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Genesis Chapter Twenty-Six


I. Content of the Chapter


The Generation of Isaac

A.  He went to Gerar for the sake of famine (v.1);

B.  God appeared to him for the first time (v.2-5);

C.  He called his wife Rebekah sister (v.6-11);

D.  He was envied by Philistines and moved to the Valley of Gerar (v.12-17);

E.  He was forced to move away from Gerar (v.18-22);

F.   God revealed to Isaac for the second time and he built the altar in Beersheba and pitched the tent (v.23-25);

G.  Isaac and Abimelech did not encroach on one another (v.26-31);

H.  Isaac dug the well and received water in Beersheba (v.32-33);

I.     Esau took wives, the daughters of the Hittite, and they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah (v.34-35);


II. Verse by Verse Commentary


Gen. 26:1There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

YLT: “And there is a famine in the land, besides the first famine which was in the days of Abraham, and Isaac goeth unto Abimelech king of the Philistines, to Gerar.”

Meaning of Words: “Gerar”: the sojourning place, a rolling country; “Philistines”: migratory, rolling; “Abimelech”: the king of my father;

Literal Meaning: “the land”, it was Beersheba in the south (see 22:19) where was little rain but frequent famine (see 12:10). It was about eighty years between the two famines (see 12:10).

  “Abimelech” was the title of the king of “the Philistines” (Ps. 34 the title; 1Sam.21:10-15). This Abimelech was different from that in the times of Abraham (see 20:2). Probably, he was the children of that Abimelech.

Spiritual Meaning: the Philestines in the Bible typify the flesh. And Garar typifies the wisdom and conscience of the flesh (see the commentary of 21:1). In this chapter, the strife between Isaac between the Philistines typifies the experiences of believers of the strife between the Spirit and the flesh (Gal. 5:17).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Man’s real spiritual condition is difficult to be revealed in peaceful environments. It pleases God that man loves Him in spite of difficulties.

  2) Suffering is the best school for faith. God often trains His servants by famines to establish their faith in Him.

  3) When believers have not been spiritually satisfied (“famine”), they often turn to fleshly assistance (“went to … in Gerar”) and intend to resolve spiritual problems by carnal means. This is the beginning of our decline.


Gen. 26:2Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.

YLT: “And Jehovah appeareth unto him, and saith, `Go not down towards Egypt, tabernacle in the land concerning which I speak unto thee,”

The Background: Abraham went to Egypt for the sake of famine, and he failed and lay there. However, he was kept by God (see 12:10-20).

Literal Meaning: “the land of which I shall tell you”, it was the land of Canaan, and Gerar was in the southeastern part of the land of Canaan. Probably, Isaac was hesitated about whether he would go to Egypt.

Spiritual Meaning: Egypt typifies the world, especially the physical life of the world. The land of Canaan typifies Christ. The will of God is that we believers who abide in Christ (John 15:4) shall overcome the world (John 16:33).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) When God appears to man, true faith starts. Man shall never have true faith if he has not met God.

  2) If one has truly met God, he will obey utterly. Today, the worst imperfection of the Christianity is to exhort man to obey God without leading him to meet God directly.

  3) As long as believers keep the instruction of God, they will be satisfied no matter where they are.

  4) Both Abraham and Isaac went to the way to Egypt when they were faced with famines, which indicated that men’s responses to the environment are nearly the same, no matter who he is or which times he lives in.

  5) God allowed Abraham to go to Egypt, but hindered Isaac from going there. Therefore, God leads each one in different ways.

  6) It was not the original will of God of allowing Isaac to live in Gerar, but an expediency to hinder him from going to Egypt. Therefore, God’s “permission” is different from God’s “will”. Let believers seek the “will” of God instead of being happy with God’s “permission”.


Gen. 26:3Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.

YLT: “sojourn in this land, and I am with thee, and bless thee, for to thee and to thy seed I give all these lands, and I have established the oath which I have sworn to Abraham thy father;”

Literal Meaning: here it indicates that all the blessings of God to Abraham are given to Isaac.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) That God is with us is the manifest token of God’s blessings, for God is the greatest portion of us (Ps. 16:5).

