December 22, 2014

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

 

PART III: HISTORY OF ISAAC AND JACOB. (Genesis 25:19-36:43)

Topic #A: ISAAC'S FAMILY AND SOME TROUBLES. (Genesis 25:19-26:35)                                                                                           

 

 


Lesson III.A.5: Trouble about Wells. (Gen. 26:12-33).                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Part 1: The Blessing (12-14)

Part 2: The Conflict (15-17)

Part 3: The Search (18-22)

Part 4: The Assurance (23-25)

Part 5: The Agreement (26-33)

 

 

Part 5: The Agreement (Genesis 26:26-33) (KJV)

 

26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.

27 And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?

28 And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;

29 That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.

30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.

31 And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

32 And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water.

33 And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.

 

 

Commentary

 

Again the Philistines showed up.  In verse 26, “from Gerar” indicates where they were before coming to see Isaac; they were not a delegation from Gerar at all, but were all Philistines who were there to seek peace with Isaac.  The Holy Spirit made note of their approach (26:26-27), that the Philistines came from Gera with some men.  They came in force—Abimelech, one of his close confidants, and Phichol, the army chief of staff.  There were probably others who are not mentioned, since I can’t imagine a king going anywhere without his guards and servants. Because 90 years had passed since Abraham was visited by men with the same names, they must have been titles rather than proper names (21:22). Most probably a Philistine dynastic title, with this being a different king from the one who had met Abraham (ch. 20).  “Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?” It is not often the world approaches a believer in that manner, although, if we were closer to the Lord it would happen more often than it does.  Isaac knew immediately that he was in a very strong position.  He had always been in a strong position, if he had just known it.  Knowing the strength of his position, under the protection of God Himself, Isaac had no intention of yielding and inch, even if there had been 100 kings and 8000 military chiefs.

 

The approach of the Philistines was followed by their appeal (26:28-29).  The visitors lost no time in getting to the issue. “We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; that thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.”  What an extraordinary statement.  The unblushing gall of those men!  They had persecuted him, plundered him, pursued him, robbing and opposing him at every twist of the road, yet they gladly claimed they had done him nothing but good!  Certainly the unregenerate man’s appraisal of his own behavior is flattering to him rather than true to fact.  In any case, the men now wished to make peace with Isaac.  And why?  Because it was evident that the Lord was with him.  They paid lip service to the Lord they did not know.

 

Although Isaac almost seems weak in his dealings with the men of Gerar, it appears that they were so impressed that they followed Isaac to Beersheba in order to establish good relations with him.  The influence of Isaac in that land was not that of a weak man.

 

The statement in verse 29, “we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace,” refers to verses 1-17 and ignores vs. 19-21 indicating that they wanted to avoid opening old wounds or offending Isaac in any way. Fortified by God’s promises, Isaac was much bolder in his approach, and he confronted the Philistines with their misdeeds.  But Isaac did not insist upon compensation or even an apology for the mean things they had done to him; he freely entered into a covenant of friendship with them, and bound himself never to do them any injury.  Religion teaches us to be neighborly, and, to do all we can to live peaceably with all men. It’s worth noting that Isaac’s conduct during this dispute had made a great impression on them, and they could tell that the Lord was richly blessing him.  More important than possessing his Wells was the privilege Isaac had of sharing his witness with his pagan neighbors.

 

Then came their appeasement (26:30-33).  Isaac and the leaders were able to reach an agreement. To seal the treaty, Isaac hosted a “feast”; because, in that culture, to eat with others is to forge strong links of friendship and mutual support.  Isaac made a feast for them and forgave them, however, he wanted no part in their fellowship so he sent them away.  “And Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.” Again we see the hallmark of the believer—separation from the world.  “And it came to pass the same day that Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had opened, and said unto him, we have found water. And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.” Once the meaningless peace overtures of the ungodly had been received and the unbelievers themselves allowed to depart, and Isaac had again taken his stand with the Lord in separation from the world—then new sources of satisfaction in Christ could be enjoyed.  The Abimelech–Isaac covenant renewed the Abimelech–Abraham covenant, especially Genesis 21:22-24.Out of the mouths of the Philistines, God brought a witness that His promise concerning Isaac in Philistine country (v. 3) had been fulfilled.  Providence smiled upon what Isaac did; for the same day he made this covenant with Abimelech, his servants brought him the news of a well of water they had found (Genesis 21:25-31).  He had not insisted on the return of the Wells which the Philistines had unjustly taken from him, and was silent concerning the injury they had done to him; and immediately he was enriched with the new well. Isaac gave it the original name, Beersheba; “The Well of the Oath,” which now referred to Isaac’s treaty as well as Abraham’s.  It was the very place where his father Abraham had made an oath with another Abimelech and Phichol and which Abraham had named Beersheba (21:32). When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7).  King’s hearts are in His hands, and when he pleases, he can turn them and cause them to favor His people.

 

Interestingly enough, the unbelievers were as glad to leave Isaac as Isaac was to see them go.  Just as an earlier Abimelech acknowledge that God was with Abraham (21:22), so this Abimelech acknowledged that God was with Isaac.  They paid tribute to the fact that the Lord was with Isaac and that the Lord’s blessing rested on him and on all that he did, but they had no desire to stay and seek the Lord for themselves.  Isaac knew Him and they knew that Isaac knew Him, but they had no interest in knowing Him.

 

Isaac’s strategy paid off, because the Philistine leaders came to him and settled the matter of the property rights (see 21:22).  The disputes that had been between Isaac and the Philistines, ended in a happy peace and reconciliation.

 

This incident shows that no matter how much opposition came to thwart it, the blessing would thrive.  Other nations would recognize that God’s hand was on the seed of Abraham and would seek peace with Israel if they were to share in the blessing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Free Website with Yola.