Genesis 26

1 Forsooth for hunger rose on the land, after that barrenness that befelled in the days of Abraham, Isaac went forth to Abimelech, king of Palestines, in Gerar. (And another famine arose in the land, like the one which had come in Abraham's days, and Isaac went to Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, in Gerar.)
2 And the Lord appeared to him, and said, Go not down into Egypt, but rest thou in the land which I shall say to thee, (For the Lord had appeared to him, and said, Do not go down to Egypt, but rest thou in this land, where I tell thee to stay,)
3 and be thou a pilgrim therein; and I shall be with thee, and I shall bless thee; for I shall give all these countries to thee, and to thy seed, and I shall [ful]fill the oath which I promised to Abraham, thy father. (and live thou there; and I shall be with thee, and I shall bless thee; for I shall give all these lands to thee, and to thy descendants, and I shall fulfill the oath which I promised to thy father Abraham.)
4 And I shall multiply thy seed as the stars of (the) heaven(s), and I shall give all these countries to thine heirs, and all folks of the earth shall be blessed in thy seed, (And I shall multiply thy descendants like the stars of the night sky, and I shall give all these lands to thy heirs, and all the nations of the earth shall pray to be blessed as thy descendants be blessed/and through thy descendants I shall bless all the nations of the earth,)
5 for Abraham obeyed to my voice, and kept my behests, and my commandments, and my ceremonies, and my laws.
6 And so Isaac dwelled in Gerar.
7 And when he was asked of [the] men of that place of his wife (And when he was asked by the men of that place about his wife), he answered, She is my sister; for he dreaded to acknowledge that she was fellowshipped to him in matrimony, and he guessed lest peradventure they would slay him for the fairness of her.
8 And when full many days were passed, and he (had) dwelled there, Abimelech, king of Palestines, beheld by a window, and saw him playing with Rebecca, his wife. (And when they had lived there for many days, Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, looked out a window, and saw Isaac kissing his wife Rebecca.)
9 And when Isaac was called (to him), the king said, It is open, that she is thy wife; why saidest thou, that she was thy sister? Isaac answered, For I dreaded (For I was afraid), lest I should die for her.
10 And Abimelech said, Why hast thou deceived us? Some man of the people might do lechery with thy wife, and thou haddest brought in grievous sin on us. (And Abimelech said, Why hast thou deceived us? Some man of my people might have done lechery with thy wife, and then thou wouldest have brought in a grievous sin upon us.)
11 And the king commanded to all the people, and said, He that toucheth the wife of this man shall die by death.
12 Forsooth Isaac sowed in that land, and he found an hundredfold increase in that year (and he received a hundredfold increase that year); and the Lord blessed him.
13 And the man was made rich, and he went profiting and increasing, till he was made full great.
14 Also he had possessions of sheep and of great beasts, and full much of menials. For this thing Palestines had envy to him, (And he had possessions of sheep and of great beasts, and many servants and slaves. And because of this, the Philistines envied him,)
15 and they stopped in that time and filled with earth all the wells which the servants of Abraham his father had digged, (and so they stopped up, and filled with earth, all the wells which the servants of his father Abraham had dug,)
16 in so much that Abimelech himself said to Isaac (and finally Abimelech himself said to Isaac), Go thou away from us, for thou art made greatly mightier than we (be).
17 And he went away, that he should come to the strand of Gerar, and dwelled there. (And so he went away from that place, and came to the Gerar Valley, and lived there.)
18 And he digged again other wells, which the servants of Abraham his father had digged, and which the Philistines had stopped sometime, when Abraham was dead (and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died); and he called those wells by the same names, by which his father had called (them) before.
19 They digged in the strand (And they dug in the valley), and they found quick, or welling up, water.
20 But also strife of [the] shepherds of Gerar was there against the shepherds of Isaac, and they said, The water is ours; wherefore of that strife that befelled, Isaac called the name of that well False Challenge. (But the shepherds of Gerar also quarreled with Isaac's shepherds, and they said, This water is ours; and so for the strife that befell, Isaac called the name of that well Esek, or Quarrel.)
21 And they digged another (well), and they strived also for that, and Isaac called that well Enmities. (And they dug another well, and they also quarreled over that one, and Isaac called that well Sitnah, or Enmity.)
22 And he went forth from thence, and digged another well, for which they strived not, [and] therefore he called the name of that well Breadth, either Largeness; and said, Now God hath alarged us, and hath made us to increase on [the] earth. (And he went forth from there, and dug another well, which they did not quarrel over, and so he called the name of that well Rehoboth, or Broad Places; and he said, Now God hath enlarged us, and we shall be fruitful in this land.)
23 Isaac forsooth went up from that place into Beersheba, (And Isaac went up from that place to Beersheba,)
24 where the Lord appeared to him in that night; and said, I am [the] God of Abraham, thy father; do not thou dread (do not thou fear), for I am with thee, and I shall bless thee, and I shall multiply thy seed for (the sake of) my servant Abraham.
25 And so Isaac builded there an altar to the Lord; and when the name of the Lord was inwardly called, he stretched forth a tabernacle; and he commanded his servants that they should dig wells. (And so Isaac built an altar there to the Lord; and after he had inwardly called on the Lord's name, he pitched his tent there; and then he commanded his servants to dig a well.)
26 And when Abimelech, and Ahuzzath, (one of) his friends, and Phicol, [the] duke of knights (the leader of his soldiers), had come from Gerar to that place,
27 Isaac spake to them, (and said,) What came ye to me, a man whom ye have hated, and putted away from you? (Isaac said to them, Why have ye come to me, a man whom ye hate, and whom ye sent away from you?)
28 Which answered, We saw that God is with thee, and therefore we said now, An oath be betwixt us, and make we a covenant of peace, (And they answered, We saw that God was with thee, and so we said, Now let there be an oath between us, and make we a covenant of peace,)
29 (so) that thou do not any[thing of] evil to us, as we (have) touched nothing of thine, neither did that that hurted thee, but with peace we let go thee (but we let thee go away in peace), (and now thou art) increased by the blessing(s) of the Lord.
30 Therefore Isaac made them a feast; and after meat and drink, (And so Isaac made a feast for them; and after food and drink,)
31 they rose early, and swore each to (the) other; and Isaac let go them peaceably into their place. (they rose up early, and swore an oath to each other; and then Isaac let them go away in peace.)
32 Lo! forsooth in that day the servants of Isaac came, telling to him of the well which they had digged, and said, We have found water.
33 Wherefore Isaac called that well Abundance; and the name of the city was set Beersheba till into this present day. (And so Isaac called that well Shebah; and the city there is called Beersheba unto this present day.)
34 Esau forsooth forty years eld wedded two wives (And when Esau was forty years old he wedded two wives), Judith , the daughter of Beeri (the) Hittite, and Bashemath , the daughter of Elon, of the same place;
35 which both offended the soul of Isaac and of Rebecca. (and because both women were heathen, that offended, or greatly distressed, 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.

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

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.