Genesis Chapter 26
"Isaac's Journey to Gerar."
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
The famine that comes upon the land during Abraham's early life and recorded in Genesis 12, occurred approximately one hundred three years prior to this famine of Isaac's day. That famine forced Abraham to pack up his household and go down into Egypt. When Abraham entered Egypt, he feared for his life, because of Sarah's beauty, and told the people in Egypt that Sarah was not his wife, but his sister. So we see that Isaac is facing the same problems that his father did prior. This then is to set in your mind that it is not the same famine as talked about in chapter twelve.
Genesis 26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech King of the Philistines unto Gerar."
This is not the same Abimelech, king of the Philistines, that Abraham faced. It is the official name or title, much the same as you would say Pharaoh in Egypt. Though many critics say this is another recount of what happened to Abraham, only from another document, beware of them. This is now talking about a famine occurring in Isaac's day, and the prior famine forty years before to birth of Isaac.
Genesis 26:2 "And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, "Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:"
Genesis 26:3 "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;"
When this famine hit their land it was just after Esau had sold his birthright, and now the real hard times are coming upon the family of Isaac. Yet, God is telling Isaac, Don't go down there to Egypt, but stay here in the land of the Canaanites [Philistines], and I will give thee the land. God is saying to Isaac, I made a promise to you [an oath], and I am able to keep My oath to you.
Genesis 26:4 "And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;"
Why would this be? Because it would be through this seed, eighteen hundred years later, that our Savior Jesus Christ would come. It is through Christ that all nations of the world are blessed. This actually has a double promise, the first is that nations will be formed out of the generations of Isaac. Secondly will be the wealth and concern that all the world nations throughout the years would rely on, and be are blessed from the seed future generations of Isaac.
It is for this reason that Satan has attacked God's people, and the bloodline that the Messiah would come through, and since Christ's birth, death and resurrection, Satan has continued to attack through his offspring, the Kenites. When the hard times come, Satan will use those time to try to turn you against God.
When the famine started to come, and the venison and wild life became hard to get, look how it destroyed Esau. He turned his back on God and his birthright, at the first hardship that came.
Genesis 26:5 "Because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
Note the number of times that "My" is used in this verse. It is used five times, and the number "five" in biblical numerics stands for "grace". God's grace is given unto each of us, just as it was given to Isaac, if you abide in His word, love Him did so things God's ways. Though we may never be tested like Abraham was tested, God will allow certain things to come before us to see how we have learned to apply and trust in His word. When we fail in those test, it is time to repent, and reset our course in life to be in tune with His word, and keep on going.
God's "voice" is written in his word by the prophets, God's charge is that we read and trust what He says He will do, and His commandments, statutes, and laws are still in force and to be followed as a guide to us, for a long and fruitful life. Though the blood sacrifices have been eliminated by and through the shedding of Jesus Christ's death on the cross, the rest of them are what our laws of the land are based upon, that we may all live a long and peaceful life.
They do not provide any part of our salvation, but are the foundation of our Christian living, for only by our belief in Jesus Christ, and claiming the precious blood of our Savior can we ever have the right of forgiveness before the throne of our Almighty Father. It is through your repentance for the sin in your life, in Jesus' name, that you will be forgiven.
Gemesis 26:6 "And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:"
Genesis 26:7 "And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, "She is my sister:" for he feared to say "She is my wife;" lest said he, "The men of the place should kill me for Rebekah;" because she was fair to look upon."
This is exactly what happened a hundred years earlier with father Abraham, for Rebekah came from the same lineage as that of her mother-in-law Sarah, and just like Sarah, Rebekah was a beautiful woman. However, keep in mind, Isaac thought he was going to help God with a little white lie.
Genesis 26:8 "And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife."
When King Abimelech saw Isaac and Rebekah caressing each other, as a man and his wife who care for each other do, he knew that this wasn't a brother and sister relationship. Abimeleck knew that Rebekah was definitely a married woman.
Genesis 26:9 "And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, "Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, "Because I said lest I die for her."
This king Abimelech can remember what his father told him about Isaac's father Abraham, and the time when all females in the land became barren, when Sarah was taken under the same situation. Abraham had also represented his wife to be his sister. Abimelech wanted to get to the bottom of it all.
Genesis 26:10 "And Abimelech said, "What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldst have brought guiltiness upon us."
Abimelech remembered the anger of the God of Abraham and Isaac, where He made every female barren, and every male impotent throughout his nation, man and animal alike. Considering the fact that the wealth of any nation is its children, and it's food supply of cattle; this act would end Abimelech's nation if he had taken Rebekah. Abimelech did not want any part of God's curses.
Genesis 26:11 "And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, "He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death."
Genesis 26:12 "Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him."
There is a famine going on in the entire land, yet God told Isaac to stay in the land of the Philistines, and plant. Now that there is no fear for his life, Isaac is comfortable in the land. God blessed Isaac's land and his crop, and with a hundredfold return on Isaac's seed, you would never know the land was in a famine.
Genesis 26:13 "And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:"
When you do it God's way, you will prosper. Some people measure their prosperity in earthly wealth, while others consider the teaching of God's word, or even children as their prosperity. When God gives you a promise, there will be blessings coming to you, because you took God at His word, and applied it to your life.
Genesis 26:14 "For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him."
