Genesis 26-Isaac and Abimelech

This is one of my favorite passages of the Bible, especially since it highlights one of the lesser written-about patriarchs.  There were actually in my view, more than just three patriarchs,  I would count about 5 or 6

Job functioned in a unique capacity with many characteristics as the standard patriarchs, not to mention his narrative is a wisdom document of antiquity, an excellent document dealing with wisdom and the sovereignty of God in human affairs, and a document that influenced and continues to influence Jewish thought and thus in part helped form Jewish identity.  More on this in another post.

Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph (who really ought to be counted as a patriarch, since his actions helped establish Israel in the land, or at the least, protector of the nation, in addition to Jacob’s blessing on Joseph and his sons) receive at least 10 chapters or more, apiece. 

Finally, Judah was responsible for being the line through which ha-Meshaich would come. 

Let’s consider the chapter verse by verse, at least the first pa

1 Now there was a famine in the land—besides the earlier famine of Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar.

Evidently, famines were common in the arid conditions of those days.  We are not told why Isaac went to Gerar, but it might have had something to do with the fact of the famine, that perhaps resources were available in either Gerar or Egypt.  I would imagine the Lord had some idea Isaac would repeat Abraham’s itinerary, and go there, since this chapter is, except for the trip, almost a carbon copy of some of Abraham’s exploits.

 2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.

No introduction leading up to this theophany (physical manifestation of God’s person).  It says plainly, without stating that Isaac heard the LORD previously, that God plainly showed up and told Isaac what to do.  And perhaps this was an interruption.  Maybe it was to give Isaac an opportunity to trust God since the actions of Abraham in this patterm previously frequently originated with an attitude of doubt, particularly in the area of trusting God with the safety of Sarah.

Next come the specific instructions.

3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. 

God promises His abiding presence and a confirmation of the oath He swore to Abraham to multiply descendants of faith after the manner of Abraham’s faith.  Blessing and provision are sure to follow obedience to God’s spoken promises.


Continued in the next post.


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