She is my sister? And Isaac said to him, , for I said, Lest at any time I die on her account.
10 And Abimelech said to him, Why hast thou done this to us? one of my kindred within a little had lain with thy wife, and thou wouldest have brought ignorance upon us.
11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying Every man that touches this man and his wife shall be liable to death.
12 And Isaac sowed in that land, and he found in that year barley and hundred-fold, and the Lord blessed him.
13 And the man was exalted, and advancing he increased, till he became very great.
14 And he had cattle of sheep, and cattle of oxen, and many tilled lands, and the Phylistines envied him.
15 And all the wells which the servants of his father had dug in the time of his father, the Phylistines stopped them, and filled them with earth.
16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, Depart from us, for thou art become much mightier than we.
17 And Isaac departed thence, and rested in the valley of Gerara, and dwelt there.
18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water, which the servants of his father Abraam had dug, and the Phylistines had stopped them, after the death of his father Abraam; and he gave them names, according to the names by which his father named them.
19 And the servants of Isaac dug in the valley of Gerara, and they found there a well of living water.
20 And the shepherds of Gerara strove with the shepherds of Isaac, saying that the water was theirs; and they called the name of the well, Injury, for they injured him.
21 And having departed thence he dug another well, and they strove also for that; and he named the name of it, Enmity.
22 And he departed thence and dug another well; and they did not strive about that; and he named the name of it, Room, saying, Because now the Lord has made room for us, and has increased us upon the earth.
23 And he went up thence to the well of the oath.
24 And the Lord appeared to him in that night, and said, I am the God of Abraam thy father; fear not, for I am with thee, and I will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for the sake of Abraam thy father.
25 And he built there an altar, and called on the name of the Lord, and there he pitched his tent, and there the servants of Isaac dug a well in the valley of Gerara.
26 And Abimelech came to him from Gerara, and so did Ochozath his friend, and Phichol the commander-in-chief of his army.
27 And Isaac said to them, Wherefore have ye come to me? whereas ye hated me, and sent me away from you.
28 And they said, We have surely seen that the Lord was with thee, and we said, Let there be an oath between us and thee, and we will make a covenant with thee,
29 that thou shalt do no wrong by us, as we have not abhorred thee, and according as we have treated thee well, and have sent thee forth peaceably; and now thou art blessed of the Lord.
30 And he made a feast for them, and they ate and drank.
31 And they arose in the morning, and swore each to his neighbour; and Isaac sent them forth, and they departed from him in safety.
32 And it came to pass in that day, that the servants of Isaac came and told him of the well which they had dug; and they said, We have not found water.
33 And he called it, Oath: therefore he called the name of that city, the Well of Oath, until this day.
34 And Esau was forty years old; and he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beoch the Chettite, and Basemath, daughter of Helon the Chettite.
35 And they were provoking to Isaac and Rebecca.

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.

Footnotes 4

Chapter Summary


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 Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.