Genesis 26-Isaac and Abimelech part 5

Off the subject, I just got done researching some interesting material on the location of Mt Sinai, that I will share when I get to Exodus.  It seems what we commonly think of as Mt. Sinai is not Mt. Sinai, at least from a plain reading of Scripture.  Galatians 4 will be a fascinating place to pick up.  

Meanwhile, back to the Genesis text at hand.  

If you want to read some other neat stuff on Noah, thoughts from a modified gap theorist, see

Shall we continue?

Genesis 26:23-25

23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
 25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.

From the place of the wells he had previously dug in the Valley of Gerar, Isaac had moved into the region of Beersheba.  This is the place where Abraham had made a covenant with Abimelech, a significant place for Isaac, since at this point this is one of the occasions that God reaffirms His covenant with Isaac.  In order for the fullness of the blessing to be bestowed upon Isaac, God had to bring him to Beersheba, the well of the oath, or the well of the covenant.  And at Beersheba, Isaac has a dream in which God promises His blessings on Isaac’s family.  This covenant is reaffirmed at the well of the covenant.  

And, following this dream and oath, Abimelech came with his officials and made a covenant between his people and Isaac’s people. 

26 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 

The same officials as with the last covenant, besides Ahuzzath, come to the same place of the covenant.

27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”

I wonder if it would not be too much of a theological leap to interpret this part of the Scripture as one of the main reasons the children of Israel had so much trouble with the Philistines.  Perhaps relations had either soured between the Isrealites and Philistines, but we are not told what the religious practices of the Philistines are at this time.  We are not told anything about Dagon or the Baals.  Either way, I wonder, in light of what the children of Israel were told by the LORD concerning covenants later in the Torah, if these early relations set up Israel’s children for disaster upon entering the land to possess it.

 28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”

This portion does not say the Philistines recognized other gods at this point.  It does say they recognized the presence and blessing of the LORD in Isaac’s life and wanted a covenant with the people upon whom this blessing flowed.  Smart move on Abimelech’s part.

 30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank.

Feasts were significant parts of covenants in those days.

 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
 32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!” 33 He called it Shibah, and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.

More water is found in the epilogue, which reinforces the name of the town.  Perhaps this latter blessing comes as a result of the covenants made in this portion.


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