  2) It is possible for a sojourner to be persecuted in a foreign land. However, as long as God is with us, we will fear nothing (Ps. 23:4).

  3) Isaac dwelt in “this land” first and then possessed “this land”. Concerning the knowledge of any aspect of the truth, believers shall firstly have personal experiences of the truth and then truly possess the truth.

  4) The biggest reason for Isaac’s being favored is that he lived in the promised land all his life.

  5) Believers can do nothing without the Lord. And we will be withered without the Lord. We shall bear much fruit only when we abide in the Lord (John 15:5).

  6) Our faith in the promise of God will be tried and deepened in difficulties.

  7) No affliction can decrease the true value of God’s promise in the sight of one who has confidence.


Gen. 26:4And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;

YLT: “and I have multiplied thy seed as stars of the heavens, and I have given to thy seed all these lands; and blessed themselves in thy seed have all nations of the earth;”

Literal Meaning: I will give to your descendants all these lands”, “these lands” refer to the whole land of Canaan including Gerar (see 15:18). Afterwards, the king David conquered the whole land of the Philistines (2Sam. 5:25; 8:1), thus fulfilling this promise.

Spiritual Meaning: “seed”, the singular form refers to Christ, who is a grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies and then bears much fruit (John 12:24) like “the innumerable stars of heaven” and draws all to Him (John 12:32) so that all the nations are blessed due to Him.


Gen. 26:5because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

YLT: “because that Abraham hath hearkened to My voice, and keepeth My charge, My commands, My statutes, and My laws.'”

Literal Meaning: “statutes”: the rules concerning the priests and sacrifices; “laws”: teachings and warnings for men to keep the statutes;

  Here it means that obedience to the “voice” of God includes keeping His “charge and commandments and statutes and laws”. These words indicate the utter obedience of Abraham to the will of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The blessings of God’s promise come upon us. Though it is of the grace of God, it still needs our cooperation. Believers will be blessed if they obey the voice of God.

  2) Let us not only obey the general will of God but also obey the special will of God.

  3) Only those who trust in God completely will hear all the word of God.

  4) God blessed Isaac for the sake of Abraham, so the condition of the previous generation influences the next generation. Parents shall take heed of themselves for the sake of children.


Gen. 26:6So Isaac dwelt in Gerar.

YLT: “And Isaac dwelleth in Gerar;”

Literal Meaning: “dwelt”, in the original, this word means departing from one’s own house and staying in a new place for a period (see 4:16; 13:18; 19:30)

Enlightenment in the Word: the promises and comfort of God encourage believers who are in weakness lest they should fall into the world (“Egypt”).


Gen. 26:7And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, “She is my sister”; for he was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” because he thought, “lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.”

YLT: “and men of the place ask him of his wife, and he saith, `She my sister:' for he hath been afraid to say, `My wife -- lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, for she of good appearance.'”

Meaning of Words: Rebekah”: charming, attractive;

The Background: Abraham had twice called his wife sister (see 12:11-13, 20:2).

Literal Meaning: “was afraid to… lest”, Isaac feared for the lack of faith, but it turned out to be unnecessary of his fear, for he stayed there for a long time in peace (see v.8).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Isaac’s fear showed that he forgot the promise of God that he would be with him. Though we have heard the word of God, if it is not mixed with faith in us, the word of God does not profit us (Heb. 4:2). 

  2) “Fear” opens the door to Satan. Let believer trust in God in fear (Ps. 56:3) so that he will not fall and make mistakes.

  3) Isaac repeated his father Abraham’s mistake, which pointed us that everyman has the tendency of imitating both the advantages and even disadvantages of those whom we respect.

  4) Both Abraham and Isaac had great faith, but they still made mistakes and told lies. Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1Cor. 10:12).

