Genesis Chapter 26

Isaac and Abimelech
I. Observation A. Who are the major players? 1. Isaac 2. Abimelech, king of the Philistines a. “Abimelech is thought to be a ruling title, like Pharaoh [Ryrie] b. Since these events happen considerably later than Gen. Ch. 20, this is likely not the same person [Ryrie] B. When do the events of this passage take place? 1. Not specified, but it would be between Esau’s selling his birthright (Ch. 25) and his marriage at age 40 (Gen. 26:34) C. Where is this happening? 1. “Gerar” is believed to have been in the southwestern part of modern-day Israel, near the Gaza Strip (see map) D. What is happening (Summary of Events) 1. Isaac moves to the land of Gerar (v. 1) 2. God appears to Isaac and tells him to stay there and not go to Egypt (v. 2-3) a. Perhaps Egypt was a common destination during famine (see account of Joseph’s brothers in Gen. 42) 3. God confirms the covenant with Isaac (v. 3-5) a. Posession—“I will give all these lands…” (v. 3-4) b. Descendants—“I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars…” (v. 4) c. Blessing—“All nations on earth will be blessed” (v. 4) ------- foreshadowing the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ 4. Isaac tells the people of Gerar that Rebekah is his sister because he was afraid they might kill him (v. 7) a. This is the very same deception and the very same motivation that we saw with Abraham in Gen. 20 5. Abimelech finds out about Isaac’s deception and confronts him (v. 8-11) 6. Abimelech gives orders that no one is to harm Isaac or Rebekah (v. 11) 7. God blesses Isaac’s crops and he becomes very wealthy (v. 12-14) 8. The Philistines begin to envy Isaac’s wealth and begin to plug up his water wells (v. 14-15) 9. Abimelech tells Isaac to move away because he has grown too powerful (v. 16) 10. Isaac moves away, but continues to meet opposition from the locals over territory and water (v. 17-22) 11. Finally Isaac moves far enough away from opposition that he is able to settle in peace (v. 22) 12. The Lord appears to Isaac and again confirms the covenant (v. 23-24) 13. Isaac builds an altar to worship the Lord in response to his blessing (v. 25) 14. Abimelech, Ahuzzath (personal advisor), and Phicol (commander of forces) recognize God’s favor with Isaac and come to seek a treaty with him. (v. 26-29) 15. Isaac prepares a feast and in the morning he and Abimelech make the treaty. Abimelech leaves in peace (v. 30-31) 16. Isaac’s servants dig a well and find water; Isaac names it “Shibah” (v. 32-33) 17. Esau marries two Canaanite women when he is 40 years old (v. 34) a. Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite b. Basemath, daughter of Elon the Hittite 18. Esau’s wives were a “source of grief” for Isaac and Rebekah (v. 35) II. Interpretation • What themes/principles are presented in this chapter? How are they illustrated? o Obedience leads to blessing  God says to stay in Gerar, despite the famine, Isaac obeys, God blesses him with wealth o Fear often leads to sin  Isaac feared for his life, so he lied about his relationship with Rebekah o Blessings call for worship  After God confirms the covenant blessing with Isaac, he immediately builds an altar and worships o God’s favor on his people is apparent to others  Abimelech recognized God’s favor and sought to keep peace with Isaac. III. Application • God expects our obedience, even when other options may seem more logical. o Have you ever been challenged to obey God by going against what seemed logical? What was the outcome? • Fear trusts in oneself for deliverance and protection; Faith trusts in God for deliverance and protection. o When we go into “self-defense” mode in the face of fear, we often leave God out of the picture. • How we respond to God’s blessings is not only noticed by Him, but also by those around us. o Do those around you know that you are a believer? How obvious is it? Is it apparent in the way you live each day?

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