Genesis 26:28
And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with you: and we said, Let there be now an oath between us, even between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you;
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(28, 29) Let there be now an oath.—The word literally signifies a curse. Each side uttered an imprecation, with the prayer that it might fall upon himself if he broke the terms of the covenant.

Let us make a covenant.—Heb., cut. (See Note on Genesis 15:10; Genesis 15:18; where also see the explanation of this use of the word curse.)

The Lord was with thee . . . blessed of the Lord.—This use of the word “Lord,” that is, Jehovah, is very remarkable. In Genesis 21:22-23 Abimelech uses the term Elohim, God, in accordance with the careful discrimination in the use of the names of the Deity often previously referred to. By the long residence, first of Abraham and then of Isaac, in their territory, the Philistines would indeed have become better acquainted with the religion of the patriarchs; but as Jehovah was not their special title for the Deity (Exodus 6:3), we must conclude, with Rosenmüller, that it was Moses who wrote Jehovah in the place of the word actually employed by Abimelech. We gather, however, that the king did not use any generic or heathen names of the Deity, but that whereby the patriarchs worshipped their covenant God, and his so doing was probably intended as an act of homage to Him.

Genesis 26:28. The Lord is with thee, and thou art the blessed of the Lord — As if he had said, Be persuaded to overlook the injuries offered thee, for God has abundantly made up to thee the damage thou receivedst. Those whom God blesses and favours have reason enough to forgive those that hate them, since the worst enemy they have cannot do them any real hurt. Let there be an oath betwixt us — Whatever some of his envious subjects might mean, he and his prime minister, whom he had now brought with him, designed no other but a cordial friendship. Perhaps Abimelech had received by tradition the warning God gave to his predecessor, not to hurt Abraham; (Genesis 20:7;) and that made him stand in such awe of Isaac, who appeared to be as much the favourite of Heaven as Abraham was. It appears from this verse that a strong sense still prevailed, in that part of the world, of God’s superintending providence, and of his ordering the affairs of men so that blessings might come on the righteous. These Philistines not only observe this with regard to Isaac, but desire to enter into a covenant with him on that account. Would to God there was as much faith in general in regard to thin point in our days, as there seems to have been then, even among the Philistines!26:26-33 When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him, Pr 16:7. Kings' hearts are in his hands, and when he pleases, he can turn them to favour his people. It is not wrong to stand upon our guard in dealing with those who have acted unfairly. But Isaac did not insist on the unkindnesses they had done him; he freely entered into friendship with them. Religion teaches us to be neighbourly, and, as much as in us lies, to live peaceable with all men. Providence smiled upon what Isaac did; God blessed his labours.The treaty with Abimelek. This is an interview similar to what Abraham had with the king of Gerar; and its object is a renewal of the former league between the parties. Besides Phikol, the commander-in-chief, he is now accompanied by Ahuzzath, his privy counsellor. Isaac upbraids him with his unkindness in sending him away, and his inconsistency in again seeking a conference with him. "We clearly saw." His prosperity was such as to be a manifest token of the Lord's favor. Hence, they desired the security of a treaty with him by an oath of execration on the transgressor. "Do us no hurt." The covenant is one-sided, as expressed by Abimelek. "As we have not touched thee." This implies the other side of the covenant. "Thou art now blessed of Yahweh." This explains the one-sidedness of the covenant. Isaac needed no guarantee from them, as the Lord was with him. Abimelek is familiar with the use of the name Yahweh. Isaac hospitably entertains and lodges the royal party, and on the morrow, after having sworn to the treaty, parts with them in peace. On the same day Isaac's servants report concerning the well they had digged Genesis 26:25 that they had found water. This well he calls Sheba, "an oath," and hence the town is called Beer-sheba, "the well of the oath." Now the writer was aware that this place had received the same name on a former occasion Genesis 21:31. But a second well has now been dug in like circumstances in the same locality. This gives occasion for a new application of the name in the memories of the people. This is another illustration of the principle explained at Genesis 25:30. Two wells still exist at this place to attest the correctness of the record.26-33. Then Abimelech went to him—As there was a lapse of ninety years between the visit of Abraham and of Isaac, the Abimelech and Phichol spoken of must have been different persons' official titles. Here is another proof of the promise (Ge 12:2) being fulfilled, in an overture of peace being made to him by the king of Gerar. By whatever motive the proposal was dictated—whether fear of his growing power, or regret for the bad usage they had given him, the king and two of his courtiers paid a visit to the tent of Isaac (Pr 16:7). His timid and passive temper had submitted to the annoyances of his rude neighbors; but now that they wish to renew the covenant, he evinces deep feeling at their conduct, and astonishment at their assurance, or artifice, in coming near him. Being, however, of a pacific disposition, Isaac forgave their offense, accepted their proposals, and treated them to the banquet by which the ratification of a covenant was usually crowned. No text from Poole on this verse. And they said, we saw certainly that the Lord was with thee,.... Not only while he was among them, by the fruitfulness of the land he sowed, by the increase of his family, his flocks and herds, but also since he was gone from them, in the valley of Gerar, and now in Beersheba:

and we said; one to another, assembled in privy council, in which this affair was talked over and debated:

let there now be an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee: what was between us and thy father, or between thine ancestors and ours, let it be renewed and confirmed before us; so Onkelos and Jarchi; see Genesis 21:23,

and let us make a covenant with thee; the articles of which follow.

And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;
28. an oath] A compact sealed by an oath. Cf. Deuteronomy 29:12; Nehemiah 10:29.

covenant] See on this word (b’rîth) the note on Genesis 15:18.Verse 28. - And they said, We saw certainly - literally, seeing we saw, i.e. we assuredly perceived, or, we have indeed discovered (vide Ewald's 'Hebrews Synt.,' § 312). Abimelech and his ministers first explain the motive which has impelled them to solicit a renewal of the old alliance - that the Lord was with thee: - the use of Jehovah instead of Elohim, as in Genesis 21:22, does not prove that this is a Jehovistic elaboration of the earlier legend. Neither is it necessary to suppose that the term Jehovah is a Mosaic translation of the epithet employed by Abimelech (Rosenmüller). The long-continued residence of Abraham in Gemr and Beersheba afforded ample opportunity for Abimelech becoming acquainted with the patriarch's God. The introduction of Jehovah into the narrative may be noted as a third point of dissimilarity between this and the previous account - and we said, Let there he now an oath - i.e. a treaty secured by an oath or self-imprecation on the transgressor (cf. Genesis 24:41; Deuteronomy 29:11, 13) - betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, - a farther particularization of the parties to the covenant for the sake of emphasis - and let us make a covenant with thee. The phrase "to cut a covenant," here used in a so-called Jehovistic portion of the history, occurs in Genesis 21:27, 32, which confessedly belongs to the fundamental document. Reopening and Discovery of Wells. - In this valley Isaac dug open the old wells which had existed from Abraham's time, and gave them the old names. His people also dug three new wells. But Abimelech's people raised a contest about two of these; and for this reason Isaac called them Esek and Sitnah, strife and opposition. The third there was no dispute about; and it received in consequence the name Rehoboth, "breadths," for Isaac said, "Yea now (כּי־עתּה, as in Genesis 29:32, etc.) Jehovah has provided for us a broad space, that we may be fruitful (multiply) in the land." This well was probably not in the land of Gerar, as Isaac had removed thence, but in the Wady Ruhaibeh, the name of which is suggestive of Rehoboth, which stands at the point where the two roads from Gaza and Hebron meet, about 3 hours to the south of Elusa, 8 1/3 to the south of Beersheba, and where there are extensive ruins of the city of the same name upon the heights, also the remains of wells (Robinson, Pal. i. 289ff.; Strauss, Sinai and Golgotha); where too the name Sitnah seems to have been retained in the Wady Shutein, with ruins on the northern hills between Ruhaibeh and Khulasa (Elusa).
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