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Genesis 26, Isaac

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jun 27, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    The text now returns to Isaac for more details regarding his life. This may seem out of order, but it is not. Genesis 25 started with the death of Abraham which went into lineage material regarding both Ishmael and Isaac. Because of the change in the rights of the firstborn, which is the story of Esau and Jacob's soup, that is included in the chapter. The return now to Isaac is actually a return to the narrative portion.

    My main resource for the comments on this chapter is the NIV study notes. I do not always think they stay within the bounds of good exegesis, but this time I think they add a lot of insight to the text.

    First of all, this Abimelech is probably NOT the same king Abraham encountered, but rather his son or grandson of the same name. Since groups like Abraham's or Isaac's travelled en masse, with all sorts of relatives and servants, introducing a woman as a sister would not be at all unexpected.

    Isaac is told by the Lord specifically NOT to go into Egypt during this time of famine, but to go where the Lord directs him and the Lord will care for him.

    If indeed there had been a massive catastrophic movement of land masses at the time of Peleg, five generations before Abraham, then it just might have been that by Abraham's time, things were still getting settled in terms of who lived where. Thus the shift of Abraham's father to Haran and then Abraham's to Canaan would not have been seen as spectacular or different then. In the same way, Isaac's family and servants and flocks would also have been typical of the time, being sort of unsettled still.

    So when the Lord tells Isaac to stay put, because this land will be given to his descendants, we do not see Isaac asking how on earth this could be, but instead accepting that. If the land were completely and securely belonging to another nation, it is conceivable that Isaac would have been asking a few questions! But he did not. He simply obeyed.

    Then the Lord says something which it is interesting to take note of. In the NIV it reads,

    "I will make your descendants as numberous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws."

    In other words, God had already made His laws known. Why they are attributed to Moses is something we will discuss when we get to Exodus. But it is good to remember verses such as the one above.

    When this Abimelech sees that Rebekah is Isaac's wife and not his sister, he does not ask them to leave as his father or grandfather did with Abraham. Instead he issues the decree that anyone bothering these two will be put to death!

    So instead of simply herding, Isaac plants crops, and gets one terrific harvest "because the Lord blessed him."

    And staying there, obeying the Lord's direction, Isaac becomes enormously rich. "He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him."

    That's never a good thing...

    Isaac then opens up Abraham's old wells. Shortly after this, Abimelech asks him to leave because 'you have become too powerful for us.' From the NIV notes we read the following:

    "An indication that the covenant promises were being fulfilled. Already in the days of the patriarchs, the presence of God's people in the land was seen as a threat by the peoples of the world. As the world's people pursued their own godless living, God's people aroused their hostility."

    Following one of his father's old routes, he leaves and then encamps in the Valley of Gerar. There they dig two wells which are disputed by the resident herdsmen. The third well is finally undisputed and it is there they stay for awhile.

    Then on to Beersheba. Here the Lord appears to him again reaffirming His promises to Abraham through Isaac.

    And guess who follows him? Abimelech! He wants a peace treaty, and so Isaac establishes one. The same day that the treaty is established, water is found at Beersheba.

    The chapter closes with the remark that Esau, as a man, chose to marry two women, both Hittites, and that the women "were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah."
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer Active Member
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    Oct 10, 2001
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