We have here the contests that had been between Isaac and the Philistines issuing in a happy peace and reconciliation.
I. Abimelech pays a friendly visit to Isaac, in token of the respect he had for him, Gen. 26:26. Note, When a man’s ways please the Lord he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him, Prov. 16:7. Kings’ hearts are in his hands, and when he pleases he can turn them to favour his people.
II. Isaac prudently and cautiously questions his sincerity in this visit, Gen. 26:27. Note, In settling friendships and correspondences, there is need of the wisdom of the serpent, as well as the innocence of the dove; nor is it any transgression of the law of meekness and love plainly to signify our strong perception of injuries received, and to stand upon our guard in dealing with those that have acted unfairly.
III. Abimelech professes his sincerity, in this address to Isaac, and earnestly courts his friendship, Gen. 26:28, 29. Some suggest that Abimelech pressed for this league with him because he feared lest Isaac, growing rich, should, some time or other, avenge himself upon them for the injuries he had received. However, he professes to do it rather from a principle of love. 1. He makes the best of their behaviour towards him. Isaac complained they had hated him, and sent him away. No, said Abimelech, we sent thee away in peace. They turned him off from the land he held of them; but they suffered him to take away his stock, and all his effects, with him. Note, The lessening of injuries is necessary to the preserving of friendship; for the aggravating of them exasperates and widens breaches. The unkindness done to us might have been worse. 2. He acknowledges the token of God’s favour to him, and makes this the ground of their desire to be in league with him: The Lord is with thee, and thou art the blessed of the Lord. As if he had said, “Be persuaded to overlook and pass by the injuries offered thee; for God had abundantly made up to thee the damage thou receivedst.” Note, Those whom God blesses and favours have reason enough to forgive those who hate them, since the worst enemy they have cannot do them any real hurt. Or, “For this reason we desire thy friendship, because God is with thee.” Note, It is good to be in covenant and communion with those who are in covenant and communion with God, 1 John 1:3; present address to him was the result of mature deliberation: We said, Let there be an oath between us. Whatever some of his peevish envious subjects might mean otherwise, he and his prime-ministers of state, whom he had now brought with him, designed no other than a cordial friendship. Perhaps Abimelech had received, by tradition, the warning God gave to his predecessor not to hurt Abraham (Gen. 20:7), and this made him sta fef nd in such awe of Isaac, who appeared to be as much the favourite of Heaven as Abraham was.
IV. Isaac entertains him and his company, and enters into a league of friendship with him, Gen. 26:30, 31. Here see how generous the good man was, 1. In giving: He made them a feast, and bade them welcome. (2.) In forgiving. He did not insist upon the unkindnesses they had done him, but freely entered into a covenant of friendship with them, and bound himself never to do them any injury. Note, Religion teaches us to be neighbourly, and, as much as in us lies, to live peaceably with all men.
V. Providence smiled upon what Isaac did; for the same day that he made this covenant with Abimelech his servants brought him the tidings of a well of water they had found, Gen. 26:32, 33. He did not insist upon the restitution of the wells which the Philistines had unjustly taken from him, lest this should break off the treaty, but sat down silent under the injury; and, to recompense him for this, immediately he is enriched with a new well, which, because it suited so well to the occurrence of the day, he called by an old name, Beer-sheba, The well of the oath.
Click the button below to continue.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.