Genesis Segment 18 (25:1-26:35)

Originally Published 6/9/2002

Genesis 25:1-4 “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. {2} And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. {3} And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. {4} And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.”

Abraham was 137 years old when Sarah died (see Gen 21:5, 23:1). He married Keturah at an advanced age, but he was still able to sire six children. As can be seen from the list above, many of Abraham’s sons became nations.

Genesis 25:5-8 “And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. {6} But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country. {7} And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. {8} Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.”

Not too many live to be 175 years old. Yet Abraham did. Isaac received the bulk of Abraham’s vast estate. Abraham was rich and that made Isaac wealthy. I would imagine that the gifts to the remainder of his sons were substantial. Many of them became patriarchs in their own right. Many nations came of them fulfilling the promise that God made to Abraham. It was a blessing in the Bible to live to a good old age.

Abraham had believed God and God imputed His righteousness to Abraham just as He does to us when we believe (Rom 4:3, 11). This is where the story of the most famous Bible patriarch ends. Abraham is called the father of Israel, Judaism (a religion begun in captivity and fully formed after 70 AD), Christianity, and Islam. He was the father of many nations and his seed is as uncountable as the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea. His seed is seen in countless millions of people alive today. His seed has been in countless millions throughout the ages. God has blessed the world through Abraham and through his ultimate Son, Jesus Christ. Abraham is laid to rest in this passage and we know from the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:20-31) that Abraham is in heaven at this present moment.

Genesis 25:9-10 “And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; {10} The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.”

Ishmael, the father of the various groups of people known generically as Arabs, though the area is comprised of several different peoples, was present with Isaac at Abraham’s funeral. There is no indication of any bad blood between them at that time as there was between Jacob and Esau. Abraham was buried in Machpelah, the “twin caves,” at the end of Ephron’s field. (See Gen 23:1-20). The caves are located in modern Hebron. Though located inside Israel, they are controlled by Muslims by agreement with Israeli authorities. The caves are beneath a structure possibly built by Herod and supposedly contain the remains Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah. However there are no remains there, only cenotaphs. Some traditions say that Joseph’s remains were buried there, but we know from the Bible the Jacob was buried at Shechem (Jos 24:32).

Genesis 25:11 “And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.”

Again, this is the “well of the living one my seer,” or “well of the living one who sees me.” Isaac was blessed just as Abraham. God transferred the promises to Isaac, Abraham’s seed. Isaac dwelt by the well where he was when he first met Rebekah. Muslims claim the Bible is corrupted, and that Ishmael received the inheritance from Abraham.

Genesis 25:12-18 “Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham: {13} And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, {14} And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, {15} Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: {16} These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. {17} And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. {18} And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.”

The seed line of Ishmael is rendered separately from that of Isaac to show that Ishmael was outside of the promise. God had made a separate promise to Ishmael not in conjunction with the promise to Abraham and Isaac. The seed of Ishmael are part Egyptian and part Semite. So referring to Ishmaelites, which Muslims from Mecca and Arabu ‘l-Musta’ribah, or mixed Arabs claim to be, as anti-Semitic is really misnomer, though the word is used euphemistically to mean opposition to the Jews. They are not opposed to the Semitic race of which they share a common ancestor, but to put it as simply as I know how, they are opposed to the Jews living in Palestine. At least that is their stated purpose. That story is too complex to address here.

The area of their residence is noted to be from Havilah to Shur and northward to Assyria. The word, Havilah, meaning, “sandy”, or “sandy stretch” could imply different places. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula all have vast stretches of sand. Havilah is made up of these regions. The region known as Shur is what we call the Sinai Peninsula today. It currently belongs to Egypt. At the time, Assyria was just the city of Ashur on the Tigris and not the empire it became. So Ishmael’s descendants have covered the area from Egypt to the Tigris River. The Muslims, many of whom are self-professed descendants of Abraham and Ishmael, basically reside in this exact area today. Yes the Muslim religion has spread throughout the world, but they basically dwell in the area given by the Bible. That is the area we consider to be the Muslim part of the world.

Genesis 25:19 “And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac:”

This genealogy includes only Isaac’s sons, Esau and Jacob.

