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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 26

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1 THE land was stricken by a famine—not the earlier famine which happened in Abraham's time—and Isaac went to Abimelech the Philistine king at Gerar. 2The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt, but stay in this country as I bid you. 3Stay here and I shall be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I shall give all these lands, so fulfilling the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. 4I shall make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the heavens, and give them all these lands. All the nations of the earth will wish to be blessed as they are blessed, 5because Abraham obeyed me and kept my charge, my commandments, statutes, and laws.’

6Isaac settled in Gerar, and, 7when the men of the place asked questions about his wife, he told them that she was his sister, for he was afraid to say Rebecca was his wife, in case they murdered him because of her; for she was very beautiful. 8But when they had been there some considerable time, Abimelech the Philistine king looked down from his window and there was Isaac caressing his wife Rebecca. 9He summoned Isaac and said, ‘So she is your wife! What made you say she was your sister?’ Isaac answered, ‘I thought I should be put to death because of her.’ 10Abimelech said, ‘Why have you treated us like this? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and then you would have made us incur guilt.’ 11Abimelech warned all the people that whoever harmed this man or his wife would be put to death.

12Isaac sowed seed in that land, and the same year he reaped a hundredfold. The LORD had blessed him, 13and he became more and more wealthy, until he was very prosperous indeed. 14He had flocks and herds and many slaves, so that the Philistines were envious of him. 15They stopped up and filled with earth all the wells dug by the slaves in the days of Isaac's father Abraham. 18 a 26:15–19 Verse 18 transposed to follow 15. Isaac reopened the wells which were dug in the lifetime of his father Abraham and stopped up by the Philistines after his death. He called them by the names which his father had given them.

16Then Abimelech said to him, ‘Go, leave us; you have become too powerful for us.’ 17When Isaac left that place, he encamped in the wadi of Gerar, and stayed there. 19Then Isaac's slaves dug in the wadi and found a spring of running water, 20but the shepherds of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac's shepherds, claiming the water as theirs. He called the well Esek b 26:20 Esek: that is Difficulty. , because they made difficulties for him. 21His men then dug another well, but a quarrel arose over that also, so he called it Sitnah c 26:21 Sitnah: that is Enmity. . 22He moved on from there and dug another well; over that there was no dispute, so he called it Rehoboth d 26:22 Rehoboth: that is Roominess. , saying, ‘Now the LORD has given us room and our people will become more numerous in the land.’

23From there Isaac went up country to Beersheba; 24that same night the LORD appeared to him. ‘I am the God of your father Abraham,’ he said; ‘I am with you, so do not be afraid. I shall bless you and give you many descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.’ 25Isaac built an altar there and invoked the LORD by name. He pitched his tent, and there also his slaves dug a well.

26Abimelech came to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his friend and Phicol the commander of his army. 27Isaac said to them, ‘Why have you come here to me? You were ill-disposed towards me and sent me away from your midst.’ 28They answered, ‘We have realized that the LORD is with you, and we propose that the two of us should bind each other by oath and make a pact. 29You are to do us no harm, just as we have in no way molested you. We were always ready to do you a good turn and we let you go away peaceably. Now the LORD has prospered you.’ 30Isaac then gave a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31Early next morning they exchanged oaths, and after Isaac bade them farewell, they parted from him in peace. 32The same day Isaac's slaves came and told him about a well they had dug: ‘We have found water,’ they told him. 33He named the well Shibah e 26:33 Shibah: that is Oath. ; this is why the city is called Beersheba f Beersheba: that is Well of an Oath. to this day.

34When Esau was forty years old he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite; 35this was a source of bitter grief to Isaac and Rebecca.

Notes:

a 26:15–19 Verse 18 transposed to follow 15.

b 26:20 Esek: that is Difficulty.

c 26:21 Sitnah: that is Enmity.

d 26:22 Rehoboth: that is Roominess.

e 26:33 Shibah: that is Oath.

f Beersheba: that is Well of an Oath.

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