1 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, to Gerar. 2 Yahweh appeared to him, and said, “Don’t go down into Egypt. Live in the land I will tell you about. 3 Live in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For I will give to you, and to your offspring,* all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 4 I will multiply your offspring† as the stars of the sky, and will give all these lands to your offspring.‡ In your offspring§ will all the nations of the earth be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my requirements, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
6 Isaac lived in Gerar. 7 The men of the place asked him about his wife. He said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “My wife”, lest, he thought, “the men of the place might kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to look at.” 8 When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was caressing Rebekah, his wife. 9 Abimelech called Isaac, and said, “Behold, surely she is your wife. Why did you say, ‘She is my sister?'”
Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die because of her.'”
10 Abimelech 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 on us!”
11 Abimelech commanded all the people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife will surely be put to death.”
12 Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year one hundred times what he planted. Yahweh blessed him. 13 The man grew great, and grew more and more until he became very great. 14 He had possessions of flocks, possessions of herds, and a great household. The Philistines envied him. 15 Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped, and filled with earth. 16 Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go from us, for you are much mightier than we.”
17 Isaac departed from there, encamped in the valley of Gerar, and lived there.
18 Isaac dug again the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father. For the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham. He called their names after the names by which his father had called them.19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. 20 The herdsmen of Gerar argued with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” He called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him.21 They dug another well, and they argued over that, also. He called its name Sitnah. 22 He left that place, and dug another well. They didn’t argue over that one. He called it Rehoboth. He said, “For now Yahweh has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”
23 He went up from there to Beersheba. 24 Yahweh appeared to him the same night, and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your offspring** for my servant Abraham’s sake.”
25 He built an altar there, and called on Yahweh’s name, and pitched his tent there. There Isaac’s servants dug a well.
26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath his friend, and Phicol the captain of his army. 27 Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me, and have sent me away from you?”
28 They said, “We saw plainly that Yahweh was with you. We said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, even between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, as we have not touched you, and as we have done to you nothing but good, and have sent you away in peace.’ You are now the blessed of Yahweh.”
30 He made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 They rose up some time in the morning, and swore to one another. Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. 32 The same day, Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.” 33 He called it Shibah.†† Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba‡‡ to this day.
34 When Esau was forty years old, he took as wife Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They grieved Isaac’s and Rebekah’s spirits.
Thoughts for the Day
In the land of Isaac, the land becomes baron, and he is instructed by God to move his family. God leads Isaac to the land of the Philistines ruled by Abimelech. God gives Isaac a clear promise Verse 4; “I will multiply your offspring† as the stars of the sky, and will give all these lands to your offspring”. True to his family tradition, proving the “Nut does not fall from the tree.” Isaac upon meeting King Abimelech tells the king, Rebekah is not his wife, but his sister in fear that he would be killed for her.
This time, maybe because Abimelech is a bit older, he did not send for the beautiful woman to be made his wife, and does not have a run in with God over her. This time, Abimelech is just going about his daily duty, and happens to notice them doing things that brothers and sisters should not do (Couples should not make out in public! Makes everyone queasy ). My guess is that Abimelech had an immediate flash back of Abraham, and his story about Sarah being his sister. Abimelech, immediately confronts Isaac, and makes him level with him. Abimelech does the right thing, and orders Isaac and Rebekah to be left alone. Isaac was allowed to live and do business there until his company grew so strong that the people saw him as a potential security threat and asked him to leave.
Isaac moved his family to the valley of Gerar. This where Abraham lived for a quite some time and dug the wells in our previous chapters. While they were away, the Philistines filled in all of Abraham’s wells, so Isaac’s company had to dig them out once again. Every time they would dig one out, the local would claim it for themselves, the only way to keep the well, would be via violence, so they moved on.
Finally after much work being lost and kept wondering in the land; Isaac heard the voice of God; verse “24 Yahweh appeared to him the same night, and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your offspring”. So they stopped in Beersheba and dug a well, found water, and built an altar in thanksgiving to God.
Abimelech, became nervous about the prosperity of Isaac and brought his captains out to make a treaty with him stating that he will not attack them. Isaac had no intention of harming the Philistines, so this was a non event, and the treaty was sealed with a party.
Just as every parent fears for their child’s decisions Isaac and Rebekah feared for their boys. Esau exercised very poor judgment at 40 years, and married of all things, a Hittite women named Judith. Isaac and Rebekah’s spirits were greatly vexed.
Well, again another chapter in our ancient history with lots of twists, showing us how our predecessors were no better than we are today with integrity, and wisdom. The people we are learning about here, though not perfect in character, loved God, listened to God, did what he said when he said it, but like all of us required a lifetime to fully trust him.
The days of our lives may be dark, but God has promised us a glorious future to those who believe until the end. We may have to die before we see God’s work in our lives, and to receive our treasure in Christ. Abraham and Isaac, will not see the complete fulfillment of God’s promise to them until the resurrection, yet God was faithful in his promise. Again the rule is “Trust and Obey”.
Have a wonderful day, trust in the Lord, and know he is looking out for you.