Genesis 25:20-21 “And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. {21} And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.”

Isaac was sixty when Rebekah gave birth (Gen 25:26), so she was barren for twenty years.

Genesis 25:22 “And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.”

Some have suggested that Rebekah and Isaac did not have much communication. Some have asked the question, “If Rebekah and Isaac had good communication in their marriage, why did she have to go and inquire of the LORD?” I cannot quite glean that from this verse, but in the following verses, it would seem that this is correct. If God had told her there were two nations in her womb, then why did she not tell Isaac? It was probably because he was not really interested. He was probably too busy with the management of his household to get involved in “petty domestic things.” Perhaps this was true.

Genesis 25:23 “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

Of course the two nations are Israel and Edom. We will discuss them later. The major point of this passage is that the younger would serve the elder. This is a good place to discuss that subject. Let us begin by stating that there are two Adams. Understand that ‘adam means man. Note also that the word ‘adamah means earth or soil (dirt). ‘Adamah also means woman when used in that context, but it generally means soil. Adam was named Man. Jesus Christ was called the Son of Man. Paul addresses just this: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. {46} Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. {47} The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-47). The first mortal man, Adam, was formed. He sinned and he died, bringing death to the world. Paul is making the point that the spiritual follows the natural. Then he says that the last man Adam was made spiritual and brings life into a dying world. The first man was Adam of the Garden of Eden. The last man is Jesus the Christ. He is spiritual and he gives life. A quickening spirit is the Spirit that gives life. (To quicken is an archaic term that means to make alive). The first man was formed from the dust (or the earth); the second man is the Lord from heaven. God sent His son into the world to die for the world and be raised again to life on the third day so that we could receive eternal life. Adam came into the world innocent and with the possibility of immortality (see Gen. 3:22) but then sinned, taking away eternal life from him and the world.

This picture or type of the first man Adam and the last man Adam (Who is Christ) is revealed over and over throughout scripture. Let us cite a few examples. At first, Adam had three sons, Able, Cain, and Seth. Abel was killed by Cain who was then banished from the presence of Adam. That is the same thing as saying he was taken out of existence; Cain was disowned by God and no longer Adam’s son. That stated, Adam’s progeny began with Abel, who would have received the inheritance of Adam. But he was killed, leaving Seth to carry on the family line. Abel was Adam’s firstborn, who died; Seth was the second born and received the inheritance. This is a picture of Adam, who died, and Christ, who lived. Abel represents Adam, Seth represents Christ, for it is through Seth that the line of Adam stays alive.

In another picture of the two Adams, Noah’s firstborn was Japeth (Gen 10:21). Ham, like Cain, was cursed because of his actions, thus we need not consider him in this scenario (Gen 9:25). Shem, the second born, is a type of the Son of God. He would receive the blessings of the first born, so the second would become the first (Gen 9:27). Shem, like Jesus, was the firstborn among many brethren. Shem’s brethren were the world through Ham and Japheth. Jesus’ brethren are the saints. Shem is the progenitor of the Hebrews, or the Israelites through whom all the world is blessed because of Abraham. The whole world is blessed through Jesus if they believe in Him. The picture of the first and last Adam is picked up again with the story of Isaac.

Abraham’s firstborn was Ishmael through Hagar an Egyptian servant of Sarah. Then Sarah bore him Isaac. Though Ishmael was blessed by God (Gen 21:13, 18), Isaac received the blessing and birthright of his father (Gen 21:12). It was through Isaac that the Hebrews lived. Next are Jacob and Esau. Jacob, the younger of the two, received the blessing. This picture holds true for Jacob’s children as well, but it is a little more muddied. Reuben was born first of Jacob’s first wife, Leah. Reuben committed adultery with Bilhah Jacob’s concubine (or lesser wife). Thus Reuben was no longer the preeminent son, similar to Cain and Ham. Joseph was born of Jacob’s second wife, Rachel. Joseph was considered by Jacob to be his number one son. Joseph was the one blessed and his blessing was from God. All ten of the sons born before Joseph bowed down to Joseph; Benjamin was not present when this occurred. Joseph is also a type of Christ who was dead to his father but found alive in Egypt and he was a king (for all intents and purposes he ruled Egypt). Benjamin is another picture of Christ, as one lost and then found. Benjamin was taken from Jacob into Egypt. That represents Christ going down to the world. The reunion of Jacob and Benjamin represents the return of Christ to the Father. Joseph’s children, Ephraim and Manasseh follow the picture. Manasseh was the firstborn, but Ephraim received the blessing. Remember that Jacob crossed his hands placing the right on Ephraim and the left on Manasseh. Ephraim, on his right hand, received the blessing. There are other examples such as David, and Solomon, but we have enough examples here to understand the point.

