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.
And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:Genesis 26:2. Go not down into Egypt — Whither, it is likely, Isaac had intended to go, it being a very fruitful country, and he being encouraged to go thither by his father’s example, on a similar occasion. No doubt God had wise reasons for prohibiting his going; but as he has not been pleased to acquaint us with them, to spend time in conjecturing what they were, would be giving ourselves trouble to no purpose.
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;
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;Genesis 26:4. I will make thy seed to multiply — Here we find a renewal to Isaac of all God’s promises made to Abraham; and the great fundamental mysterious promise is renewed exactly in the same words in which it had been given to Abraham. When God said to Abraham, In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed — Perhaps Abraham might, at first, suppose God spake of his immediate seed, namely, of Isaac; but when he came upon the stage of life, he brought no such blessing with him; and when the promise was renewed to him in the very same words, it became evident that the seed which was to be this universal blessing was still to come.
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.Genesis 26:5. My voice, my charge, my commandments — This variety of expression seems to be designed to show the universality and exactness of Abraham’s obedience, that he readily complied with every intimation of the divine will. He obeyed the original laws of nature, the revealed laws of divine worship, particularly that of circumcision, and all the extraordinary precepts God gave him, as that of quitting his country, and that (which some think is more especially referred to) respecting the offering up of his son, which Isaac himself had reason enough to remember. Those only shall have the benefit of God’s covenant with their parents that tread in the steps of their obedience. It must be observed, however, as the covenant made with Abraham, and God’s promises to him, were made by God of his mere grace and mercy, so the blessings promised and conferred were so very great, that it is idle to imagine they could be merited by so mean a compensation as Abraham’s obedience which obedience was a debt that he would have owed to God, if there had been neither covenant nor promise made by God, and which was the effect of God’s grace to and in him.
And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
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.Genesis 26:7. She is my sister — So Isaac enters into the same temptation that his father had been once and again surprised and overcome by, namely, to deny his wife, and to give out that she was his sister! It is an unaccountable thing, that both these great and good men should be guilty of so odd a piece of dissimulation, by which they so much exposed both their own and their wives’ reputation.
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, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.Genesis 26:8. This Abimelech was not the same that was in Abraham’s days, (chapter 20.,) for this was near a hundred years after; but that was the common name of the Philistine kings, as Cesar of the Roman emperors.
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.
And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.Genesis 26:10. Lightly — Here, means perhaps. The heathen considered fornication either as no sin, or a very little one; but they had a different idea of adultery, considering it as heinous. Therefore, with a reference to it, Abimelech says, Thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us — Probably it might be fresh in his memory how sorely God had punished his predecessor and all his family in the days of Abraham (chap. 20.) for only an intention of adultery. It is very observable here, that Abimelech takes it for granted, that their ignorance of Rebekah’s being Isaac’s wife would not have been a sufficient excuse for their sin.
And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.Genesis 26:12. Isaac sowed in that land — Either in grounds which he had hired of the right owners, or in some which lay neglected, and therefore were free to the first occupier. That this should be the case, in that age of the world, is not strange, considering how few the inhabitants, even of Canaan, then were, in comparison of what they were three hundred years after, when the Israelites came out of Egypt. He received a hundred-fold — A hundred times as much as he sowed. The same degree of increase is spoken of Matthew 13:8; and affirmed sometimes of other places by heathen writers. But then it was in a better soil and season than this was; for this was in a time of famine. Accordingly an emphasis is laid upon the time; it was the same year when there was a famine in the land; while others scarce reaped at all, he reaped thus plentifully, through the divine blessing.
And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.
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.
And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.Genesis 26:16. Go from us: for thou art much mightier than we — It seems Isaac’s increasing riches and power caused envy, jealousy, and fear among Abimelech’s subjects, and he was afraid that unpleasant consequences might follow should Isaac continue in that neighbourhood.
Genesis 26:20-21. Esek means contention; and Sitnah, hatred.
And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.
And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they 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.
And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
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.
And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.
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.Genesis 26:22. He digged a well, and for that they strove not — Those that follow peace, sooner or later shall find peace. Those that study to be quiet, seldom fail of being so. This well they called Rehoboth, enlargement, room enough.
And he went up from thence to Beersheba.
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.Genesis 26:24. Fear not, I am with thee, and will bless thee — Those may remove with comfort that are sure of God’s presence with them wherever they go.
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.
Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
And they said, We saw certainly that 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 thee;Genesis 26:28. The Lord is with thee, and thou art the blessed of the Lord — As if he had said, Be persuaded to overlook the injuries offered thee, for God has abundantly made up to thee the damage thou receivedst. Those whom God blesses and favours have reason enough to forgive those that hate them, since the worst enemy they have cannot do them any real hurt. Let there be an oath betwixt us — Whatever some of his envious subjects might mean, he and his prime minister, whom he had now brought with him, designed no other but a cordial friendship. Perhaps Abimelech had received by tradition the warning God gave to his predecessor, not to hurt Abraham; (Genesis 20:7;) and that made him stand in such awe of Isaac, who appeared to be as much the favourite of Heaven as Abraham was. It appears from this verse that a strong sense still prevailed, in that part of the world, of God’s superintending providence, and of his ordering the affairs of men so that blessings might come on the righteous. These Philistines not only observe this with regard to Isaac, but desire to enter into a covenant with him on that account. Would to God there was as much faith in general in regard to thin point in our days, as there seems to have been then, even among the Philistines!
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 thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.
And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.
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.
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.
And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.
And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:Genesis 26:34. He took to wife — Contrary to the command of his father, mother, and grandfather, he marries Canaanites, who were strangers to the blessing of Abraham, and subject to the curse of Noah.
Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.