Genesis 26

Isaac Settles in Gerar

1 Now there was 1a famine in the land, besides * the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to 2Abimelech king of the Philistines.
2 The LORD 3appeared to him and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; 4stay in the land of which I shall tell you.
3 "Sojourn in this land and 5I will be with you and 6bless you, for 7to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish 8the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.
4 "9I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and 10by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
5 because * Abraham 11obeyed * Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws."
6 So Isaac lived in Gerar.
7 When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, "12She is my sister," for he was 13afraid to say, "my wife," thinking, "the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is 14beautiful."
8 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.
9 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, 'I might die on account of her.' "
10 15Abimelech 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."
11 So Abimelech charged all the people, saying, "He who 16touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death."
12 Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold *. And 17the LORD blessed him,
13 and the man 18became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy;
14 for 19he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him.
15 Now 20all 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.
16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are 21too powerful for us."
17 And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there.

Quarrel over the Wells

18 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.
19 But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing water,
20 the herdsmen of Gerar 22quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac, saying, "The water is ours!" So he named * the well Esek, because they contended with him.
21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over it too, so he named * it Sitnah.
22 He moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named * it Rehoboth, for he said, "23At last * the LORD has made room for us, and we will be 24fruitful in the land."
23 Then he went up from there to 25Beersheba.
24 The LORD 26appeared to him the same night and said, "27I am the God of your father Abraham; 28Do not fear, for I am with you. I 29will bless you, and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant Abraham."
25 So he built an 30altar there and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac's servants dug a well.

Covenant with Abimelech

26 Then 31Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath and Phicol the commander of his army.
27 Isaac said to them, "32Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?"
28 They said, "We see plainly 33that 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,
29 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 34blessed of the LORD.' "
30 Then 35he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.
31 In the morning they arose early and 36exchanged oaths; then Isaac sent them away and they departed from him in peace.
32 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."
33 So he called it Shibah; therefore * the name of the city is 37Beersheba to this day.
34 When Esau was forty years old 38he married * Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite;
35 and 39they brought grief * to Isaac and 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.

Cross References 39

  • 1. Genesis 12:10
  • 2. Genesis 20:1, 2
  • 3. Genesis 12:7; Genesis 17:1; Genesis 18:1
  • 4. Genesis 12:1
  • 5. Genesis 26:24; Genesis 28:15; Genesis 31:3
  • 6. Genesis 12:2
  • 7. Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15; Genesis 15:18
  • 8. Genesis 22:16-18; Psalms 105:9
  • 9. Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17; Exodus 32:13
  • 10. Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:8
  • 11. Genesis 22:16
  • 12. Genesis 12:13; Genesis 20:2, 12
  • 13. Proverbs 29:25
  • 14. Genesis 12:11; Genesis 24:16; Genesis 29:17
  • 15. Genesis 20:9
  • 16. Psalms 105:15
  • 17. Genesis 24:1; Genesis 26:3; Job 42:12; Proverbs 10:22
  • 18. Proverbs 10:22
  • 19. Genesis 24:35; Genesis 25:5
  • 20. Genesis 21:25, 30
  • 21. Exodus 1:9
  • 22. Genesis 21:25
  • 23. Psalms 4:1; Isaiah 54:2, 3
  • 24. Genesis 17:6; Exodus 1:7
  • 25. Genesis 22:19
  • 26. Genesis 26:2
  • 27. Genesis 17:7, 8; Genesis 24:12; Exodus 3:6; Acts 7:32
  • 28. Genesis 15:1
  • 29. Genesis 22:17; Genesis 26:3, 4
  • 30. Genesis 12:7, 8; Genesis 13:4, 18; Psalms 116:17
  • 31. Genesis 21:22
  • 32. Judges 11:7
  • 33. Genesis 21:22, 23
  • 34. Genesis 24:31; Psalms 115:15
  • 35. Genesis 19:3
  • 36. Genesis 21:31
  • 37. Genesis 21:31
  • 38. Genesis 28:8; Genesis 36:2
  • 39. Genesis 27:46

Footnotes 32

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

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