Genesis 26:14
For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.
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(14) Great store of servants.—Marg., husbandry. In Job 1:3 the word is rendered household in the text, and husbandry again in the margin. Literally it means making employment, and answers to our word business. But if in a man’s life there is much activity and plenty to do, there must be people to do it, and profits made whereby to maintain them. And thus the translation, “great store of servants,” gives the sense; but we see besides that Isaac kept them all actively employed,

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.The growing prosperity of Isaac. "And Isaac sowed in that land." This does not imply a fixed property in the soil, but only an annual tenancy. "A hundred-fold." The rates of increase vary from thirty to a hundred. Sixty-fold is very good, and was not unusual in Palestine. A hundred-fold was rare, and only in spots of extraordinary fertility. Babylonia, however, yielded two hundred and even three hundred-fold, according to Herodotus (I. 193). Thus, the Lord began to "bless him." The amazing growth of the stranger's wealth in flocks and herds and servants awakens the envy of the inhabitants. The digging of the well was an enterprise of great interest in rural affairs. It conferred a sort of ownership on the digger, especially in a country where water was precious. And in a primeval state of society the well was the scene of youthful maidens drawing water for domestic use, and of young men and sometimes maidens watering the bleating flocks and lowing herds, and therefore the gathering center of settled life. Hence, the envious Philistines were afraid that from a sojourner he would go on to be a settler, and acquire rights of property. They accordingly took the most effectual means of making his abiding place uncomfortable, when they stopped up the wells. At length the sovereign advised a separation, if he did not enjoin the departure of Isaac.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. Great store of servants; or rather, of husbandry, as this word is elsewhere used; of corn-fields, vineyards, &c.; for he is describing his riches, which then consisted in the two things here expressed, cattle and lands, which he diligently and successfully managed, Genesis 26:12.

For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds,.... Many flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, of oxen, asses and camels, in which the riches of men in those times and countries chiefly lay:

and great store of servants; to look after his flocks and herds, and fields; or "much husbandry" (f); Jarchi interprets it much tillage; as, much land, many farms, fields, and vineyards, and the like; to cultivate which required many servants:

and the Philistines envied him; for his prosperity and success, that his land should bring forth so plentifully, and that he should have such an increase of flocks, and herds, and servants, which made him so very significant great, and honourable.

(f) "cultura multa", Drusius; "proventus multus", Pagninus; "servitium multum", Schmidt; , Sept.

For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines {g} envied him.

(g) The malicious always envy the graces of God in others.

14. and a great household] i.e. a large number of slaves and attendants.

Verse 14. - For he had (literally, there was to him) possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: - γεώργια πολλά (LXX.), i.e. much husbandry, the abstract being put for the concrete, "implying all manner of work and service belonging to a family, and so servants and tillage of all sorts" (Ainsworth); but the reference rather seems to be to the number of his household, or domestic slaves, plurimum familiae (Vulgate) - and the Philistines envied him. The patriarch's possessions (mikneh, from kanah, to acquire) excited jealous feeling (from root kana, to burn) in the breasts of his neighbors (cf. Ecclesiastes 4:4). Genesis 26:14Being thus blessed of Jehovah, Isaac became increasingly (הלוך, vid., Genesis 8:3) greater (i.e., stronger), until he was very powerful and his wealth very great; so that the Philistines envied him, and endeavoured to do him injury by stopping up and filling with rubbish all the wells that had been dug in his father's time; and even Abimelech requested him to depart, because he was afraid of his power. Isaac then encamped in the valley of Gerar, i.e., in the "undulating land of Gerar," through which the torrent (Jurf) from Gerar flows from the south-east (Ritter, Erdk. 14, pp. 1084-5).
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