Genesis 26:20
And the herdsmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.
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26:18-25 Isaac met with much opposition in digging wells. Two were called Contention and Hatred. See the nature of worldly things; they make quarrels, and are occasions of strife; and what is often the lot of the most quiet and peaceable; those who avoid striving, yet cannot avoid being striven with. And what a mercy it is to have plenty of water; to have it without striving for it! The more common this mercy is, the more reason to be thankful for it. At length Isaac digged a well, for which they strove not. Those that study to be quiet, seldom fail of being so. When men are false and unkind, still God is faithful and gracious; and his time to show himself so is, when we are most disappointed by men. The same night that Isaac came weary and uneasy to Beer-sheba, God brought comforts to his soul. Those may remove with comfort who are sure of God's presence.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.18-22. Isaac digged again the wells of water—The naming of wells by Abraham, and the hereditary right of his family to the property, the change of the names by the Philistines to obliterate the traces of their origin, the restoration of the names by Isaac, and the contests between the respective shepherds to the exclusive possession of the water, are circumstances that occur among the natives in those regions as frequently in the present day as in the time of Isaac. The water is ours, because digged in our soil; which was no good argument, because he digged it by their consent or permission at his own charge, and for his own use. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen,.... About the well which was dug in the valley; and this shows it was near Gerar or at least was upon the border of the country, and so it was a disputable point to whom it belonged:

saying, the water is ours; though the well was dug by Isaac's servants, yet they laid claim to the water, pretending it was their ground, being on their borders:

and he called the name of the well Esek: which signifies "contention": the reason of the name follows:

because they strove with him; wrangled, contended, and disputed with him about whose right it was.

And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.
20. Esek] That is, Contention. LXX Ἀδικία; Lat. Calumnia. In this and the two following verses we have popular tradition as to the origin of the names of wells in the region associated with the sojournings of the patriarch.Verse 20. - And the herdmen of Gerar - i.e. Abimelech's servants (Genesis 21:25) - did strive with Isaac's herdmen, - as Lot's with those of Abraham (Genesis 13:7) - saying, The water is ours: - literally, to us (belong) the waters - and he called the name of the well Esek ("Strife"); because they strove with him - the verb being עָשַׂק, to strive about anything. Being 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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