Genesis 26:1 “There was a famine in the land…Isaac went to Abimelech…”
Commentaries suggest the name Abimelech is a title rather than a name. Abraham had a covenant with an Abimelech of the Philistines earlier, so perhaps Isaac considered those in the town allies. I wonder if he was also considering moving on further south to Egypt since God will tell him not to.
2-5 God repeats the promise and covenant to Isaac that He has given to Abraham.
7 “…And he said, ‘She is my sister’…”
He’s pulling the same stunt his father did, twice. Seems he hadn’t learned the lesson of total trust with which his father also had problems. In his defense, he wasn’t born when his father did the same thing, so he didn’t have full benefit of the lesson. And as it appears that Abraham didn’t completely learn the lesson either, we can give Isaac some slack. God is being patient with him.
10 “What is this you have done to us?…”
I can imagine this Abimelech’s reaction. It’s possible he heard the stories of how his predecessor had a run in with Abraham over this same situation. Now, here is the son doing the same thing to him and his people. He’s not about to take any chances and tells everyone hands off Isaac’s stuff. Not the best witness to the ungodly of the land. I am impressed that Abimelech has respect for God Almighty even if He doesn’t worship Him. I wonder if the trouble early man had with God was that they had convinced themselves there were many gods. They seemed to have trouble understanding that God is the only true one, not just one of many.
17-22 “…Isaac dug again the wells…Philistines had stopped them up…servants dug…found a well…herdsmen of Gerar quarreled…they dug another well…quarreled over that one…dug another well…did not quarrel…the LORD has made room for us…”
God had so prospered Isaac, as He did Abraham, that the Philistines were envious of him and stopped up his wells out of spite. Interesting that Isaac didn’t fight over the wells, he just moved on a bit and dug others. After this had been done a couple of times, he finally reached a place where no one argued over his wells. He deemed it better to move and dig other wells than to continue a fight with the people. Sometimes we need to see our priorities clearly. I also wonder if God used this episode to get him to move away from the Philistines.
26 “Then Abimelech came…”
This Abimelech can see the hand of God moving as his predecessor did. He knows how God prospered Abraham. Now he’s seen God do the same for Isaac. Time for another covenant with this group of people that God so highly favors.
34-35 “…Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith…and Basemath…Hittite…grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah”
Esau took wives from the Canaanites instead of allowing his parents to find a wife for him apart from the idolatrous peoples. He may have been showing disrespect for them, their God, or both. It may also be that he simply didn’t care as he has already expressed the same lack of care for his birthright. At any rate, the decisions were grief to his parents. I’m sure they not only were dismayed by the strife created in the family, but also for the lack of interest Esau showed for the things of God.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.