In other words, in most cases involving the nation of Israel and its ancestry, the first became last and the last became first. Compare Matthew 19:30: “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” And Matthew 20:16 “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” And Mark 9:35 “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” And Luke 13:30: “And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.” And many more. Again this is because Adam, God’s first man, sinned and lost his blessing and his eternal life, which caused everyone in the world to die. Christ, God’s Second Man is the One blessed and the One Who gives life back to the world.

Genesis 25:24-25 “And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. {25} And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.”

Esau means “hairy,” but since his hair was red all over his body, he became known as “Red,” or Edom. He was named Hairy, but his nickname was Red. The word ‘edom is another way of pronouncing ‘adam. The word means several things, one of which is ruddy or red. In fact, in the Hebrew, they are spelled the same with different vowel points (which did not come into existence until the Middle Ages).

Genesis 25:26 “And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.”

What does it mean to “grasp his brother’s heel”? Well let us first recognize that Jacob was a fetus at this point. He would be an infant in just a few minutes. An infant has little knowledge of anything. He knows what is instinctive, like to suck and to cry. He may have some very limited knowledge of sounds and feelings gleaned while inside the womb, but he knows very little else. A fetus or an infant, likewise, has extremely little control of the movements of his extremities. Those things are learned very quickly after birth. The fetus Jacob did not know what he was doing, nor could he control his little hand. But this act was used by God to show what kind of man Jacob would be at first. In fact, I have little doubt that God caused Jacob’s hand to grasp Esau’s heel.

The impetus here was important. It looked like little Jacob was trying to prevent Esau from being born first so that he could be first. This was the appearance to the midwife so the child was called Jacob. Jacob means “to seize by the heel” This is an idiomatic phrase which usage is to restrain, to circumvent, or to usurp. So Jacob is known as the great usurper. But he was a usurper only in human terms. God had already told that the elder would serve the younger.

Isaac was sixty. He was forty when he married Rebekah, so she was barren 20 years. I am in my sixties, and my children and grandchildren are grown and gone (I raised some of my grandchildren). Isaac was older than I am now before he had any children. The point of this digression is that age standards were very different in the days of the patriarchs.

Genesis 25:27 “And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.”

Esau was his father’s boy (“That’s my boy!”) and Jacob may have been considered a “momma’s boy.” The fact that Jacob stayed among the tents (euphemistically around the house) probably meant also that Jacob was more studious and likely better educated than Esau. Isaac was proud of Esau and he did love Jacob. Tents may be rendered “dwellings” and they may have been either permanent houses or tents.

Genesis 25:28 “And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.”

Esau was his favorite and I am sure it was obvious to all. Esau was a hunter and adventurer and was probably more like his father than Jacob was. Isaac loved his venison and of his two sons, only Esau was a hunter. It was only natural for Isaac to spend more time with Esau. Joseph, on the other hand was a home body, thus he spent more time with his mother. It is natural for some parents to favor one child over another. Isaac favored Esau; Rebekah favored Jacob.

Genesis 25:29-30 “And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: {30} And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.”

The word “sod” is the past tense of seethe. It is an obsolete word that was in use in the time the KJV was written. A synonym of “to seethe” is “to boil.” It can be used emotionally (as in “He was boiling mad!”) or it can be used literally of boiling something. The Hebrew word for boil is pronounced “zeed.” The Hebrew word for pottage is pronounced “nazeed” meaning something boiled. Jacob cooked a stew or soup. Esau was hungry so he asked Jacob for some stew. More than likely Jacob was a better cook than Esau. Esau probably never learned to cook at all. I am sure he could rustle up some grub out in the field, but likely could not actually cook in a civilized manner. Since Jacob stayed around the house he had most likely learned to cook.

