Genesis 26 – God’s Promise to Isaac

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.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

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Genesis 25 – Abraham’s Death and the Birth of Esau and Jacob

Genesis 25 brings us to Abraham’s death, after a long life. He had taken another wife, had many other sons, and gave them gifts. But verse 5 makes it clear that Isaac was his main heir, as God intended.  Abraham died at an old age and was buried with Sarah.  Notice verse 9 says that Isaac and Ishmael buried him in that cave.  Nothing is said in scripture about Abraham having a relationship with Ishmael after Hagar and he left, but there obviously was contact of some type between Ishmael and his family.  Verse 18 finishes with Ishmael’s death after having 12 sons who were princes as the Lord had promised.

Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins and verse 22 says they “struggled” within her.  Note God’s explanation to her in verse 23.  Do you think that had anything to do with Jacob becoming her favorite?  Notice that in verse 26, Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob and Esau were born.  Doing the math, that means they were born 15 years before Abraham died (v 7- Abraham died age 175. and in Gen 21:5 – Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born).  So Abraham must have known these two grand-children.

The first-born (even by no more than a heel – v 26) had a privilege of birthright – a double portion of inheritance – which Esau sells to Jacob for a plate of stew!  Esau did not respect his birthright, and Jacob used that knowledge to get what he wanted.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 24 – Isaac and Rebekah

Moving on to Genesis 24, Sarah has died and Abraham is very old.  He makes his oldest servant swear an oath not to let his son take a wife from the land of Canaan, where they still live (the Canaanites are already known to be wicked).  He tells him instead to go back to “his country” and bring a wife back for Isaac. Abraham has not been back to “his country” (in northern Mesopotamia) in nearly 100 years, but that is where his relatives are still, and where he wants Isaac’s wife to come from.  The servant is instructed not to take Isaac back there, though.  God had promised the land where he is now to Abraham’s offspring, and that is where he wants him to stay.

Before the servant left, Abraham had told him that an angel of the Lord will be with him as he chooses the wife.  Take note of the prayer and the faith of Abraham’s servant in vv 11-14, and in vv 26-27.  Abraham obviously had a profound influence on him. We may not know how the way that we live in the presence of others impacts them, but we can be sure they usually take note.  We should strive to act as though the salvation of others depends on how we conduct our lives.

Rebekah (the same one from the genealogies we read in chapter 22) is the woman who will return to Canaan to become Isaac’s wife.  Her brother, Laban, appears to be in charge or perhaps just assisting an ill? father, Bethuel (vv 30-33, and 53).  He will still  play a part in the story of these people later.  Read verse 67 again, and think about the attitude today of most people toward love and marriage. What can we learn from this?

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 22 – The Sacrifice of Isaac

The Testing of Abraham

Contrary to some previous chapters, Genesis 22 shows us that Abraham has really come to trust the Lord.  This is a hard chapter for many to understand. It should be pointed out, especially to children, that God never would have allowed Isaac to be harmed because it is against His very nature (one might even wonder if that certainty was actually part of Abraham’s faith). God finds the sacrifice of humans, especially children (a practice common to worshiping the idol Moloch), to be an abomination; and he makes that clear in other scripture.  Lev 18:21 and 2 kings 23:10 are two of many verses we can refer to.

It is hard to miss the irony of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his only son for God. The second half of God’s promise to him afterward is of an offspring of Abraham in whom all nations will be blessed.  That is Jesus, His only son, who He sacrificed for us. That offspring is referred to in Galatians 3:16-28, when Paul is explaining how we are all heirs to this promise. Reading that passage right after this chapter is enlightening. The genealogies of the last couple of verses may seem irrelevant until we read chapter 24.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 21 – The Birth of Isaac

Genesis 21

In Genesis 21, God has fulfilled His promise to Abraham. Sarah has borne him a son, and Abraham has named him Isaac, as God told him in chapter 17. Isaac means “he laughs” (remember Sarah and Abraham laughing at the idea of people so old having a child in 17:17 and 18:12?). Whatever you sow, that also you reap, and Abraham’s earlier mistake with Hagar brings unhappiness. Sarah has weaned Isaac, and finds Ishmael laughing (the Hebrew suggests laughing as in mockery). She wants Hagar and the boy to leave, which displeases Abraham. But God tells him to do as she says, and he sends Hagar and Ishmael on their way with some food and water into the wilderness.

Beginning in verse 15, understanding has been a little difficult for me, but here is how I have sorted it out. In chapter 18, Abraham was 99 years old when Ishmael was circumcised at the age of thirteen. Isaac was born when he was 100 years old (21:5) So Ishmael was 14 then. The weaning of Isaac in verse 8 could have taken place at the age of two or even three years. So Ishmael would be 16 or possibly even 17 years old when they left.

After they leave, verse 15 says that when the water was gone, she put the boy under a bush. From the text that follows, she clearly expected him or both of them to die. The text does not say so, but it seems likely that Ishmael was either sick or weak from lack of water and food or both. God heard the voice of the boy – v 17- and her crying (Ishmael means “God hears”) and told her not to be afraid because He was going to make Ishmael a great nation – a promise He kept, of course. His Arab descendants are plentiful. When God opened her eyes there was a well of water.  The boy became an expert with the bow and took a wife from Egypt.

Abraham made a treaty with Abimilech after a disagreement over a well, that they would deal fairly with each other. God was still taking care of him. Abimilech and his army returned to the land they came from.  The place of the treaty was named Beersheba in verse 31.

