Genesis 21:25
And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Abraham takes occasion to remonstrate with Abimelek about a well which his people had seized. Wells were extremely valuable in Palestine, on account of the long absence of rain between the latter or vernal rain ending in March, and the early or autumnal rain beginning in November. The digging of a well was therefore a matter of the greatest moment, and often gave a certain title to the adjacent fields. Hence, the many disputes about wells, as the neighboring Emirs or chieftains were jealous of rights so acquired, and often sought to enter by the strong hand on the labors of patient industry. Hence, Abraham lays more stress on a public attestation that he has dug, and is therefore the owner of this well, than on all the rest of the treaty. Seven is the number of sanctity, and therefore of obligation. This number is accordingly figured in some part of the form of confederation; in the present case, in the seven ewe-lambs which Abraham tenders, and Abimelek, in token of consent, accepts at his hand. The name of the well is remarkable as an instance of the various meanings attached to nearly the same sound. Even in Hebrew it means the well of seven, or the well of the oath, as the roots of seven, and of the verb meaning to swear, have the same radical letters. Bir es-Seba means "the well of seven or of the lion."25-31. And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well—Wells were of great importance to a pastoral chief and on the successful operation of sinking a new one, the owner was solemnly informed in person. If, however, they were allowed to get out of repair, the restorer acquired a right to them. In unoccupied lands the possession of wells gave a right of property in the land, and dread of this had caused the offense for which Abraham reproved Abimelech. Some describe four, others five, wells in Beer-sheba. That the foundation of true friendship might be firmly laid, and the peace inviolably observed, he removes an impediment to it, an occasion of quarrel and just exception on Abraham’s part.

A well of water in those hot and dry countries was of great esteem and necessity. Compare Genesis 26:19-21 Judges 1:15. Besides, a well may be put for wells, as the Greeks render it, and as may seem probable by comparing this with Genesis 26:15,18; it being an ordinary thing to use the singular number for the plural, as hath been showed. See Genesis 3:2 4:20. And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water,.... Before he swore and entered into covenant with him, he thought it advisable to inform him of an affair that had happened concerning a well of water, which in those hot and dry countries, as the southern parts of the land of Canaan were, was an affair of great importance; and to make complaint of the ill usage of Abimelech's servants with respect to it, and to reason with him about it, that the thing might be adjusted to mutual satisfaction, and so a firm basis and foundation be laid for the continuance of friendship for the future; which was wisely done before their league and covenant was ratified: this it seems was a well

which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away: that is, had by force taken the use of it to themselves for their cattle, and had deprived Abraham of it, though it was of his own digging; and perhaps there might be more than one, and the singular may be put for the plural; and so the Septuagint version has it, "the wells": see Genesis 26:15.

And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. Abraham reproved] Disputes about wells are some of the most common causes of strife among the Bedouin tribes. Abraham’s complaint is that his servants had dug wells; that Abimelech’s servants had taken violent possession of them; that there had been no redress. The occasion of the treaty favoured a settlement of the dispute.

The verbs in Genesis 21:25-26 are best rendered as frequentatives = “as often as Abraham complained to Abimelech, Abimelech used to reply he was entirely ignorant.” Gesen. Hebr. Gr. § 112 rr.Verse 25. - And Abraham reproved (literally, reasoned with, and proved to the satisfaction of) Abimelech (who was, until informed, entirely unacquainted with the action of his servants) because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. The greatest possible injury of a material kind that could be done to a nomads chief was the all faction of his water supplies. Hence "the ownership of wells m Palestine was as jealously guarded as the possession of a mine in our own" (Inglis). Contests for wells "are now very common all over the country, but more especially in the southern deserts" (Thomson, 'Land and Book,' p. 559). Then God heard the voice (the weeping and crying) of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, "What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the boy, where he is" (באשר for אשׁר בּמקום, 2 Samuel 15:21), i.e., in his helpless condition: "arise, lift up the lad," etc. It was Elohim, not Jehovah, who heard the voice of the boy, and appeared as the angel of Elohim, not of Jehovah (as in Genesis 16:7), because, when Ishmael and Hagar had been dismissed from Abraham's house, they were removed from the superintendence and care of the covenant God to the guidance and providence of God the ruler of all nations. God then opened her eyes, and she saw what she had not seen before, a well of water, from which she filled the bottle and gave her son to drink.
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