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Genesis Chapter 26
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Isaac and the Philistines
26:1 There was a famine in the land, aside from the first famine in the time of Abraham. Isaac went to Abimelekh king of the Philistines in Gerar.
26:2 God appeared to [Isaac] and said, 'Do not go down to Egypt. Remain undisturbed in the land that I shall designate to you.
26:3 Remain an immigrant in this land. I will be with you and bless you, since it will be to you and your offspring that I will give all these lands. I will thus keep the oath that I made to your father Abraham.
26:4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky, and grant them all these lands. All the nations on earth shall be blessed through your descendants.
26:5 All this is because Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My decrees, and My laws.'
26:6 Isaac thus settled in Gerar.
26:7 When the local men asked about his wife, he told them that she was his sister. He was afraid to say that she was his wife. Rebecca was so good-looking that the local men could have killed him because of her.
26:8 Once, after [Isaac] had been there for some time, Abimelekh, king of the Philistines, was looking out the window, and he saw Isaac enjoying himself with his wife Rebecca.
26:9 Abimelekh summoned Isaac. 'But she is your wife!' he said. 'How could you have said that she is your sister?'

'I was afraid that I would die because of her,' replied Isaac.

26:10 'What have you done to us?' demanded Abimelekh. 'One of the people could easily have slept with your wife! You would have made us commit a terrible crime!'
26:11 Abimelekh issued an order to all the people: 'Whoever touches this man or his wife shall die.'
26:12 Isaac farmed in the area. That year, he reaped a hundred times [as much as he sowed], for God had blessed him.
26:13 This was the beginning of his prosperity. He then continued to prosper until he became extremely wealthy.
26:14 He had flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, and a large retinue of slaves.

The Philistines became jealous of him.

26:15 They plugged up all the wells that his father's servants had dug while Abraham was still alive, and they filled them with earth.
26:16 Abimelekh said to Isaac, 'Go away from us. You have become much more powerful than we are.'
26:17 Isaac left the area and camped in the Gerar Valley, intending to settle there.
26:18 He redug the wells that had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, which had been plugged up by the Philistines after Abraham's death. He gave them the same names that his father had given them.
26:19 Isaac's servants then dug in the valley, and found a new well, brimming over with fresh water.
26:20 The shepherds of Gerar disputed with Isaac's shepherds, claiming that the water was theirs. [Isaac] named the well Challenge (Esek), because they had challenged him.
26:21 They dug another well, and it was also disputed. [Isaac] named it Accusation (Sitnah).
26:22 He then moved away from there and dug another well. This time it was not disputed, so he named it Wide Spaces (Rechovoth). 'Now God will grant us wide open spaces,' he said. 'We can be fruitful in the land.'
26:23 From there, [Isaac] went up to Beer-sheba.
26:24 God appeared to him that night and said, 'I am God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will bless you and grant you very many descendants because of My servant Abraham.'
26:25 [Isaac] built an altar there and called in God's name. He set up his tents there, and his servants dug a well in the area.
26:26 Abimelekh came to [Isaac] from Gerar, along with a group of friends and his general Pikhol.
26:27 'Why have you come to me?' asked Isaac. 'You hate me; you drove me away from you!'
26:28 'We have indeed seen that God is with you,' they replied. 'We propose that there now be a dread oath between you and us. Let us make a treaty with you,
26:29 that just as we did not touch you, you will do no harm to us. We did only good to you and let you leave in peace. Now you are the one who is blessed by God.'
26:30 [Isaac] prepared a feast for them, and they ate and drank.
26:31 They got up early in the morning, and made a mutual oath. Isaac then bid them farewell, and they left in peace.
26:32 On that very day, Isaac's servants came and told him about the well they had been digging. 'We have found water!' they announced.
26:33 [Isaac] named the well Shibah. The city is therefore called Beer-sheba to this very day.

Esau Marries
26:34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite.
26:35 [His wives] became a source of spiritual bitterness to Isaac and Rebecca.



Commentary:

first famine...
  Genesis 12:10. This chapter is the only place where we see Isaac without Abraham or Jacob, and it is here that we see Isaac's life literally as a carbon copy of Abraham's (see Genesis 26:18). While it had been Abraham's task to blaze spiritual trails, it was Isaac's mission to consolidate them.

Abimelekh
  Probably not the same as the one involved with Abraham; see note on Genesis 20:2. According to one source, this was the previous Abimelekh's son (Targum on 26:28).

Gerar
  See Genesis 20:1. It was on the boundary of the Holy Land, 10:19. From the context, it seems that Isaac was headed toward Egypt. This is difficult to understand, since Isaac lived in Beer LaChai Roi (Genesis 25:11), which is to the west of Gerar, on the way to Egypt. It is possible that Isaac went to Gerar because of Abraham's previous treaty (cf. Ramban). Alternatively, this is connected to the following sentence, and Isaac went to Gerar at God's command (Josephus, Antiquities 1:18:2). However, see note on Genesis 20:1.

stars of the sky
  See Genesis 15:5, 22:17.

shall be blessed...
  See Genesis 12:3, 22:18.

Gerar Valley
  Or Gerar Wadi (Saadia). A wadi is a stream or river that flows primarily during the rainy season. There is such a wadi connecting Gerar and Beer-sheba, flowing to the south. See note on Genesis 20:1.

Sitnah
  See Ezra 4:6. This has the same root as Satan.

Rechovoth
  There is a well known as Rehueibeh 20 miles southwest of Beer-sheba, equidistant between Beer-sheba and the site of Gerar. We thus see that Isaac was following the wadi from Gerar to Beer-sheba.

Pikhol
  Probably a title, see note on Genesis 21:22. This was some 75 years after Abimelekh and Pikhol had made a similar treaty with Abraham, Genesis 21:22-32.

Shibah
  Shivah in Hebrew. This is the masculine for seven, while Sheba (sheva) is the feminine. See note on Genesis 21:31. Some say that this was the well that Abraham dug in Beer-sheba (Genesis 21:25), which had been plugged up by the Philistines (Ramban), while others maintain that it was a new well (Rashbam).

Beer-sheba
  Abraham had given the name only to the well or the district (see Genesis 21:14), while Isaac gave it to the city that subsequently sprung up in the area (Radak). Moreover, Isaac's designation became the place's permanent name (Rabbi Menasheh ben Yisroel, Conciliator 48).

forty years old
  Emulating his father Isaac (Genesis 25:20; Bereshith Rabbah 65; Rashi).

Judith
  Yehudith in Hebrew, a name that subsequently became popular among Jews. Some say that Esau did not have any children by this Judith. Others identify her with Oholibamah in Genesis 36:2, (see Rashi ad loc.; Josephus, Antiquities 1:18:4).

Beeri
  The name is also found in Hosea 1:1.

Hittite
  See Genesis 10:15, 15:20, 23:5.

Basemath
  Some say that she was the Adah bath Elon in Genesis 36:2 (Ibn Ezra here, Rashi on Genesis 36:2. Also see Genesis 36:10, 13, 17). Some say that Esau's wives were from the land of Seir (Sefer HaYashar, p.73). The fathers of Esau's wives were great lords among the Canaanites (Radak; Josephus).





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