Ge 26:1-35. Sojourn in
1. And there was a famine in the land … And
Isaac went unto … Gerar—The pressure of famine in
Canaan forced Isaac with his family and flocks to migrate into the land
of the Philistines, where he was exposed to personal danger, as his
father had been on account of his wife's beauty; but through the
seasonable interposition of Providence, he was preserved (Ps 105:14, 15).
12. Then Isaac sowed in that land—During
his sojourn in that district he farmed a piece of land, which, by the
blessing of God on his skill and industry, was very productive (Isa
65:13; Ps 37:19); and by his
plentiful returns he increased so rapidly in wealth and influence that
the Philistines, afraid or envious of his prosperity, obliged him to
leave the place (Pr 27:4; Ec 4:4). This may receive illustration from the
fact that many Syrian shepherds at this day settle for a year or two in
a place, rent some ground, in the produce of which they trade with the
neighboring market, till the owners, through jealousy of their growing
substance, refuse to renew their lease and compel them to remove
15. all the wells which his father's servants had
digged … the Philistines had stopped, &c.—The same
base stratagem for annoying those against whom they have taken an
umbrage is practiced still by choking the wells with sand or stones, or
defiling them with putrid carcases.
17. valley of Gerar—torrent-bed or wady,
a vast undulating plain, unoccupied and affording good pasture.
18-22. Isaac digged again the wells of
water—The naming of wells by Abraham, and the hereditary
right of his family to the property, the change of the names by the
Philistines to obliterate the traces of their origin, the restoration
of the names by Isaac, and the contests between the respective
shepherds to the exclusive possession of the water, are circumstances
that occur among the natives in those regions as frequently in the
present day as in the time of Isaac.
26-33. Then Abimelech went to him—As
there was a lapse of ninety years between the visit of Abraham and of
Isaac, the Abimelech and Phichol spoken of must have been different
persons' official titles. Here is another proof of the promise (Ge 12:2) being fulfilled, in an overture
of peace being made to him by the king of Gerar. By whatever motive the
proposal was dictated—whether fear of his growing power, or
regret for the bad usage they had given him, the king and two of his
courtiers paid a visit to the tent of Isaac (Pr 16:7). His timid and passive temper had
submitted to the annoyances of his rude neighbors; but now that they
wish to renew the covenant, he evinces deep feeling at their conduct,
and astonishment at their assurance, or artifice, in coming near him.
Being, however, of a pacific disposition, Isaac forgave their offense,
accepted their proposals, and treated them to the banquet by which the
ratification of a covenant was usually crowned.
34. Esau … took to wife—If the
pious feelings of Abraham recoiled from the idea of Isaac forming a
matrimonial connection with a Canaanitish woman [Ge 24:3], that devout patriarch himself would be
equally opposed to such a union on the part of his children; and we may
easily imagine how much his pious heart was wounded, and the family
peace destroyed, when his favorite but wayward son brought no less than
two idolatrous wives among them—an additional proof that Esau
neither desired the blessing nor dreaded the curse of God. These wives
never gained the affections of his parents, and this estrangement was
overruled by God for keeping the chosen family aloof from the dangers
of heathen influence.