Isaac and Abimelech
1There was a famine in the land. This had happened before, when Abraham was alive. Isaac went to Gerar to visit Abimelech. He was the king of the Philistines. 2The LORD appeared to Isaac. He said ‘Do not go to Egypt. Live in the land that I tell you to live in. 3Stay in this land for a time. And I will be with you. And I will bless you. I will give these lands to you and your descendants. I will say again the promise that I told your father Abraham. 4I will give you many descendants. They will be as many as the stars in the sky. And I will give these lands to them. Through your descendant, I will bless everyone on the earth. 5This will happen because of Abraham. He kept all my laws and obeyed me.’
6So Isaac stayed in Gerar. #26:6 Verse 5 – God will bless everyone on the earth by sending Jesus Christ.
7The men of Gerar asked Isaac about his wife. He said, ‘She is my sister.’ He was afraid to say ‘She is my wife.’ He thought ‘The men of Gerar may kill me. They may kill me because of Rebekah. They may kill me because she is beautiful.’ #26:7 See 12:11-14.
8Isaac stayed in Gerar for a long time. One day Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, looked down from his window. Abimelech saw Isaac touching his wife, Rebekah. #26:8 Abimelech saw that Isaac and Rebekah were married. He knew this by the way that Isaac touched Rebekah.
9Abimelech called Isaac to come to him. Abimelech said ‘She is your wife! Why did you say, “She is my sister”?’ Isaac replied ‘I thought that someone might kill me because of her.’ 10Abimelech said ‘What have you done to us? One of my men might have had sex with your wife. Then we would have done wrong.’ 11Abimelech told his people, ‘I will kill anyone who hurts this man.’
12Isaac planted crops in the land. They grew well. They grew to 100 times the amount that he planted. This was because the LORD blessed him. #26:12 The LORD kept his promise. He blessed Isaac because he did not go to Egypt. He blessed him, even when Isaac did not tell the truth to the Philistines about Rebekah. #26:12 Crops are plants. They can be any plants that people or animals eat.
13Isaac became rich. His riches continued to grow. Then Isaac became very rich. 14Isaac had many sheep, goats and cows. He also had many servants. He had so many that the Philistines became angry with him. They thought that he had more than they had. And they wanted what he had. That is why they were angry. 15When Abraham was alive, his servants had dug many wells. Now, the Philistines filled them in again. They did this because they did not want Isaac to get rich. 16Abimelech said to Isaac ‘You have become too powerful for us. Go and live away from us.’
17So Isaac moved away from that place. He put his tents in the Valley of Gerar. And he stayed there. 18Isaac dug the wells again. They were the wells that Abraham had dug. But the Philistines filled them with the ground. This happened when Abraham died. Isaac opened them. He gave them the same names as his father had given them. 19Isaac's servants dug in the valley. They found a well there. It was full of fresh water. 20But the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac's herdsmen. They said ‘The water belongs to us!’ So Isaac called the well Esek. He called it that because they quarrelled with him. #26:20 Herdsmen are people who keep cows and other animals safe. #26:20 Esek means quarrel.
21So Isaac's men dug another well. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled about that one. Isaac called that well Sitnah. #26:21 Sitnah means to go against someone.
22Isaac moved on from Sitnah. He dug another well. No one quarrelled with him about this well. He called it Rehoboth. He said ‘Now the LORD has given us space. We will have good things in this land.’ #26:22 Rehoboth means to have space or room.
23From that place, Isaac went to Beersheba. 24That night the LORD appeared to him. The LORD said ‘I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, because I am with you. I will bless you. I will give you many descendants because of my servant Abraham.’ #26:24 This is the promise that God gave to Abraham.
25Isaac built an altar. He called out to the LORD. He put his tent there. And his servants dug a well.
26During that time, Abimelech came to Isaac. He came from Gerar. He came with Ahuzzath his officer and with Phicol the officer of his army. #26:26 Abimelech is a name for all the kings of the Philistines. Phicol is a family name.
27Isaac asked them ‘Why have you come to me? You were like an enemy. And you sent me away.’ 28They replied ‘We saw that the LORD is with you. So we said to one another, “There should be a promise between us and you.” So, let us make a promise with you. 29Promise that you will not hurt us. We did not hurt you. We did only good to you. And we sent you away as friends. And now the LORD is blessing you.’ 30Then Isaac made a large meal for them. And they all ate and drank. #26:30 Eating a meal together showed that they all agreed to keep the promise.
31Early the next morning, they made a promise to each other. And Isaac sent them away. They left without fighting. 32The same day, Isaac's servants came to him. They told him about a well that they had dug. They said, ‘We have found water!’ 33Isaac called the well Shibah. And the name of the town is Beersheba. #26:33 Shibah means ‘promise’ or ‘7 (seven)’. #26:33 Beersheba means either ‘Well of the promise’ or ‘Well of seven’. #26:33 (In Genesis 21:28-31 Abraham gave Abimelech 7 (seven) sheep to show that he agreed to a promise.)
34When Esau was 40 years old, he got married. He married Judith. She was the daughter of Beer the Hittite. He also married Basemath. She was the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35This made Isaac and Rebekah very sad. #26:35 Abraham had wanted Isaac to marry a woman from his own relatives (see chapter 24). But Esau married women from the land that he lived in. At this time, he did not go back to his relatives to find a wife.