  5) “To be beautiful to behold” is a blessing that the common people earnestly long for. However, it made Isaac fearful. People in the world fear affliction because of blessing, and obtain blessing on account of affliction. They cannot predict their destiny. No matter blessing or disaster, both are vanities under the sun (Eccl. 2:1). Only spiritual blessings abide forever.


Gen. 26:8Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing endearment to Rebekah his wife.

YLT: “And it cometh to pass, when the days have been prolonged to him there, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looketh through the window, and seeth, and lo, Isaac is playing with Rebekah his wife.”

Meaning of Words: “endearment”: laugh, play, laugh outright;

Literal Meaning: “endearment”, its meaning in the original is close to “Isaac”, so it is a pun upon the word “Isaac”.

Enlightenment in the Word: it is said that “walls have ears”, here it is that “windows have eyes”. There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known (Matt. 10:26).


Gen. 26:9Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Quite obviously she is your wife; so how could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die on account of her.’”

YLT: “And Abimelech calleth for Isaac, and saith, `Lo, she surely thy wife; and how hast thou said, She my sister?' and Isaac saith unto him, `Because I said, Lest I die for her.'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Any lie will only receive temporary effect, but will be exposed sooner or later.

  2) It is much ignominious for the children of God to be reproached by the world.


Gen. 26:10And Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might soon have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us.”

YLT: “And Abimelech saith, `What this thou hast done to us? as a little thing one of the people had lain with thy wife, and thou hadst brought upon us guilt;'”

Literal Meaning: “have brought guilt on us”, probably it was because the previous Abimelech was instructed by God, so here this Abimelech knew it would sin against God if one touched another one’s wife (see 20:6, 9).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) If we believers do not take heed of our word, we may fall into sins.

  2) An insignificant sin may become the entrance of many sins.


Gen. 26:11So Abimelech charged all his people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

YLT: “and Abimelech commandeth all the people, saying, `He who cometh against this man or against his wife, dying doth die.'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) He who rules in the world is the minister of God (Rom. 13:4). Let believers pray for all who are in authority so that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life (1Tim. 2:1-2).

  2) He who does not believe in the Lord also seeks righteousness and legality. Believers are not chosen for they are more righteous than the world, but of the utter grace of God.


Gen. 26:12Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him.

YLT: “And Isaac soweth in that land, and findeth in that year a hundredfold, and Jehovah blesseth him;”

Literal Meaning: “the same year”: the year in which the famine appeared. When people had no harvest, Isaac reaped a great one.

  “Hundredfold”, it is an approximate number, which indicates that Isaac got the richest harvest (Matt. 13:8).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Isaac was greatly blessed due to his obedience to God’s guidance. However, many people suffer a lot of losses and afflictions on account of disobedience.

  2) He who confides in God completely will be fully supplied and be satisfied in the days of famine (Ps. 37:19).

  3) Man sows, but God gives the harvest. He who does not sow will never expect harvest. However, he who sows shall still look for the blessings of God.


Gen. 26:13The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;

YLT: “and the man is great, and goeth on, going on and becoming great, till that he hath been very great,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) It is not sin of being rich. God is willing to make us abundant and prosperous.

  2) Our prosperity is not of our own ability, but of God.

  3) God’s blessing is occasional, but continual (“continued prospering”) unto the fulfillment of His purpose.


Gen. 26:14for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.

YLT: “and he hath possession of a flock, and possession of a herd, and an abundant service; and the Philistines envy him,”

Literal Meaning: it was not the original will of God that Isaac dwelt in Gerar, but the expedient permission. From this verse, God led him to Beersheba again through environmental elements.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The wealth of believers is both a blessing of God as well as a trial, which may make believers suffer spiritual loss or be envied.

  2) Sometimes, those who seek worldly wealth may be jealous of the testimony of believers’ being blessed, so they get hostile to them.


Gen. 26:15Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth.

YLT: “and all the wells which his father's servants digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines have stopped them, and fill them with dust.”

The Background: wells in the south of Palestine could be divided into “the common well” and “the well of running water”. The common well was an impounding reservoir ---- which was a big hole dug beneath the ground unto the stone bed. And the water therein was uneasy to seep away. And then a channel was dug along the mountain to lead the rainwater to the poor. The other kind of well was the well out of which there was living spring. Such “well of running water” was rather rare there. 