(Side note: Here is an  interesting article about Beersheba.)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 20 – Abraham and Abimelech

Genesis 20

In chapter 20, Abraham and Sarah have left “the Oaks of Mamre” at Hebron, and have gone north to Gerar. God’s word does not tell us why they have relocated. But again, Abraham tells people (including Abimilech, the king of Gerar) that Sarah is his sister. Verse 5 tells us that Sarah had said that Abraham is her brother, so (as we have already seen) the two are not strangers to this lie. Abraham still has not learned to trust God. So the king took Sarah. But God has other plans, and appears to Abimilech in a dream and tells him he is a dead man for doing this because Abraham is a prophet (a reference to Abraham that we read for the first time). This got Abimilech’s attention, and he promptly returns Sarah to her husband.

Abimilech is not happy with Abraham for putting him in this position, and Abraham makes a half-baked excuse for it (verse 12). God has dealt strongly with Abimilech and his house; and after receiving the king’s generosity, Abraham prays for them and they are healed (vv 17-18).  But Abraham learns two things from this – that God is taking care of him, and that jumping to conclusions and judging people as evil before even knowing them (verse 11) is wrong.  We should learn these two things as well.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 19 – God Rescues Lot and Destroys Sodom

Genesis 19

Genesis 19 begins with “the two angels” coming to Sodom. Are these the two that were with the Lord when he visited Abraham in chapter 18? That seems likely. The Lord certainly would not go into the presence of such sin. Notice the depravity of the men who surround Lot’s home seeking to sexually assault the visitors. Even when stuck blind, they are still groping for the door. Lot offers his own daughters to them in an effort to appease them! This great fatherhood he is sowing will reap its reward.

Note how patient God is with Lot, granting his request to go to another city after being told to flee to the hills – and he is practically dragged out to safety before the destruction starts. The fact that nobody listened to Lot when he tried to convince them probably says as much about the kind of life he led as does the fact that he was living right in the middle of all the wickedness.

After all is done, Lot doesn’t even trust the Lord enough to remain in the city he fled to, but takes his daughters and lives in a cave.  Then they turn his sin back on him when they realize their hope of bearing children is probably gone. They get him drunk, and end up bearing his children, who explain the origin of the Moabites and the Ammonites (vv 37-38).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 18 – Abraham Intercedes for Sodom

Genesis 18

You could study Genesis 18 several times and get material for a different Bible class out of it each time. First, there are the three visitors Abraham gets, and his knowledge that the Lord has come calling. We know that one of them is the Lord, and Abraham quickly comes to realize it, but we wonder about the other two. Are they simply angelic beings that are accompanying him? Is one of them the son of God? We don’t know, and as Moses wrote this, he did not have divine instruction to elaborate. Abraham makes haste to bring them a “morsel of bread” – which ends up being a freshly killed and prepared calf, and cakes from three seahs of flour he has Sarah prepare. A seah is said to be roughly 7 quarts! Then after they ate, the Lord makes His promise again that when He returns the next year, Sarah will bear him a son, which provokes an interesting exchange.

The rest of the chapter is about God’s displeasure and plans for dealing with the wickedness at Sodom, which He shares with Abraham. Why does God tell Abraham what He is about to do? His word tells us exactly why in verses 18-19. The Lord has “chosen” him and made Him His in the deepest manner. So much so that He is going to bless all the nations of the earth through him, and He wants him and those after him to do righteousness and justice. God’s visit to His friend (for that is a big part of what Abraham is to Him) was out of His concern and desire to instruct. What God has planned for Sodom is terrible, but He cares enough to tell him first and have his people learn from it.

What follows is the famous bargaining session between Abraham; and that ends with God promising He would not destroy it if He can find 10 righteous people there. Think about how just a few righteous people in the right place can make a difference.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 17 – Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision / Isaac’s Birth Promised

Genesis 17

Another very important chapter in the Bible. God continues his promises to Abram, and he changes his name to Abraham because he will be the “father of a multitude of nations.”  Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah, and God promises that she will bear him a son the next year. God also establishes the practice of circumcision, stating that every male will be circumcised at the age of 8 days. That very day, Abraham and all his household were circumcised as a sign of his covenant with God. Abraham’s immediate obedience is noteworthy.

(Side note: There is an interesting article on the significance of the 8th day at the website of Apologetics Press).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 16 – Sarai and Hagar

Genesis 16

Abram and Sarai had been settled in Canaan for 10 years and were still childless. Notice verse 2 where Sarai does what people still all too often want to do – blame God for things in their life not being as they think they should be right now. So Sarai decides that since God isn’t doing things to suit her, she will take care of matters for Him.  This didn’t work out well then, and it doesn’t work out when we try to do it now. Sarai “gives” Abram her servant (Hagar), so she can conceive a child. That part succeeds, but when she becomes pregnant, Hagar “looks down” upon Sarai, and this is predictably unwelcome.

So Abram follows Adam’s example of bad leadership, and  dumps the problem back in Sarai’s lap for her to do “as she pleases.”  What pleases her is to tell Hagar to take a hike.  Hagar flees, alone and pregnant, into the wilderness. There, an angel of the Lord appears and  sends her back promising to make her offspring too numerous to count. She is to name her child Ishmael (which means “God hears”), and is told that he will be a”a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”  And indeed, Ishmael will be the father of what we know as the Arab nation.

Abram clearly still has much to learn, and God is not pleased with his actions.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert