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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 26

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

Verses 1-33

Isaac and Abimelech

Like his father before him, Isaac went to Gerar in a time of famine. God instructed him not to go down into Egypt and repeated the promise of the blessing. He lied about Rebekah by saying she was his sister, because he reasoned they would kill him for his beautiful wife. After quite some time, Abimelech the king "saw Isaac and his wife Rebecca laughing together" (New English Bible). The king chastised Isaac for lying about his wife, thereby endangering any man who might have tried to make her his wife. The king then commanded all his people not to harm Jacob or Rebekah ( Gen_26:1-11 ).

Because of God's blessing, Isaac prospered during his stay at Gerar. The Philistines began to envy him. Abimelech asked him to move away from the city. So, Isaac went into the valley. The Philistines had filled in the wells his father had dug years before. The herdsmen of Gerar contested his right to the first well, so he named it Esek, or quarrel. They also contested the second, so he named it Sitnah, or enmity. When he dug again the third, they left him alone. So, he named it Rehoboth, which means spaciousness. God had made room for him in the land.

Eventually, Isaac moved up to the place Israelites call Beersheba. The Lord appeared to him that night and renewed his promise. Isaac built an altar and worshipped God. Abimelech and his army commander, Phichol, came up to meet with him. Isaac asked why he had come when they had driven him away. They said they had seen God was with him. They wanted to solidify a peaceful relationship with the one God blessed. An agreement was reached and they departed in peace. On the same day, his servants reported they had found water in the well they were digging. The well was named Shebah, or well of the oath. Thus, the name Beersheba was born ( Gen_26:12-33 ).

Verses 34-35

Isaac Still Loved Esau More Than Jacob

Esau married two Hittite women. Both Isaac and Rebekah were troubled by his selection of a mates for life. After all, they did not worship the God of heaven. He might be led astray by their false worship. As William Cline noted in a lecture, "In so marrying wives from a people which God had cast off, Esau again furnished proof as to how thoroughly his heart was set upon earthly things" ( Gen_26:34-35 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Genesis 26". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/genesis-26.html. 2014.
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