Isaac Lies to Abimelech
26 Now there was a famine. This was like the famine that happened during Abraham’s life. So Isaac went to the town of Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines. 2 The Lord spoke to Isaac and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt. Live in the land that I commanded you to live in. 3 Stay in this land, and I will be with you. I will bless you. I will give you and your family all these lands. I will do what I promised to Abraham your father. 4 I will make your family as many as the stars of heaven, and I will give all these lands to your family. Through your descendants[a] every nation on earth will be blessed. 5 I will do this because your father Abraham obeyed my words and did what I said. He obeyed my commands, my laws, and my rules.”
6 So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7 His wife Rebekah was very beautiful. The men of that place asked Isaac about Rebekah. He said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to tell them Rebekah was his wife. He was afraid the men would kill him so that they could have her.
8 After Isaac had lived there a long time, Abimelech looked out of his window and saw Isaac and his wife enjoying one another. 9 Abimelech called for Isaac and said, “This woman is your wife. Why did you tell us that she was your sister?”
Isaac said to him, “I was afraid that you would kill me so that you could have her.”
10 Abimelech said, “You have done a bad thing to us. One of our men might have had sex with your wife. Then he would be guilty of a great sin.”
11 So Abimelech gave a warning to all the people. He said, “No one must hurt this man or this woman. If anyone hurts them, they will be killed.”
Isaac Becomes Rich
12 Isaac planted fields in that place, and that year he gathered a great harvest. The Lord blessed him very much. 13 Isaac became rich. He gathered more and more wealth until he became a very rich man. 14 He had many flocks and herds of animals. He also had many slaves. All the Philistines were jealous of him. 15 So they destroyed all the wells that Isaac’s father Abraham and his servants had dug many years before. They filled them with sand. 16 Abimelech said to Isaac, “Leave our country. You have become much more powerful than we are.”
17 So Isaac left that place and camped near the little river of Gerar. He stayed there and lived. 18 Long before this time, Abraham had dug many wells. After he died, the Philistines filled the wells with sand. So Isaac went back and dug those wells again. He gave them the same names his father had given them. 19 Isaac’s servants also dug a well near the little river and found fresh water.[b] 20 But the men who herded sheep in the Valley of Gerar argued with Isaac’s servants. They said, “This water is ours.” So Isaac named that well Esek.[c] He gave it that name because it was the place where they had argued with him.
21 Then Isaac’s servants dug another well. But there was an argument over this well too. So Isaac named that well Sitnah.[d]
22 Isaac moved from there and dug another well. No one came to argue about this well. So Isaac named it Rehoboth.[e] He said, “Now the Lord has found a place for us. We will grow and be successful in this place.”
23 From there Isaac went to Beersheba. 24 The Lord spoke to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Don’t be afraid. I am with you, and I will bless you. I will make your family great. I will do this because of my servant Abraham.” 25 So Isaac built an altar and worshiped the Lord in that place. He set up camp there, and his servants dug a well.
26 Abimelech came from Gerar to see Isaac. He brought with him Ahuzzath, his advisor, and Phicol, the commander of his army.
27 Isaac asked, “Why have you come to see me? You were not friendly to me before. You even forced me to leave your country.”
28 They answered, “Now we know that the Lord is with you. We think that we should make an agreement. We want you to make a promise to us. 29 We did not hurt you; now you should promise not to hurt us. We sent you away, but we sent you away in peace. Now it is clear that the Lord has blessed you.”
30 So Isaac gave a party for them. They all ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning each man made a promise and a vow. Then the men left in peace.
32 On that day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. The servants said, “We found water in that well.” 33 So Isaac named it Shibah.[f] And that city is still called Beersheba.[g]
34 When Esau was 40 years old, he married two Hittite women. One was Judith the daughter of Beeri. The other was Basemath the daughter of Elon. 35 These marriages made Isaac and Rebekah very unhappy.
- Genesis 26:4 descendants Or “Descendant.” See Gal. 3:16.
- Genesis 26:19 fresh water Or “an underground stream.” Literally, “living water.”
- Genesis 26:20 Esek This means “argument” or “fight.”
- Genesis 26:21 Sitnah This means “hatred” or “being an enemy.”
- Genesis 26:22 Rehoboth This means “open place” or “crossroads.”
- Genesis 26:33 Shibah A Hebrew word meaning “seven” or “oath.”
- Genesis 26:33 Beersheba This name means “well of the oath.”
New International Version
Isaac and Abimelek(A)
26 Now there was a famine in the land(B)—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines(C) in Gerar.(D) 2 The Lord appeared(E) to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt;(F) live in the land where I tell you to live.(G) 3 Stay in this land for a while,(H) and I will be with you(I) and will bless you.(J) For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands(K) and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.(L) 4 I will make your descendants(M) as numerous as the stars in the sky(N) and will give them all these lands,(O) and through your offspring[a] all nations on earth will be blessed,[b](P) 5 because Abraham obeyed me(Q) and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees(R) and my instructions.(S)” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.(T)
7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,(U)” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”
8 When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines(V) looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?(W)”
Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”
10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us?(X) One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold,(AA) because the Lord blessed him.(AB) 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.(AC) 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants(AD) that the Philistines envied him.(AE) 15 So all the wells(AF) that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up,(AG) filling them with earth.
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar,(AJ) where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells(AK) that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled(AL) with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!”(AM) So he named the well Esek,[c] because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled(AN) over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.[d] 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth,[e](AO) saying, “Now the Lord has given us room(AP) and we will flourish(AQ) in the land.”
23 From there he went up to Beersheba.(AR) 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham.(AS) Do not be afraid,(AT) for I am with you;(AU) I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants(AV) for the sake of my servant Abraham.”(AW)
26 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces.(BA) 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?(BB)”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you;(BC) so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty(BD) with you 29 that you will do us no harm,(BE) just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.”(BF)
32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well(BI) they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!” 33 He called it Shibah,[f] and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.[g](BJ)
Jacob Takes Esau’s Blessing
- Genesis 26:4 Or seed
- Genesis 26:4 Or and all nations on earth will use the name of your offspring in blessings (see 48:20)
- Genesis 26:20 Esek means dispute.
- Genesis 26:21 Sitnah means opposition.
- Genesis 26:22 Rehoboth means room.
- Genesis 26:33 Shibah can mean oath or seven.
- Genesis 26:33 Beersheba can mean well of the oath and well of seven.