The stew was red and the Bible tells us that because of that stew, Esau was called Edom, or red. It was a red bean stew or soup (Gen 25:34—lentils). And since Esau was a redhead, and that may have been another reason he was called red. Literally Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me some of that red.” In this verse, the word “pottage” is not in the Hebrew text. But to be fair, even though “pottage” is not in the original text, it is expected. An example in English is the case where someone asks “How do you want your eggs, fried or boiled?” The answer may be, “I’ll have the fried.” Even though the word “eggs” was omitted from the answer, it is still implied. A translator who translated this discourse might well supply the word “eggs” in Italic type. It is probable that Esau was nicknamed “Red” and when this incident with the stew happened it became official that Esau would be known as “Red.” It is the setting that makes it official. He was back in “town” (the tents) when he became officially known as “Red.”

Genesis 25:31-34 “And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. {32} And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? {33} And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. {34} Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

Several points. First, Jacob seemed to be engaging in banter. He was probably half serious but not all the way serious. Even if he did purchase Esau’s birthright with some stew, how would the contract be enforced? Isaac would not approve of any such thing. Esau’s statement “I am at the point of death” was nothing but hyperbole. That reinforces the idea that this was banter and not serious talk. Esau was not going to die of hunger. He was just very hungry and made this statement. Have you ever said, “I’m dying of thirst”? Or “I’m so hungry I could die”? Were you really at the point of dying of thirst or hunger? I am sure there are some people who have been at the point of death, but most are engaging in hyperbole. So, in keeping with the banter, Esau said, sure I’ll sell it, what good is it doing me now as hungry as I am? I do not believe that Esau really meant it. He was just caught up in the moment. Even if he did mean it at that moment, he did not really think his father would actually give the birthright to Jacob.

Now, at this moment, Jacob becomes really serious. He asked Esau to swear and Esau did. I do not feel that Esau took it seriously. But at this point Jacob did. Quite the sneak, wouldn’t you say? So Jacob fed Esau the red beans. Perhaps Esau was an innocent character here, but the deed was done and the deal was struck even though Esau did not really realize it. There was an offer, an acceptance, a surety, and consideration. That makes a valid contract that would hold up in any court if there were witnesses. But I cannot say that Esau was aware of what was happening. He seems to have considered it a joke; Jacob was serious. Of course later Esau really found out how serious this transaction was.

The word despise here is not used the same way we use it in our everyday language. Today when we despise something, we immensely dislike or hate it. But the biblical usage is not quite that strong. Here it means that Esau cared so little for it that is was not important to him. He rather glibly gave it up to Jacob because he was tricked. He thought so little about his birthright that he was willing to consider it a light and unimportant thing. That is how he despised it. He did not hate it; he just did not deem it important. Take a note. Some of the things we deem important are not and many of the things we deem unimportant are. We must use discernment. The Holy Spirit provides that.

Genesis 26:1 “And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.”

This story parallels that of Abraham. Then, Abraham went into Egypt and called Sarah his sister. There is another time that Abraham went to went to Gerar and told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister. What is the time frame here? Isaac was born about one year after Abraham left Gerar. When Isaac went to Gerar, it was some time after the death of Abraham. So it was at least seventy-five years or more after Abraham went to Gerar and deceived Abimelech. It may have been a hundred. But it was long enough that this Abimelech must have been a descendant of the Abimelech of Abraham’s day.

Abimelech means “my father is king” or “father of the king” or even “royal father.” This was more than likely the name that the King of the Philistines took for himself when he was crowned. This Abimlelch was not the same man as the one Abraham dealt with, but his successor. Note the similarities between the two stories.

Genesis 26:2-5 “And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: {3} Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; {4} And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; {5} Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

When the famine came God appeared to Isaac and restated the Abrahamic covenant to him. It is basically the same covenant God made with Abraham. It is unconditional because of Abraham’s faith and obedience. God told Isaac to stay in Gerar and out of Egypt. God told Isaac that He would take care of him.

Genesis 26:6-7 “And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: {7} And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.”

