Part 11 Book of Genesis
Abraham is 175 years old when he dies. Ishmael and Isaac bury him in the cave of Machpelah which Abraham has previously purchased from Ephron. After his death God blessed Isaac and Isaac settles at the well of Lahairoi.
Ishmael’s twelve sons are named--they are twelve tribes. Ishmael dies at 137 years old and his kin lived in the area from Egypt to what is now Saudi Arabia.
The brief history of Isaac is told in this short section.
Esau grows up to be a skillful hunter and Jacob a mother’s boy. Isaac favored Esau because he enjoyed eating game, Rebekah favors Jacob. Once when Jacob is cooking a stew his brother Esau comes in from hunting and is famished. He tells Jacob to give him some of the stew and Jacob says, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau is so hungry he cavalierly says OK because he is, “at the point of death” for hunger. Jacob makes him swear to it and Esau swears. Thus did Esau spurn his birthright.
There is a famine in the land and Isaac goes to King Abimelech’s area in Gerar. The Lord had appeared to Isaac and told him not to go to Egypt, to stay in the land God will point out to him. Isaac is told to stay in this land and God will be with him always, bless him, and give all this land to his heirs. God tells him his descendants will be as numerous as the stars of heaven, his heirs will inherit the land, and all nations will be blessed by his heirs.
26.6-11 So Isaac stays in Gerar with Abimelech the Philistine and when asked about his wife he says she is his sister. He fears they might kill him because she is beautiful and some man would want her. As time passed one day Abimelech sees Isaac fondling his wife. He sends for Isaac and scolds him for pretending. Abimelech says that someone might have taken her and that Isaac would be to blame. He instructs his men to not touch Isaac or Rebekah or they will be put to death.
We see Isaac repeating the same action as his father Abraham--pretending his wife is his sister. Abimelech must have rolled his eyes and thought, “Like father like son.” The lesson here is that each generation must learn and go through their own growing pains. Spiritually we must each learn our lessons. We must each have our personal salvation experience with God. Our father, mother, brother, sister, or friend cannot save us--we need to have our individual decision for or against God. Isaac was growing in the Lord through his missteps.
26.12-16 Isaac sowed in the land and reaps a hundred fold. He grows very wealthy as he is blessed in all that he does. He acquires flocks and herds and a large household of servants. The Philistines are jealous of his wealth and begin to stop up the wells his father dug, filling them with earth. Abimelech tells him to relocate to another area as Isaac is overtaking them in the land.
26.17-22 Isaac departs and settles nearby. He re-digs his father’s wells and names them with the same names as his father had given them. The herdsmen of Gerar quarrel with him over two wells and Isaac moves from those areas. He digs a third well and they did not quarrel over it--so that is where he stayed.
Isaac had to keep moving until he got to the place the Lord wanted him to be. Sometimes the Lord moves us through outside pressure until we are in the place He desires for us.
26.23-33 From this location Isaac moves to Beer-sheba where the Lord appears to him and restates the covenant with Isaac and his father Abraham. He is going to be blessed and will increase because God has sworn to his father Abraham. Isaac builds an altar there and begins to dig a new well.
Abimelech now comes to Isaac and asks for a covenant of peace between them. Isaac is concerned but Abimelech sees how God has blessed Isaac and wants to make a pact. They both promise to do no harm to each other. They bless Isaac in the name of the Lord and cut covenant with a feast. After Abimelech leaves Isaac’s servants report the new well has struck water. Isaac names the well “An oath”.
Isaac, even though greater than Abimelech, moved away. Finally he is located where God wants him to be. Then Abimelech understands that Isaac is blessed of the Lord--he is a light to the world. Abimelech comes to Isaac and makes peace with him. When we stand fast with the Lord many unbelievers will be turned. That turning is like a well of living water that springs forth. This is what this mini story is revealing.
26.34-35 The narrative now speaks of Esau, who is now 40 years old, intermarrying with the people around him. Abraham had taken great pains to see that Isaac took a wife from among the clan. This action of Esau is a source of bitterness to his mother and father and shows Esau’s unworthiness to serve as the next patriarch of the family.
Next: Part 12