Literal Meaning: here the well refers to the common well, namely, the reservoir. If the channel was stopped up with mud and dust, the well could not store water. “Stopped up all the wells” means cutting off the source of men’s living and depriving of them all the rights of living there. The Philistines even denied the covenant made with Abraham for the sake of jealousy (see 21:22-32).

Spiritual Meaning: “well” typifies Christ. To dig the well means seeking Christ. “The wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham”, it typifies all the servants who were used by the Lord in the past generations ---- they sought the Lord Jesus and knew Him and understood Him. In other words, all the spiritual riches of Christ that saints had received in the past generations were wells of Abraham. The water out of the wells of Abraham were for the cattle and sheep at that time to drink, which indicated that the pursuit of Christ at that time was for the purpose of the need of the people of God. However, the wells of Abraham were stopped up, and Isaac had to dig the wells again.

  Isaac dug his father Abraham’s wells again, which also indicated that believers had ever been filled with the Spirit and then were stopped up by sins and lusts. Therefore to dig the wells again also means unclogging the wells.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) God is not pleased to let us stay always in the land with hundredfold harvest and enjoy the elementary blessings of God instead of seeking deeper spiritual achievements. If we are unwilling to positively seek God, He will raise the environmental elements to stir us up to pursue Him.

  2) Since the conscience of the world is limited, let us not expect them to keep the promises permanently.

  3) That the Philistines stopped up all the wells profited them nothing. Jealousy often drives man crazy and makes man hurt the other side at the cost of sacrificing himself.


Gen. 26:16And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

YLT: “And Abimelech saith unto Isaac, `Go from us; for thou hast become much mightier than we;'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) When people in the world continue to lead an evil and godless life, they will be hostile to the presence of the people of God.

  2) The arrogant one can only bear the weaker one instead of the stronger one.

  3) It is easy for men to go through tribulations rather than share prosperity.


Gen. 26:17Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

YLT: “and Isaac goeth from thence, and encampeth in the valley of Gerar, and dwelleth there;”

Literal Meaning: the Canaanites were mostly inhabited on the mountain areas, and valleys were for the purpose of pasturage and planting. For this reason, all the wealthy families dwelt in the fortresses on the mountain. And the lower one dwelt on the mountain slope, the poorer he was and the lower his status was. Therefore, when Isaac moved from Gerar to the Valley of Gerar and pitched his tent, obviously he was despised there.

Spiritual Meaning: “the Valley of Gerar”: deep and narrow valley; “deep valley” typifies seeking Christ deep into Him with a humble spirit (poor in spirit); “narrow valley” typifies the way of life (see Matt. 7:13-14). “Deep and narrow” speak of the hidden and secret things, namely, the secret pursuit; we need not only the gathering open in public but also the private life of pursuing the Lord.

  Pitched his tent”, it typifies the life of a sojourner. Concerning life experiences, we are sojourners in the world, and the world is merely a place for sojourn. Therefore, we are not supposed to take root in the world.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) There would be a great loss for Isaac of his being forced to leave. However, he obeyed God and received all the arrangements of God from His hands.

  2) Though the Philistines stopped up the wells, and Isaac still dwelt in the tents ---- sometimes even though we are seemingly withered, let us still abide in the Lord by faith, not by feelings.

  3) If we want to seek Christ, we have to learn to be humble before the Lord, for whenever we think we are rich and become self-content our spiritual increase will be immediately suspended.


Gen. 26:18And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.

YLT: “and Isaac turneth back, and diggeth the wells of water which they digged in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines do stop after the death of Abraham, and he calleth to them names according to the names which his father called them.”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Even though many saints in the past generations had passed down us a great deal of spiritual riches and truth, we shall still have the “first-hand” spiritual pursuit and knowledge.

  2) Thanks the Lord! Compositions of saints in the past generations had passed down us many ancient wells (spiritual possession of riches) to inherit. Today, whether there is living water running out of the ancient wells depends upon whether we dig the wells again.

  3) Our previous spiritual experiences and joy may be stopped up by the flesh (“the Philistines”). Therefore, let us dig the wells all the time to seek new experiences and joy every day. 


Gen. 26:19Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there.

YLT: “And Isaac's servants dig in the valley, and find there a well of living water,”

Literal Meaning: found a well of running water there”, “a well of running water”, it refers to the well out of which there is running water. Such kind of well was rather rare in the Palestinian land.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) God gave Isaac a well of running water since he did not contend with the enemy with tolerance and was willing to suffer loss.

  2) Wells that are stopped up by man will also become dry. Even though they were not stopped up, they would still become deserted wells sooner or later. However, the water runs out of wells gifted by God runs forever.


Gen. 26:20But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they quarreled with him.

YLT: “and shepherds of Gerar strive with shepherds of Isaac, saying, `The water ours;' and he calleth the name of the well `Strife,' because they have striven habitually with him;”

Meaning of Words: Esek”: struggle, strife, argument;

Spiritual Meaning: the herdsmen of Gerar”, the Philistines typify our flesh and lusts.

  Isaac’s herdsmen” typify our spirits. The spirit and flesh of believers strive with one another (Gal. 5:17).

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Let each believer be a man walking according to the Spirit, not the flesh (Rom. 8:4).

  2) If we walk according to the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).


Gen. 26:21Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he called its name Sitnah.

YLT: “and they dig another well, and they strive also for it, and he calleth its name `Hatred.'”

Meaning of Words: Sitnah”: hostility, enmity;

Literal Meaning: “enmity” is more serious than “strife”, which showed that the Philistines persecuted more and more serious.


Gen. 26:22And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

YLT: “And he removeth from thence, and diggeth another well, and they have not striven for it, and he calleth its name Enlargements, and saith, `For -- now hath Jehovah given enlargement to us, and we have been fruitful in the land.'”

Meaning of Words: Rehoboth”: width, largeness, liberty;

Literal Meaning: there the scriptures tell us the character of Isaac and the nature of his faith. On one hand, Isaac was a gentle and calm person, who was unwilling to contend with those who took his well. On the other hand, Isaac was a persevering person, who continued digging his wells quietly until he dug a well which could not be taken by the enemy. He called the well “Rehoboth”, which means largeness. Isaac was a man with full rest, who earnestly kept his mission. It is just such kind of persevering faith that made him fully blessed by God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The loss we suffer for the sake of obeying the Lord is a trivial matter if it is in contrast to the blessings given by the Lord for this sake.

  2) If we are hated by someone for no reason, it will be the best way for us to “leave” him. Do not avenge yourselves but rather give place to wrath (Rom. 12:19).

  3) A proverb goes like this, “back a step of boundless”. Persecutions led Isaac to a large place. The external contention enlarges the inner capacity of Isaac. If man is willing to not contend with others for the sake of the Lord, the Lord will reward him with His infinite Himself.


Gen. 26:23Then he went up from there to Beersheba.

YLT: “And he goeth up from thence Beer-Sheba,”

Meaning of Words: Beersheba”: well of oath, well of seven;

The Background: Beersheba” was the place where Isaac lived with his father long and had good spiritual life there (see 21:31-33; 22:19). Therefore, here it was the place mostly fitted the will of God.


Gen. 26:24And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”

YLT: “and Jehovah appeareth unto him during that night, and saith, `I the God of Abraham thy father, fear not, for I with thee, and have blessed thee, and have multiplied thy seed, because of Abraham My servant;'”

Literal Meaning: “the LORD appeared to him the same night”, “the same night”, the night during which Isaac went to Beersheba, which showed that this returning back to Beersheba conformed to the will of God.

    “My servant Abraham”, this is the only verse in the Book of Genesis calling Abraham as “God’s servant”, which indicated that Abraham obeyed God as a servant.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) That a man returns back to the right position pleases God.

