And he went up from there to Beersheba.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He went up from thence to Beer-sheba.—This was a very serious act on Isaac’s part He leaves the solitudes where he had found a refuge from the enmity of the Philistines, and returns to a place scarcely five leagues distant from their city. Should the old rancour revive, it may now take the form of actual war. And next, he does not go back to the well Lahai-Roi, where he had so long resided, but to Beer-sheba, his father’s favourite home. It was a claim on his part to the rights and inheritance of Abraham, and the claim was admitted. The same night Jehovah appears to him, bids him put away his fears, and renews to him the promises which were his by the right of his birth.
My servant Abraham.—A title of high honour and significance, given to Moses repeatedly, to Joshua (Joshua 24:29), to Israel (Isaiah 41:8), and to the Messiah (Isaiah 52:13). It means God’s prime minister and vicegerent.
He builded an altar.—In returning to Beer-sheba, Isaac had apparently faced the dangers of his position, through confidence in the promises made to his father, with whom he identified himself by taking up his abode at his home. And no sooner are the promises confirmed to him than he restores the public worship of God in the very place where Abraham had established it (Genesis 21:33).
Digged a well.—The word is not that previously used in the chapter, but one that signifies the re-opening of the well which Abraham had dug, but which had become stopped by violence or neglect.Genesis 15:1. Then follow the reasons for courage: I, with thee, blessing thee, multiplying thy seed; a reassurance of three parts of the promise involving all the rest. Then comes the instructive reason for this assurance - "for the sake of Abraham my servant." "An altar" - the first on record erected by Isaac. "Called on the name of the Lord" - engaged in the solemn and public invocation of Yahweh Genesis 4:26; Genesis 12:8. "His tent there." It was hallowed ground to his father Genesis 21:33, and now to himself. "Digged a well," and thereby took possession of the soil at least for a time. We hear of this well again in the next passage.Genesis 21:33. And he went up from thence to Beersheba.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 23. - And he (viz., Isaac) went up from thence (Rehoboth, where latterly he had been encamped) to Beer-sheba - a former residence of Abraham (Genesis 21:33), situated "near the water-shed between the Mediterranean and the Salt Sea" (Murphy), hence approached from the low-lying wady by an ascent. 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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