Genesis

Genesis 26:1-33 Blessing And Envy.

There was a famine in the land, but the LORD did not want Isaac to leave the land promised to Abraham. The promise was embedded in the covenantal oath which the LORD swore to Abraham, which would now pass through Isaac to Jacob, because Abraham obeyed the law-word of the covenant (vv. 1-5). However, like his father before him, Isaac deceived the people of the land, including King Abimelech, telling Rebekah to say that she was his sister. However, in God’s providence no one violated her, but had they done so they would have been put to death (vv. 6-11). This also shows how weak the faith was of these patriarchs. When this truth was finally out in the open, then Isaac began to prosper, whereas before his faith was simply treading water.

Then as usually happens, his neighbours, who did not know God, envied him, and out of envy stopped up his wells. Envy knows it does not have what another has, and rather than find out why and seek to emulate them, they seek to stop that blessing anyway they can. As also happens in our day, the king supported this theft, and in effect legalized it (vv. 12-16). However, Isaac moved on, and not being deterred from the promise, dug up other wells first dug by his father, as in fact his inheritance. Isaac’s servants would dig more wells, and again out of envy, his opponents would claim them for themselves (vv. 17-22). They had to go on until they finally were able to keep a well apparently too far for their opponents to go-Rehoboth-space to dwell and be fruitful (vv. 23-25).

Despite driving them away, Abimelech could clearly see that Isaac was continuing to prosper, and since he could not beat him, he decided it might be better to join him, and so he sought to renew the treaty he had made with Abraham (21:31). Abimelech openly lied to him, saying that they did him no harm, but only good, sending them away in peace, when they drove them away because out of envy they kept stealing their wells. In fact, they claimed that Isaac prospered because of their good will, even though they not only did not dig wells, but filled in those dug by Abraham. Nevertheless, Isaac swore an oath with them and established a treaty, and that same day his servants again struck water, and they named the well ‘Shebah’ meaning oath or seven, and the city Beershebah-well of the oath or seven (vv. 26-33).

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