  2) Every time when God appears to man, there will be new blessings and grace. Therefore, if a man desires to experience spiritual riches, he should receive many times of revelations of God.

  3) God mentions His promise again, which indicates that He is a God who never changes. All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen (2Cor. 1:20).


Gen. 26:25So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.

YLT: “and he buildeth there an altar, and preacheth in the name of Jehovah, and stretcheth out there his tent, and there Isaac's servants dig a well.”

Literal Meaning: it is the response of Isaac to God’s manifestation and promise to built the altar and called on the name of the Lord (see 12:7-8).

Spiritual Meaning: this verse speaks of several elements of believers’ spiritual life:

  1. Build the altar: worship God and have fellowship with God;

  2. Call on the name of God: believe in God;

  3. Pitch the tent: keep the position of a sojourner on the earth;

  4. Dig the well: seek spiritual provisions;

Enlightenment in the Word: it is first building the altar and then pitching the tent. And man will have a normal life after yielding himself to God.


Gen. 26:26Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol the commander of his army.

YLT: “And Abimelech hath gone unto him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath his friend, and Phichol head of his host;”

Meaning of Words: “Ahuzzath”: seize closely, my possession; “Phichol”: strong, eloquent, command, control;

Literal Meaning: “one of his friends”, probably he was the counselor of the nation who much obeyed him; “Phichol”, it was said that “Phichol” was not a human name, but an address of a military commander; even though it was a name, it was definitely not the “Phichol” in the times of Abraham. Probably, they were the same person with the same name (see 21:22). In a word, Abimelech brought his civil official and military official of the highest level to meet Isaac. .


Gen. 26:27And Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?”

YLT: “and Isaac saith unto them, `Wherefore have ye come unto me, and ye have hated me, and ye send me away from you?'”


Gen. 26:28But they said, “We have certainly seen that the Lord is with you. So we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you,

YLT: “And they say, `We have certainly seen that Jehovah hath been with thee, and we say, `Let there be, we pray thee, an oath between us, between us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The presence of God is visible to believers themselves as well as to even the world.

  2) If Isaac stayed in Gerar, hatred and strife were unavoidable. However, when he got to Beersheba, he got peace ---- the mind of the flesh is death, and the mind of the Spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:6)


Gen. 26:29that you will do us no harm, since we have not touched you, and since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord.’”

YLT: “do not evil with us, as we have not touched thee, and as we have only done good with thee, and send thee away in peace; thou now blessed of Jehovah.'”

Literal Meaning: “since we have not touched you”, actually it was not right, for the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen (see v.19-21).


Gen. 26:30So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.

YLT: “And he maketh for them a banquet, and they eat and drink,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) The right attitude for us to deal with the world is separation from them on one hand (2Cor. 6:17) and learning to treat them well.

  2) Believers should often hold feasts for the sake of the gospel for the world to provide the salvation of Christ to them.


Gen. 26:31Then they arose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

YLT: “and rise early in the morning, and swear one to another, and Isaac sendeth them away, and they go from him in peace.”

Literal Meaning: “Isaac sent them away”, it meant that Isaac went with them and sent them away (see 18:16).


Gen. 26:32It came to pass the same day that Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.”

YLT: “And it cometh to pass during that day that Isaac's servants come and declare to him concerning the circumstances of the well which they have digged, and say to him, `We have found water;'”

Literal Meaning: it mentioned that the servants of Isaac dug a well in Beersheba in verse 25, but they did not find water until Isaac swore an oath with Abimelech.

Enlightenment in the Word:

  1) Whenever the estrangement of believers with others is removed, they will be filled with the Spirit again and shed abundant living water.

  2) We deny ourselves and sacrifice and withdraw first, and then get life and grace and blessings.


Gen. 26:33So he called it Shebah. Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.

YLT: “and he calleth it Shebah, therefore the name of the city Beer-Sheba, unto this day.”

