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Verses 1-33

Isaac and Abimelech (26:1-33)

When a famine created hardship in Canaan, Isaac proved his faith and obedience by refusing to leave the land. He remained in the Palestine region on the south coast of Canaan, believing that God would provide for him and his household in the land God promised him. But he lacked the faith to trust God to protect him from violence and, like his father, he lied to protect himself (26:1-11; cf. 12:10-20, 20:1-18).God blessed Isaac as he had promised, but Isaac’s farming successes stirred up the envy of the Philistines. He and his men were forced to flee from place to place as the Philistines either seized their wells or filled them in (12-22). Gradually he was pushed out of the best Philistine pastures, but God was still with him. Though he was forced back eventually to Beersheba, God reassured him of his presence and encouraged him to persevere (23-25).The Philistine king, fearful of the power of Isaac’s God, thought it wise to renew the treaty made previously with Abraham. In spite of the Philistines’ hostility and arrogance, Isaac renewed the treaty (26-31; cf. 21:22-24). That same day Isaac’s men found water, having redug Abraham’s well that the Philistines had apparently filled in (32-33; cf. 21:25-34).

Note: Abimelech (meaning ‘father-king’) was not a person’s name, but a Philistine royal title (cf. the Egyptian royal title, Pharaoh). The Abimelech of Abraham’s day was a different Abimelech from the one of Isaac’s day. The Abimelech of David’s day was named Achish (cf. the title of Psalms 34:0 with 1 Samuel 21:10-15). Likewise Phicol was not a person’s name, but the title of the army commander (cf. 21:32; 26:26).


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