Isaac and Abimelech
1 There was another famine in the land. This had happened before, when Abraham was alive. Now Isaac went to Gerar to visit Abimelech, the king of the Philistines. 2 The Lord appeared to Isaac. He said, ‘Do not go to Egypt. Instead, live in the land that I will show to you. 3 Stay in this land, and I will be with you. I will bless you. I will give these lands to you and your descendants. I made a strong promise to your father Abraham. I will make that promise become true. 4 I will give you many descendants. They will be as many as the stars in the sky. And I will give these lands to them. Because of your descendants, I will bless everyone on the earth. 5 This will happen because Abraham obeyed me. He obeyed all my laws and rules, and he did what I told him to do.’
26:4God made this promise become true when he sent Jesus Christ into the world. Through Jesus, God has blessed everyone on the earth.
6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
7 The men of Gerar asked Isaac about his wife. He told them, ‘She is my sister.’ He was afraid to say, ‘She is my wife.’ He thought that the men of Gerar might kill him because Rebekah was very beautiful.
8 Isaac stayed in Gerar for a long time. One day Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, looked down from his window. He saw that Isaac was kissing Rebekah. 9 Abimelech called Isaac to come to him. He said, ‘Rebekah is your wife! Why did you say, “She is my sister”?’ Isaac replied, ‘I thought that someone might kill me because of her.’
26:8Abimelech saw that Isaac and Rebekah were married.
10 Abimelech said, ‘You have done a bad thing against us! One of my men might have had sex with your wife. Then we would have been guilty of a bad sin.’ 11 So Abimelech told his people, ‘I will kill anyone who hurts this man, or his wife.’
12 Isaac planted crops in the land and they grew very well. They made 100 times the amount of food that he had planted. This was because the Lord blessed him.
26:12The Lord kept his promise. He blessed Isaac because he did not go to Egypt. He blessed him, even when Isaac did not tell the truth to the Philistines about Rebekah.
13 Isaac became rich. His riches continued to grow so that he became a very important person. 14 He had many sheep, goats and cows. He also had many servants in his house. He had so many servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. 15 So they took dirt from the ground and they filled up Isaac's wells. When Abraham was alive, his servants had dug these wells to get water.
16 Abimelech said to Isaac ‘You have become too powerful for us. Go and live somewhere else.’
17 So Isaac moved away from that place. He put his tents in the Valley of Gerar and he stayed there. 18 Isaac dug the dirt out of the wells that Abraham had dug. After Abraham died the Philistines had filled them with dirt. Isaac gave these wells the same names as his father had given them.
19 Isaac's servants went to dig in the valley. They found another well there. It was full of fresh water. 20 But the shepherds of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac's shepherds. They said, ‘The water belongs to us!’ So Isaac called that well Esek, because they quarrelled with him there.
26:20Esek means ‘quarrel’.
21 So Isaac's servants dug another well. But the shepherds of Gerar quarrelled about that one too. Isaac called that well Sitnah.
26:21Sitnah means ‘to be against someone’.
22 Isaac moved away from Sitnah and he dug another well. No one quarrelled with him about this well. So he called it Rehoboth. He said, ‘Now the Lord has given us a place to live. We will have many good things in this land.’
26:22Rehoboth means ‘to have space or room’.
23 From that place, Isaac went to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him. The Lord said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, because I am with you. I will bless you. I will give you many descendants because of my servant Abraham.’
25 Isaac built an altar there and he worshipped the Lord. He put up his tent there. His servants dug a well.
26 During that time, Abimelech came from Gerar to visit Isaac. He came with Ahuzzath his officer and with Phicol the leader of his army.
26:26Abimelech is a name for the kings of the Philistines. Phicol is a family name.
27 Isaac asked them, ‘Why have you come to me? You hated me and you sent me away from you.’ 28 They replied, ‘We saw that the Lord is with you. So we said to one another, “There should be an agreement between us and you.” So let us promise to be friends. 29 Promise that you will not hurt us. We did not hurt you. We did only good things for you. We sent you away as friends. Now the Lord is blessing you.’
30 Then Isaac made a large meal for them. And they all ate happily together. 31 Early the next morning, they promised each other to be friends. Then Isaac said ‘goodbye’ to them. They left as his friends.
26:30Eating a meal together showed that they all agreed to keep the promise.
32 The same day, Isaac's servants came to him. They told him about a well that they had dug. They said, ‘We have found water!’ 33 Isaac called the well Shibah. So the town is still called Beersheba.
26:33Shibah means ‘promise’ or ‘seven’. Beersheba means either ‘Well of the promise’ or ‘Well of seven’.
34 When Esau was 40 years old, he got married. He married Judith. She was the daughter of Beer the Hittite. He also married Basemath. She was the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 Esau's wives brought a lot of trouble to Isaac and Rebekah.
26:35Esau lived in Canaan. Esau married women from Canaan. He did not go back to his own relatives to find a wife.