Genesis 26 begins with the fact that there was famine in the land, and the writer (Moses) in the first few verses is referring also to the famine that in chapter 12 had Abraham venturing into Egypt. In v 2-3, the Lord tells Isaac not to go to Egypt, but to stay in the land that He has promised to Abraham and his offspring. God repeats that promise to Isaac in v 3-5.
Isaac and Abimelech
Isaac settles in Gerar, and in verse 7, he tells the same lie about his wife Rebekah that Abraham had told about Sarah. Abimilech finds out (might he have been a bit suspicious to start with?), and he is not happy about it. The Lord is taking care of Isaac as He did his father (v 12-13), and Abimilech sees his wealth and the envy his people have for Isaac, and decides it is time for him to move on. So he went to Beersheba, where the Lord repeats His promise to him (v 24).
Abimilech can see God’s blessings on him, and so he comes to see Isaac with his commander of the army and his adviser, and makes a pact with him. They exchange oaths that they will do each other no harm. That day, his men tell him of the well they have dug that has found spring water. He names it “Shibah,” which sounds like the Hebrew for “oath,” and the city is thereafter known as Beersheba. Meanwhile, verse 34 tells us that his oldest son, Esau, has married two women of the land of Canaan. Chapter 25 makes a point to tell us that Isaac loved Esau, so how this must have broken his heart; and indeed, verse 35 says that they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.
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