|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
26:12-17 God blessed Isaac. Be it observed, for the encouragement of poor tenants who occupy other people's lands, and are honest and industrious, that God blessed him with a great increase. The Philistines envied Isaac. It is an instance of the vanity of the world; for the more men have of it, the more they are envied, and exposed to censure and injury. Also of the corruption of nature; for that is an ill principle indeed, which makes men grieve at the good of others. They made Isaac go out of their country. That wisdom which is from above, will teach us to give up our right, and to draw back from contentions. If we are wrongfully driven from one place, the Lord will make room for us in another.
Verse 12. - Then Isaac sowed in that land, - viz., Philistia. Though a distinct advance on the purely nomadic life pursued by Abraham, this did not imply fixed property in, or even permanent settlement on, the soil, "but only annual tenancy" thereof. Robinson (1. 77) mentions a colony of the Tawarah Arabs, about fifty families, living near Abu Zabel, in Egypt, who cultivated the soil and yet dwelt in tents. "The Biblical patriarchs were not mere Bedawin wanderers, like those who now occupy the Eastern deserts. They had large herds of cattle, which genuine Bedawins have not; they tilled the ground, which these robbers never do; and they accommodated themselves, without difficulty or reluctance, to town and city when necessary, which wild Arabs cannot endure" ('Land and Book,' p. 296) - and received in the same year an hundred-fold - literally, an hundred measures, i.e. for each measure of that which he sowed; an exceptional return even for Philistia, though "the country is no less fertile than the very best of the Mississippi Valley" ('Land and Book,' p. 557); and Arab grain stores at Nuttar-abu-Sumar, in the vicinity of Gaza, still proclaim the remunerative yield of its harvests (Robinson, vol. 1. p. 292). Herodotus (1. 193) speaks of two and three hundred-fold as having been reaped on the plain of Babylonia; but in Palestine the usual rate of increase was from thirty to a hundred-fold (vide Matthew 13:23). The reading "an hundred of barley" (LXX., Syriac, Michaelis) is not to be preferred to that in the Textus Receptus. And the Lord blessed him - as he had promised (ver. 3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then, Isaac sowed in that land,.... In the land of Gerar; after matters were settled between him and Abimelech, and he had ordered his servants to do him no hurt, he sowed wheat or barley, or some such grain:
and received in the same year an hundred fold; in which he sowed it, and which many take to be a year of famine; and so it was the more extraordinary, that there should be such a plentiful crop produced on Isaac's ground, when there was such barrenness elsewhere: but it does not seem likely that it should be the same year of famine in which Isaac came to Gerar, since he is said to have been them a "long time", Genesis 26:8; before this sowing and plenty upon it were. This increase is far from being incredible; for Pliny (d), besides instances he gives of an hundred fold, says, that in a field at Byzacium in Africa one bushel produced one hundred and fifty bushels; and from the same place, the deputy of Augustus there sent him from one grain very few less than four hundred, and to Nero three hundred stalks from, one grain. Herodotus (e) speaks of a country, near to the place where the Euphrates runs into the Tigris, on which the city Ninus was, which nowhere failed of producing two hundred fold, and the better sort of it even three hundred; see Matthew 13:23,
and the Lord blessed him; and prospered and succeeded all his endeavours; and this was the true reason of the fertility of the land he manured and sowed.
(d) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 10. (e) Clio sive, l. 1. c. 193.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. Then Isaac sowed in that land—During his sojourn in that district he farmed a piece of land, which, by the blessing of God on his skill and industry, was very productive (Isa 65:13; Ps 37:19); and by his plentiful returns he increased so rapidly in wealth and influence that the Philistines, afraid or envious of his prosperity, obliged him to leave the place (Pr 27:4; Ec 4:4). This may receive illustration from the fact that many Syrian shepherds at this day settle for a year or two in a place, rent some ground, in the produce of which they trade with the neighboring market, till the owners, through jealousy of their growing substance, refuse to renew their lease and compel them to remove elsewhere.
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