Genesis 21:22
And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
ABIMELECH’S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM.

(22) Abimelech and Phichol.—Abimelech, that is Father-King, was the title not only of the king of Gerar, but of the kings of the Philistines generally (Genesis 26:1; 1Samuel 21:10, marg.; Psalms 34, tit.). In like manner Phichol, mouth of all, seems to have been the official designation of the prime minister, and commander-in-chief. This visit of the king and his vizier appears to have taken place some considerable time after the beginning of the sojourn of Abraham at Gerar; for the friendly feelings which then existed had evidently given way to a coolness, occasioned by the quarrels between their herdsmen. In this narrative, Abraham appears as a chieftain powerful enough for a king to wish to make an alliance with him; and thus his abandonment of Sarah, and his receiving of presents in compensation for the wrong done her, seems the more unworthy of him. Abimelech, on the other hand, acts generously as of old, and shows no signs of ill-will at the growing power of one whose expectation was that his race would possess the whole land.

21:22-34 Abimelech felt sure that the promises of God would be fulfilled to Abraham. It is wise to connect ourselves with those who are blessed of God; and we ought to requite kindness to those who have been kind to us. Wells of water are scarce and valuable in eastern countries. Abraham took care to have his title to the well allowed, to prevent disputes in future. No more can be expected from an honest man than that he be ready to do right, as soon as he knows he has done wrong. Abraham, being now in a good neighbourhood, stayed a great while there. There he made, not only a constant practice, but an open profession of his religion. There he called on the name of the Lord, as the everlasting God; probably in the grove he planted, which was his place of prayer. Abraham kept up public worship, in which his neighbours might join. Good men should do all they can to make others so. Wherever we sojourn, we must neither neglect nor be ashamed of the worship of Jehovah.According to the common law of Hebrew narrative, this event took place before some of the circumstances recorded in the previous passage; probably not long after the birth of Isaac. Abimelek, accompanied by Phikol, his commander-in-chief, proposes to form a league with Abraham. The reason assigned for this is that God was with him in all that he did. Various circumstances concurred to produce this conviction in Abimelek. The never-to-be-forgotten appearance of God to himself in a dream interposing on behalf of Abraham, the birth of Isaac, and the consequent certainty of his having an heir, and the growing retinue and affluence of one who, some ten years before, could lead out a trained band of three hundred and eighteen men-at-arms, were amply sufficient to prove that God was the source of his strength. Such a man is formidable as a foe, but serviceable as an ally. It is the part of sound policy, therefore, to approach him and endeavor to prevail upon him to swear by God not to deal falsely with him or his. "Kin and kith." We have adopted these words to represent the conversational alliterative phrase of the original. They correspond tolerably well with the σπέρμα sperma and ὄνομα onoma, "seed" and "name," of the Septuagint. Abraham frankly consents to this oath. This is evidently a personal covenant, referring to existing circumstances. A similar confederacy had been already formed with Aner, Eshkol, and Mamre. Abraham was disposed to such alliances, as they contributed to peaceful neighborhood. He was not in a condition to make a national covenant, though it is a fact that the Philistines were scarcely ever wholly subjugated by his descendants.Ge 21:22-34. Covenant.

22. Abimelech and Phichol—Here a proof of the promise (Ge 12:2) being fulfilled, in a native prince wishing to form a solemn league with Abraham. The proposal was reasonable, and agreed to [Ge 21:24].

We plainly see that God blesseth and prospereth thee in all thy undertakings.

Of Abimelech, see Genesis 20:2.

And it came to pass at that time,.... Not when Ishmael was grown up and married, but when Isaac was weaned and Ishmael was expelled:

that Abimelech, and Phichol, the chief captain of his host, spake unto Abraham; Abimelech was king of Gerar, the same that is spoken of in the preceding chapter, and Phichol was the general of his army; these two great personages came together and paid Abraham a visit, and had some conversation with him, who was still in Gerar, or however in some part of that country not far from it:

saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest; greatly prospered him in the things of the world, for of them only could they make a judgment; they saw that he increased in worldly substance, and that his family was increased, and that he succeeded in everything in which he engaged; and, being jealous of his growing greatness and power, were desirous of securing an interest in him and in his favour.

And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22–34 (E, J). The Covenant between Abraham and Abimelech at Beer-sheba

22. Abimelech] This passage seems to be a continuation of chap. 20.

Phicol the captain of his host] For this title, cf. 1 Samuel 14:50; 2 Samuel 2:8 (where it is applied to Abner); Genesis 24:2 (to Joab). It shews that Abimelech was a petty king of some importance.

Here and in Genesis 21:32, the LXX inserts another name and title between Abimelech and Phicol, Ὀχοζὰθ ὁ νυμφαγωγὸς αὐτοῦ, “Ahuzzath his friend.” This name occurs with that of Phicol again in Genesis 26:26.

God is with thee] Cf. 20, Genesis 26:28. Abimelech has had reason to discern the meaning of the description of Abraham, in Genesis 20:7, as “a prophet.”

Verse 22. - And it came to pass at that time, - possibly in immediate sequence to the incident of the preceding chapter, but, "according to the common law of Hebrew narrative, probably not long after the birth of Isaac." (Murphy) - that Abimelech - the king of Gerar (Genesis 20:2; Genesis 26:1, 16) - and Phi-chol - if the name be Shemitic, "mouth of all," i.e. spokesman of all (Murphy), ruler of all (Gesenius); or "the distinguished" (Furst); believed to have been a titular designation of the Philistine monarch's grand vizier or prime minister (Lange, 'Speaker's Commentary'), who was also - the chief captain of his host (i.e. the commander-in-chief of his forces) spake unto Abraham (having come from Gerar for the purpose), saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest - a conviction derived from his former acquaintance with the patriarch (Genesis 20.), his knowledge of Isaac s birth, and his general observation of the patriarch's prosperity. Genesis 21:22Abimelech's Treaty with Abraham. - Through the divine blessing which visibly attended Abraham, the Philistine king Abimelech was induced to secure for himself and his descendants the friendship of a man so blessed; and for that purpose he went to Beersheba, with his captain Phicol, to conclude a treaty with him. Abraham was perfectly ready to agree to this; but first of all he complained to him about a well which Abimelech's men had stolen, i.e., had unjustly appropriated to themselves. Abimelech replied that this act of violence had never been made known to him till that day, and as a matter of course commanded the well to be returned. After the settlement of this dispute the treaty was concluded, and Abraham presented the king with sheep and oxen, as a material pledge that he would reciprocate the kindness shown, and live in friendship with the king and his descendants. Out of this present he selected seven lambs and set them by themselves; and when Abimelech inquired what they were, he told him to take them from his hand, that they might be to him (Abraham) for a witness that he had digged the well. It was not to redeem the well, but to secure the well as his property against any fresh claims on the part of the Philistines, that the present was given; and by the acceptance of it, Abraham's right of possession was practically and solemnly acknowledged.
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