Genesis 26:2
And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
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(2) The Lord appeared unto him.—Only once besides does Jehovah manifest himself to Isaac (Genesis 26:24), and sixty years had now passed since the revelations recorded in Genesis 22. Excepting to Abraham, it was only at rare and distant intervals that God spake to the patriarchs. The greater part of their lives was spent under the control of the same ordinary Providence as that which governs our actions now; but on special occasions God was pleased to confirm their faith in Him in a way not necessary now that we have had made known to us the whole counsel of God.

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.

26:1-5 Isaac had been trained up in a believing dependence upon the Divine grant of the land of Canaan to him and his heirs; and now that there is a famine in the land, Isaac still cleaves to the covenant. The real worth of God's promises cannot be lessened to a believer by any cross providences that may befall him. If God engage to be with us, and we are where he would have us to be, nothing but our own unbelief and distrust can prevent our comfort. The obedience of Abraham to the Divine command, was evidence of that faith, whereby, as a sinner, he was justified before God, and the effect of that love whereby true faith works. God testifies that he approved this obedience, to encourage others, especially Isaac.Isaac is now the heir, and therefore the holder, of the promise. Hence, the Lord enters into communication with him. First, the present difficulty is met. "Go not down into Mizraim," the land of corn, even when other lands were barren. "Dwell in the land of which I shall tell thee." This reminds us of the message to Abraham Genesis 12:1. The land here spoken of refers to "all these lands" mentioned in the following verses. "Sojourn in this land:" turn aside for the present, and take up thy temporary abode here. Next, the promise to Abraham is renewed with some variety of expression. "I will be with thee" Genesis 21:22, a notable and comprehensive promise, afterward embodied in the name Immanuel, "God with us. Unto thee and unto thy seed." This was fulfilled to his seed in due time. All these lands, now parcelled out among several tribes. "And blessed in thy seed" Genesis 12:3; Genesis 22:18.

This is the great, universal promise to the whole human race through the seed of Abraham, twice explicitly announced to that patriarch. "All the nations." In constancy of purpose the Lord contemplates, even in the special covenant with Abraham, the gathering in of the nations under the covenant with Noah and with Adam Genesis 9:9; Hosea 6:7. "Because Abraham hearkened to my voice," in all the great moments of his life, especially in the last act of proceeding on the divine command to offer Isaac himself. Abraham, by the faith which flows from the new birth, was united with the Lord, his shield and exceeding great reward Genesis 15:1, with God Almighty, who quickened and strengthened him to walk before him and be perfect Genesis 17:1. The Lord his righteousness worketh in him, and his merit is reflected and reproduced in him Genesis 22:16, Genesis 22:18. Hence, the Lord reminds Isaac of the oath which he had heard at least fifty years before confirming the promise, and of the declaration then made that this oath of confirmation was sworn because Abraham had obeyed the voice of God. How deeply these words would penetrate into the soul of Isaac, the intended victim of that solemn day! But Abraham's obedience was displayed in all the acts of his new life. He kept the charge of God, the special commission he had given him; his commandments, his express or occasional orders; his statutes, his stated prescriptions, graven on stone; his laws, the great doctrines of moral obligation. This is that unreserved obedience which flows from a living faith, and withstands the temptations of the flesh.


Ge 26:1-35. Sojourn in Gerar.

1. And there was a famine in the land … And Isaac went unto … Gerar—The pressure of famine in Canaan forced Isaac with his family and flocks to migrate into the land of the Philistines, where he was exposed to personal danger, as his father had been on account of his wife's beauty; but through the seasonable interposition of Providence, he was preserved (Ps 105:14, 15).

To Egypt it seems Isaac intended to go, it being a very fruitful place, and being encouraged to do so by his father’s example upon the same occasion. But God saw good reasons to forbid Isaac to go thither, which it is needless to inquire, and not difficult to conjecture.

And the Lord appeared unto him,.... In a vision or dream, when he was at Gerar:

and said, go not down into Egypt; as his father had done in the like case, and where Isaac thought to have gone, and the rather, as that was a fruitful country; and so the Targum of Jonathan,"and it was in the heart of Isaac to go down into Egypt, and the Lord appeared unto him, &c.''and charged him not to go thither; partly to try his faith in him, and dependence on his providence for support in this time of famine, and partly lest he should think of continuing there, and be unmindful of the promise of the land of Canaan to Abraham's seed:

dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of; even the land of Canaan, which he was now about to give him on account of the promise of it to Abraham and his seed, and to renew it to him and to his seed.

And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, {b} Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:

(b) God's providence always watches to direct the ways of his children.

2. appeared] The promises here made to Isaac are, for the most part, reiterated from Genesis 12:2-3, Genesis 15:5, Genesis 17:6-8, Genesis 22:15-18.

which I shall tell thee of] Cf. the similar phrase in Genesis 12:1, Genesis 22:2.

Verse 2. - And the Lord (Jehovah, i.e. the God of the covenant and of the promise) appeared unto him, - only two Divine manifestations are mentioned as having been granted to the patriarch. Either the peaceful tenor of Isaac s life rendered more theophanies in his case unnecessary; or, if others were enjoyed by him, the brief space allotted by the historian to the record of his life may account for their omission from the narrative. Though commonly understood as having occurred in Gerar (Keil, Lange, Murphy), this appearance, is perhaps better regarded as having taken place at Lahai-roi, and as having been the cause of Isaac's turning aside into the land of the Philistines (Calvin) - and said, Go not down into Egypt - whither manifestly he had been purposing to migrate, as his father had done on the occasion of the earlier dearth (Genesis 12:10). Jacob in the later famine was instructed to go down to Egypt (Genesis 46:3, 4); Abraham in the first scarcity was left at liberty to think and act for himself. Dwell in the land which I will tell thee of (i.e. Philistia, as appears from the preceding verse). Genesis 26:2Renewal of the Promise. - A famine "in the land" (i.e., Canaan, to which he had therefore returned from Hagar's well; Genesis 25:11), compelled Isaac to leave Canaan, as it had done Abraham before. Abraham went to Egypt, where his wife was exposed to danger, from which she could only be rescued by the direct interposition of God. Isaac also intended to go there, but on the way, viz., in Gerar, he received instruction through a divine manifestation that he was to remain there. As he was the seed to whom the land of Canaan was promised, he was directed not to leave it. To this end Jehovah assured him of the fulfilment of all the promises made to Abraham on oath, with express reference to His oath (Genesis 22:16) to him and to his posterity, and on account of Abraham's obedience of faith. The only peculiarity in the words is the plural, "all these lands." This plural refers to all the lands or territories of the different Canaanitish tribes, mentioned in Genesis 15:19-21, like the different divisions of the kingdom of Israel or Judah in 1 Chronicles 13:2; 2 Chronicles 11:23. האל; an antique form of האלּה occurring only in the Pentateuch. The piety of Abraham is described in words that indicate a perfect obedience to all the commands of God, and therefore frequently recur among the legal expressions of a later date. יהוה משׁמרת שׁמר "to take care of Jehovah's care," i.e., to observe Jehovah, His persons, and His will, Mishmereth, reverence, observance, care, is more closely defined by "commandments, statutes, laws," to denote constant obedience to all the revelations and instructions of God.
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