Genesis 26:17
And Isaac departed there, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelled there.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) The valley of Gerar.—The word nahal, rendered “valley,” means a narrow defile through which a summer torrent flows. In the bed of these streams water can generally be found by digging, and Isaac hoped that he was far enough from the city for the enmity to cease. But he was mistaken, though he seems for a short period to have been left in peace.

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.Isaac retires, and sets about the digging of wells. He retreats from Gerar and its suburbs, and takes up his abode in the valley, or wady of Gerar. These wadys are the hollows in which brooks flow, and therefore the well-watered and fertile parts of the country. He digs again the old wells, and calls them by the old names. He commences the digging of new ones. For the first the herdmen of Gerar strive, claiming the water as their property. Isaac yields. He digs another; they strive, and he again yields. He now removes apparently into a distinct region, and digs a third well, for which there is no contest. This he calls Rehoboth, "room" - a name which appears to be preserved in Wady er-Ruhaibeh, near which is Wady esh-Shutein, corresponding to Sitnah. "For now the Lord hath made room for us." Isaac's homely realizing faith in a present and presiding Lord here comes out.17. valley of Gerar—torrent-bed or wady, a vast undulating plain, unoccupied and affording good pasture. No text from Poole on this verse. And Isaac departed thence,.... At once, peaceably and quietly, though to his loss and disadvantage, without taking himself either to argument or arms, in favour of himself; he departed immediately, as soon as he perceived his abode was disagreeable to the king and his people; which gives us a very agree, able idea of the calm and peaceable disposition of Isaac:

and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there; at some distance from the city of Gerar, as Jarchi observes. Josephus (g) says it was not far from it; but how far is not certain; very probably it was not out of the country, though on the borders of it. Some render it, "the brook of Gerar" (h), and interpret it, that he pitched his tent, and dwelt by it; and the word used does signify a brook as well as a valley; and there was a brook of Gerar, which Sozomen (i) makes mention of.

(g) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 18. sect. 2.((h) "ad torrentem Gerarae", V. L. (i) Eccl. Hist. l. 6. c. 32.

And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the {k} valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

(k) The Hebrew word signifies a flood, or valley, where water at any time runs.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. the valley of Gerar] The word “valley” (naḥal) represents the bed of a stream, often dry during summer. Here, possibly, it is the Wady Jerâr, into which several other wadies open.Verse 17. - And Isaac - perhaps not without remonstrance, but without offering resistance, as became a saint (Matthew 5:5; Romans 12:17, 18; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 3:9) - departed thence (i.e. from Gerar), and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, - a valley or nahal meant a low, flat region watered by a mountain stream. The Wady Gerar has been identified with the Joorf-el-Gerar, the rush or rapid of Gerar, three hours south-east of Gaza - and dwelt there. Protection of Rebekah at Gerar. - As Abraham had declared his wife to be his sister both in Egypt and at Gerar, so did Isaac also in the latter place. But the manner in which God protected Rebekah was very different from that in which Sarah was preserved in both instances. Before any one had touched Rebekah, the Philistine king discovered the untruthfulness of Isaac's statement, having seen Isaac "sporting with Rebekah," sc., in a manner to show that she was his wife; whereupon he reproved Isaac for what he had said, and forbade any of his people to touch Rebekah on pain of death. Whether this was the same Abimelech as the one mentioned in Genesis 20 cannot be decided with certainty. The name proves nothing, for it was the standing official name of the kings of Gerar (cf. 1 Samuel 21:11 and Psalm 34), as Pharaoh was of the kings of Egypt. The identity is favoured by the pious conduct of Abimelech in both instances; and no difficulty is caused either by the circumstance that 80 years had elapsed between the two events (for Abraham had only been dead five years, and the age of 150 was no rarity then), or by the fact, that whereas the first Abimelech had Sarah taken into his harem, the second not only had no intention of doing this, but was anxious to protect her from his people, inasmuch as it would be all the easier to conceive of this in the case of the same king, on the ground of his advanced age.
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