Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 26

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-35


Now there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. [And like father, like son,] Isaac went to Abimelech the king of the Philistines unto Gerar ( Genesis 26:1 ).

Now, it was to Abimelech that Abraham went, but certainly not the same one that Isaac went to because this is a hundred years later, more than a hundred years later. So Abimelech was sort of a title of the king of the Philistines. And so Isaac went unto the land of the Philistines

And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Don't go down to Egypt; dwell in the land which I will tell thee of ( Genesis 26:2 ):

Now this is God's direct command: "Don't go down to Egypt. Dwell in the land I show you".

Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I'm gonna give these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham thy father. And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and I will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed ( Genesis 26:3-4 );

And so now God visits Isaac as he is going over to the land of the Philistines. God comes to him and visits and reiterates to Isaac the promise he had made to Abraham. The land is gonna be yours. I'm gonna multiply your seed, but then the heart of the thing is "through thy seed shall all of the nations of the earth be blessed". Not plural, but singular, referring to Jesus Christ; so the promise of the Messiah to comedown through Isaac. And thus, reiterated, the promise that he had made to Abraham, now that same covenant and promise is passed on to Isaac at this particular time in his life.

Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws ( Genesis 26:5 ).

So really it is because of Abraham that the promises come and Isaac is the beneficiary even of his father's faithfulness.

And Isaac dwelled at Gerar. Now the men of the place asked him about his wife; and he said [like I said, father like son], She's my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, the men of the place would kill me for Rebekah; because she was still beautiful to look upon. And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech the king of the Philistines looked out at the window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife [making love]. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is your wife: how is it that you said she is your sister? And Isaac said to him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. And Abimelech said, What is this you have done to us? one of the people might lightly have lien [have laid] with your wife, and you should have brought guiltiness upon us. And Abimelech charged all of his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death. Then Isaac sowed in the land, and received in the same year a hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him ( Genesis 26:6-12 ).

So the king put out a protective custody over him, saying no one was to touch him or his wife. And Isaac went out and sowed and planted and God blessed it and he reaped a hundredfold from his planting.

And Isaac waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had a possession of flocks, and a possession of herds, and a great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. For all of the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we ( Genesis 26:13-16 ).

So the same thing that happened to Abraham; they saw the blessing and the work of God upon his life and they became fearful of Abraham. And now Abimelech is doing the same thing concerning Isaac. Seeing the fact that God's hand is so much upon him and the greatness of his wealth and all, he became fearful and they asked him to leave.

And so Isaac departed from there, and he pitched his tent in the valley of Garer, and he dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called the names after the names which his father had called them. And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and they found there an artesian well. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well "Strife;" because they strove with him. And he digged another well, and they strove for that also: and so he called it contention; And so he removed from there, and he digged another well; and for that one they did not strive: and he called it roominess; for he said, The Lord has made room for all of us, and we will be fruitful in the land. So he went up from there to Beersheeba. And the Lord appeared unto him in the same night, and said ( Genesis 26:17-24 ),

Now again, God is appearing to him just like he appeared earlier as he returned. Now though,

I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake ( Genesis 26:24 ).

"Fear not, for I am with thee". The presence of God in our lives should be sufficient to dispel all fears. We only get frightened when we forget that God is with us. If you get all filled with fear and just all shook and upset, it means one thing: you've forgotten that God is with you. "Fear not", God said, "for I am with thee". How many times had God made that the basis of dispelling fear? "Fear not, for I am with thee". Be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will help thee. I will strengthen thee. Yea, I will hold thee by the right hand of my righteousness ( Isaiah 41:10 ). "The Lord is my helper" David cried "of whom shall I be afraid?" "Fear not, I am with thee", and for Abraham's sake I'm gonna bless thee.

And so Isaac built an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well. And then Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army [which is the title of the army general]. And Isaac said unto them, Hey why have you come to me, seeing you hate me, and you kicked me out. And they said, We have seen that the Lord is certainly with you: and we said, Let us now make a treaty between us, a covenant with you; That you will not hurt us, for we didn't touch you, and we have done nothing to you but good, and we have sent you away in peace: and now you're blessed of the LORD. And so he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. And they rose up in the morning, and swore one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had dug, and they said, We have found water. And so he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheeba unto this day. And Esau was forty years old when he took a wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief in the mind unto Isaac and Rebekah ( Genesis 26:25-35 ).

So Esau, forty years old now, and he married a couple of girls of the Canaanites from the Hittite tribe. And these girls were just a heartache to Rebekah and to Isaac. Probably were so imbued with the customs of their own culture, and all, and probably their own gods that they worshipped, that it was just a heartbreak for Rebekah and Isaac. There wasn't really good fellowship with these daughters-in-law. There was just too much diversity for them to be close and have a close fellowship. So they became sort of a burden and a heartache to Rebekah and Isaac. And that is why, one of the reasons why, they encouraged Jacob to go back and to get his bride from the family of Abraham, back in the area of Haran again. Because Esau's brides, they were just a mess, and brought no joy to Isaac and Rebekah. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 26". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/genesis-26.html. 2014.
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