"Envy" is at the root of most trouble and conflicts. However, these Philistines have a good idea who is the cause of Isaac success, for they have seen and tasted of Isaac's God's power. They know what will happen when they anger the Living God, by bring harm to this man.
Genesis 26:15 "For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth."
After Abraham had left this area years prior, the Philistines came in and filled all the wells up with dirt, because they did not want the wells there.
Genesis 26:16 "And Abimelech said unto Isaac, "Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we."
King Abimelech saw the trouble that was starting from envy caused by the prosperity of Isaac, when the Philistines were struggling through this famine. So Abimelech is requesting that Isaac take his wealth and household, and leave.
Genesis 26:17 "And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there."
Genesis 26:18 "And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which thy had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them."
Isaac is a meek character, and does not seek trouble. He knows that God will bless him where ever he goes. In returning to the land in the valley of Gerar, where Abraham lived and died, Isaac's men reopened the wells of his father. Isaac then kept the old names of the wells, once they were opened.
Genesis 26:19 "And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water."
Spring water is flowing water, and is also called living water.
Genesis 26:20 "And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, "The water is ours:" and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him."
"Esek" in the Hebrew tongue means "strife or contention".
Genesis 26:21 "And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah."
"Sitnah" in the Hebrew means "Hated or opposition".
Genesis 26:22 "And he removed from thence and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, "For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."
Isaac and his household kept moving over, and digging more wells until there was no more strife. Then this last well Isaac called "Rehoboth", which means "roominess, or room".
Genesis 26:23 "And he went up from thence to Beer-sheba."
Once everything is at peace with his neighbors, Isaac went back to "Beer-sheba", which means "the well of the oath". This is the place where Abraham had offered seven lambs on the altar, after God had given him the promises. It is also the well that Hagar and Ishmael had stopped, and expected to die; and then God opened her eyes, and allowed Hagar to see the well and sparred their lives. This is the place where God made a covenant with Hagar that through Ishmael would come many nations, and they would be blessed also, as recorded in Genesis 16:10.
Genesis 26:24 "And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, "I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for My servant Abraham's sake."
Our Heavenly Father always keeps his promises, and the covenant that He made with Abraham and Isaac, are still very much alive to each of us, if we claim our part to it. However, if you turn your back on that covenant, then Esau will become your example, for that is what you will become. A man that puts the trivial earthly things ahead of God.
Genesis 26:25 "And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well."
Genesis 26:26 "Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzah one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his Army."
Genesis 26:27 "And Isaac said unto them, "Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?"
Isaac is puzzled at their coming to him, after they had kept moving him over, and off his land. Then at last they just asked Isaac to pack up and leave. So, he asks them; What are you doing here?
Genesis 26:28 "And they said, "We saw certainly the the Lord was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with the;"
It took a little time for them to wake up, and see that Isaac was being blessed by God, and that God was with Isaac in all matters. There is a deeper meaning to this then appears on the surface. This is the location that God made his first oath, or Covenant with Abraham, and it was only the beginning of what will continue on throughout all generations, even to this day.
Genesis 26:29 That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent the away in peace: thou art now a blessed of the Lord."
These Philistines were wise enough to know that when someone is blessed by God, it is best to have a peace treaty with them, because in strife they would lose.
Genesis 26:30 "And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink."
Genesis 26:31 "And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace."
It is best to get along the best you can, if possible. Paul instructed us in Romans 12:17, and 18; "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Sometimes it is just not possible, however, when you can make the offer for peace, or it is extended to you and does not offend your relationship to our Heavenly Father, we are to live at peace with those around us.
Genesis 26:32 "And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, "We have found water."
It should be no surprise that water was found there, because Abraham also found water there This where God made the covenant, and Abraham offered the seven lambs to God, as we read in Genesis 21:28-31. We see here that it is a copy of what happened over one hundred years prior.
Genesis 26:33 "And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city Beer-sheba unto this day."
This is the same name that his father Abraham named this place, as it is recorded in Genesis 21:31.
Genesis 26:34 "And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Berri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:"
Genesis 26:35 "Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah."
Esau was the one that thought only of his own fleshly desires, married out of his people. This allows us to see all the more why God chose Jacob, over Esau; because Esau cared less of the promises of God, and the requirement to keep the lineage uncorrupted. Esau let his fleshly desires take priority over what Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all knew to be a taboo. The Hittites were a mixed breed, with both the Kenites, and the Nephilim [fallen angels], and this corruption in the bloodline would have spoiled the plan of God, and God would not have allowed that.
God knew the nature of Esau from before the time of conception, and this is why God told Malachi to write; "And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains [nations] and his heritage waste for the dragons [jackals] of the wilderness." Malachi 1:3
God loved Jacob, and it was Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel by God, that the Christ child would come through. God is in control of all of His children, when they are pleasing unto Him, and follow His Word. If you are pleasing to God, and striving to do thing His way, you will see how God will bless you.
Mankind use to build an altar and burn an animal on it to show there love to God. However, after Jesus came to earth and became that sacrifice, once and for all times. God doesn't want burnt dead animals any more, for your sacrifice, he wants your love. Peter told us how are sacrifices are to be in I Peter 2:5; "Ye also, as lively [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
We are the living stones of the altar of God, and our sacrifices are spiritual sacrifices that we give in living our lives in faith, and believing in Jesus Christ. We are the sacrifices that God wants, and it is our minds and attitudes, and actions that are the spiritual sacrifices that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
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