Here we go again! From the next verse it is obvious that the king thought Rebekah was Isaac’s sister as well. Remember that Rebekah was “vehemently” beautiful, very attractive. Isaac lived in the city of Gerar.

Genesis 26:8 “And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.”

The Hebrew for “sporting” is tsaqach, and it means to laugh, sport, play, make sport, toy with, or make a toy of. From the context we can discern that this sporting was sexual in nature. Isaac toyed with his wife in a sexually provocative way and Abimlelch, who saw it, knew it was sexual. It proved to Abimelech that Rebekah was the wife and not the sister of Isaac. This was the type of play that only a married couple would engage in. Sister and brother would not.

Genesis 26:9-10 “And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. {10} And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.”

Again, there is no doubt about the sporting; it was proof that they were married. In the story of Abraham and Abimelech, Abimelech had already added Sarah to his harem. He had never touched her, but she was in his possession. Here Rebekah had not been taken into the king’s harem, but the king was worried that someone else might attempt to take her. So he called Isaac on the carpet.

Genesis 26:11 “And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

This satisfied the fears of both men. Isaac feared that someone would kill him and take his beautiful wife. Abimelech feared that God would punish his kingdom if someone took Isaac’s wife. He was probably aware of the former Abimelech’s brush with God. Perhaps they were father and son and Abimelech the father told Abimelech the son about Abraham. (See Psalm 105:14-15).

Genesis 26:12-15 “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. {13} And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: {14} For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. {15} For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.”

Isaac had inherited the greatest portion of his father’s wealth. But Abraham had many sons and each of them received something (Gen 25:6) diminishing the wealth given to Isaac. But God blessed Isaac and made him very wealthy. Isaac’s agricultural efforts in Gerar added to the wealth he inherited. Isaac was prosperous even though Abraham’s wells were stopped up. This made the Philistines jealous. Of course, this probably created tension between the Philistines and Isaac.

Genesis 26:16-17 “And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. {17} And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.”

Isaac left the city of Gerar and moved into the country in the valley of the Gerar River. Today the river Esh-Sheriah runs near the tell (or hill) that is thought to be the ruins of ancient Gerar. Sheriah could easily be a corruption of Gerar, meaning that the river was perhaps once called the Gerar. The context of the passage implies a river called Gerar. It would have been a dry riverbed most of the year, running only in the wet season.

Genesis 26:18 “And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.”

Isaac’s men unstopped the wells plugged by the Philistines. Many of those wells exist today. There are shrines at many of them. God does not want us to make shrines of historical places. He wants us to put our faith in Him, not in shrines.

Genesis 26:19-22 “And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. {20} 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. {21} And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. {22} And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

There was quite a bit of disquiet in the place of the Phillistines. They were jealous and took advantage of Isaac whenever they could. Isaac’s men dug three wells before the Philistines were quieted. Esek means strife; Rehoboth means a broad area.

Genesis 26:23-25 “And he went up from thence to Beersheba. {24} And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake. {25} And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.”

Beersheba means “the well of the oath” It was dug by Abraham during his sojourn in Gerar. God again reiterated the covenant to Isaac.

Genesis 26:26 “Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.”

Do not panic. Do not let anyone tell you this is the same story told twice in the Bible purporting it to be about two different men. Some will use this to disprove the Bible. Didn’t Phichol and Abimelech come also to Abraham at this exact spot? Is not this then the same story that has been corrupted? No. Phichol is a Philistine word that means strong or mighty. It is a perfect title for the top general of the Philistines. There were several generals referred to as Phichol. The Hebrew the word “phichol” means whole mouth (Strong’s 6369).

Genesis 26:27-33 “And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you? {28} 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; {29} That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD. {30} And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. {31} And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. {32} And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water. {33} And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.”

Note the similarity between these events and those that happened in Abraham’s time. It is no coincident. The same problems arose with Isaac that had arisen with his father and they were worked out in a similar fashion.

Genesis 26:34-35 “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: {35} Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.”

Esau married a Canaanite. Abraham had sent all the way to Nahor for Rebekah and both she and Isaac were very aware that this was so that Abraham’s son would not marry a Canaanite. And after all that their very son was now marrying a Canaanite. That is why it grieved them.

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