Genesis 26:23
And he went up from there to Beersheba.
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(23-25) 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.

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 now proceeds to Beer-sheba. "Went up." It was an ascent from Wady er-Ruhaibeh to Beer-sheba; which was near the watershed between the Mediterranean and the Salt Sea. "In that night" - the night after his arrival, in a dream or vision. "I am the God of Abraham thy father." Isaac is again and again reminded of the relation in which his father stood to God. That relation still subsists; for Abraham still lives with God, and is far nearer to him than he could be on earth. "The God of Abraham" is another name for Yahweh. "Fear not," as he had said to Abraham after his victory over the four kings 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.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. Where he lived before the famine drove him thence. And he went up from thence to Beersheba. From the place he last, removed unto Beersheba; the famine being over, he returns to the place where he and his rather formerly lived, Genesis 21:33. And he went up from thence to Beersheba.
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. 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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