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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Genesis 26

 

 

Verses 1-35

Genesis 26. Isaac and the Philistines.—Apart from Genesis 26:34 f. this chapter belongs to J. The original has been expanded in Genesis 26:1-6, and Genesis 26:15; Genesis 26:18 are harmonistic insertions. Apart from Genesis 26:12-17 the incidents are parallel to incidents recorded of Abraham. On the relation to the earlier adventures of Sarah in Egypt and Gerar, see Genesis 26:20*. The incident is misplaced; obviously it is earlier than the birth of Esau and Jacob. The dispute about the wells and covenant with Abimelech are doublets of the similar events in Abraham's life.

Like Abraham, Isaac is forced to migrate by famine, but he goes to Gerar, not Egypt, whose king, like the king of Gerar in Genesis 26:20, is named Abimelech, but is styled "king of the Philistines." Yahweh bids him remain in the land and not remove to Egypt as his father had done, renewing to him the promise made to Abraham (Genesis 26:1-5). He passes off Rebekah as his sister, till the king surprises them in their connubialities and rebukes him for the guilt of unconscious adultery that his people might have incurred through his poltroonery. Although a semi-nomad, Isaac practises agriculture, as is to-day done by the Bedouin (at Beersheba among other places), and so successfully that seed produces a hundredfold, an exceptional but not an impossible yield (cf. Mark 4:8). His flocks, herds, and slaves multiply, the Philistines envy him, and the king bids him depart. His slaves discover water but the herdmen of Gerar contest the well with them, and similarly with a second well, and only with the third (Rehoboth) do they leave him in possession. This was probably at Ruhaibeh, about 20 miles SW. of Beersheba. He went from there to Beersheba, where, Yahweh appeared to him and renewed his promise, whereupon Isaac built an altar and invoked Yahweh's name. Thus the origin of Beersheba as a sanctuary is traced back to Isaac as well as to Abraham (Genesis 21:33). Abimelech, recognising Yahweh's blessing on Isaac, proposes a covenant which he accepts, and which is made by a feast and an oath. Learning the same day from his slaves of a well they had sunk there (cf. Genesis 26:25), he gives it the name Shibah (swearing), from which the city derived its name Beersheba, a variant of the account in Genesis 21:31.

The chapter closes with two verses from P about Esau's two Hittite wives, which prepare the way for Jacob's dispatch to his mother's family to secure a wife, since his parents are grieved that by intermarriage with the natives Esau should have tainted the purity of the stock.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Genesis 26:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/genesis-26.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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