Isaac and Abimelek
1Now there was a famine in the land – besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time – and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring#26:4 Or seed all nations on earth will be blessed,#26:4 Or and all nations on earth will use the name of your offspring in blessings (see 48:20) 5because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.’ 6So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
7When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, ‘She is my sister,’ because he was afraid to say, ‘She is my wife.’ He thought, ‘The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.’
8When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, ‘She is really your wife! Why did you say, “She is my sister”?’
Isaac answered him, ‘Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.’
10Then Abimelek said, ‘What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.’
11So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: ‘Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.’
12Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16Then Abimelek said to Isaac, ‘Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.’
17So Isaac moved away from there and camped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20But the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with those of Isaac and said, ‘The water is ours!’ So he named the well Esek,#26:20 Esek means dispute. because they disputed with him. 21Then they dug another well, but they quarrelled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.#26:21 Sitnah means opposition. 22He moved on from there and dug another well, and no-one quarrelled over it. He named it Rehoboth,#26:22 Rehoboth means room. saying, ‘Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.’
23From there he went up to Beersheba. 24That night the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.’
25Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
26Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal advisor and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27Isaac asked them, ‘Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?’
28They answered, ‘We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, “There ought to be a sworn agreement between us” – between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.’
30Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
32That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, ‘We’ve found water!’ 33He called it Shibah,#26:33 Shibah can mean oath or seven. and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.#26:33 Beersheba can mean well of the oath and well of seven.
Jacob takes Esau’s blessing
34When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.