Meaning of Words: “Shebah”: oath, rich; “Beersheba”: the well of oath;

Literal Meaning: Abraham also dug a well in “Beersheba” (see 21:31). Probably Abraham occupied a smaller part of Beersheba, but now Isaac enlarged the area to the whole city as he mentioned again the name of this place called by his father.


Gen. 26:34When Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.

YLT: “And Esau is a son of forty years, and he taketh a wife, Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath, daughter of Elon the Hittite,”

Meaning of Words: “Beeri”: interpreter, owner of the spring; “Judith”: of the Jews; “Elon”: strong, oak; “Hittite”: odor, pleasure;

Literal Meaning: “when Esau was forty years old”, Isaac was just one hundred years old at that time (see 25:26).


Gen. 26:35And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.

YLT: “and they are a bitterness of spirit to Isaac and to Rebekah.”

Literal Meaning: probably it was because they were zealous of worshiping idolatry so that Isaac and Rebekah were anxious about the faith of the descendants.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Like Father, Like Son

A.  Isaac had the same experiences with Abraham:

1.  Move because of the famine (v.1; 12:10);

2.  Receive the revelation of God (v.2, 24; 17:1; 18:1);

3.  Obtain the promises of God (v.3-5; 12:2-3; 15:5-8; 22:17-18);

4.  Quarrel with the local people for the sake of digging the wells (v.20-21; 21:25);

5.  Make a covenant with Abimelech in Beersheba (v.26-31; 21:27-32);

B.  Isaac had the same weaknesses with Abraham:

1.  Call their wives sisters (v.7; 12:11-13; 20:2);

2.  Be rebuked by Abimelech, king of Gerar (v.9-10; 20:9-10);

C.  Differences of the same experience of Isaac and Abraham:

1.  God did not allow Isaac go to Egypt, and Abraham had ever been to Egypt (v.2; 12:10);

2.  God was with Isaac apparently, and God kept Abraham secretly (v.3; 20:3);

3.  Rebekah was not taken by Abimelech, but Sarah had ever been taken (v.8-9; 20:2);

4.  Isaac sowed and received a great harvest, and Abraham received many gifts (v.12-13; 12:16; 20:14-16);

5.  Isaac was forced to leave Gerar, and Abraham was allowed to sojourn there (v.20-23; 20:15; 21:34);

6.  Isaac was grieved at the gentile daughters-in-law when he was one hundred years old, and Abraham rejoiced for the birth of his son when he was one hundred years old (v.34-35; 21:5-6);


Isaac Typifies the Lord Jesus

A.  Isaac sought food for the sake of famine, and the Lord Jesus sought water because of thirst (v.1; John 4:7);

B.  Isaac remained in Gerar because of keeping the will of God, and the Lord Jesus came to Samaria because of keeping the will of the one who sent Him (v.2, 6; John 4:34, 5);

C.  Isaac dug the well and obtained running water, and the Lord Jesus revealed the living water through the water of the well (v.18-19; John 4:6-10);

D.  Isaac made a covenant with the Gentiles, and the Lord brought salvation to the Samaritans (v.26-31; John 4:39-42);

E.  Isaac met God in different places, and the Lord Jesus revealed that the worship of God the Father was not restricted by places (v.2, 24; John 4:21);


Reasons for Isaac’s Blessedness

A.  For the sake of his father Abraham (v.5, 24);

B.  For he kept the instruction of God and did not leave the south land (v.2-3);

C.  For God was with him (v.3, 24, 28);


Characteristics of the Whole Life of Isaac

A.  He had never been away from the land of Canaan (v.2);

B.  He enjoyed the covering of his father (v.3-5, 24);

C.  He farmed and shepherded(v.12-14);

D.  He stepped aside without strife (v.18-22, 27);

E.  He dug many wells (v.18-25, 32);


Elements of Believers’ Spiritual Life (v.25)

A.  Build an altar ---- worship God and have fellowship with God;

B.  Call on the name of the Lord ---- believe in God;

C.  Pitch the tent ---- sojourn on the earth;

D.  Dig the well ---- seek the fountain of running water ---- seek spiritual provision;


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

Translated by Mary Zhou