1 And there was a famine in the land (accounts for Esau's despair of living, and hence selling his birthright), beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham (one of 13 famines, see 12:10). And Isaac went to Abimelech (Official name, not the same as 20:2) king of the Philistines to Gerar (= a lodging place).
2 And the Lord appeared to him, and said, "Go not down into Egypt (as Abraham did in 12:10); dwell in the land which I shall tell you of:
3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you (So to each Patriarch, father of a tribe: Abraham 13:15, Jacob 28:13 &c., involving resurrection. See 50:24, and cp. Ex.3:6 and Matt.22:23-33), and to your seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father;
4 And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give to your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: (That is only through Christ that ALL races are blessed even though they are not of the same blood)
5 Because that Abraham obeyed MY (repeated 5 times for emphasis, #5 = grace) voice (to be heard and believed, Rom. 10:17), and keep My charge (to be observed), My commandments (to be obeyed), My statutes (= decrees, to be acknowledged), and My laws." (instructions to be followed)
6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said (as Abraham had said, see 20:12), "She is my sister:" for he feared to say, "She is my wife;" "lest", said he, "the men of this place should kill me for Rebekah;" because she was fair to look upon.
8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was caressing Rebekah his wife.
9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, "Behold, of a surety she is your wife: and how is it you said, 'She is my sister?' " And Isaac said to him, "Because I said, 'Lest I die for her.' "
10 And Abimelech said, "What is this that you have done to us? one of the people might lightly lied with your wife, and you should have brought guiltiness (= trespass) upon us."
11 And Abimelech charged all his people, saying (one of the laws given and observed before Moses), "He that touches this man or his wife will surely be put to death."
12 Then Isaac sowed in the land, and found in the same year a hundred fold: and the Lord blessed him.
13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
14 For he had possession of flocks, and possessions of herds, and a great body of servants: and the Philistines envied him.
15 For the wells which his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them up, and filled them with earth.
16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go from us; for you are much mightier than we."
17 And Isaac departed from that place, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar (some distance from the city), and dwelt there.
18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father. (Isaac a placid character: shown by his obedience [22:6,8], his meekness in betrothal , his mourning for his mother [24:63-67; cp. note on v.63], his following his father's steps to Gerar [20:1] in denying his wife there , his finding an Abimelech and phicol there, and digging wells there, renewing the oath and renaming the well); for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. (cp. the 4 names and their special meaning)
19 And Isaac's servants dug in the valley, and found there a spring of living water. (see 21:19)
20 And the herdsmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, "The water is ours;" and he called the name of the well Esek (= strife, or contention) because the strove with him.
21 And they dug another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah (= opposition).
22 And he removed from there, and dug another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth (= roominess); and he said, "For me the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land."
23 And he went up to Beer-sheba (= the well of the oath).
24 And the Lord appeared to him the same night, and said, "I am the God of Abraham your father: fear not, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your seed for My servant Abraham's sake."
25 And he built an altar there, and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there: and Isaac dug a well.
26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath (= possessions), one of his friends, and Phicol (an official military tittle, cp.21:22) the chief captain of his army.
27 And Isaac said to him, "Why do you come to me, seeing you all hate me, and have sent me away from you?"
28 And they said, "We saw certainly that the Lord was with you (= seeing we saw.): and we said, 'Let there now be an oath between us, even between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you;
29 That you will do not hurt, as we have not touched you (emphasizing the fact that so far from injuring him any way that they had shown him favor), and as we have done to you nothing but good, and have sent you away in peace:' you are now blessed of the Lord."
30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.
31 And they rose up early in the morning, and swore 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 dug, and said to him, "We have found water."
33 And he called it Sheba (= an oath): therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba to this day. (Same name given by Abraham. Names were sometimes reimposed for a new reason. Cp. Bethel 28:18,19 with 35:6,7, and Israel 32:28 with 35:10)
34 And Esau was 40 years old when he took to wife Judith (praised. She had a second name Aholibamah = my tabernacle is exalted) the daughter of Beeri (= spring man, for discovering the hot springs, his second name was Anah = the one who answers) the Hittite (i.e. the general name, see 1 Kings 10:29), and Bashemath (= fragrant, pleasing, her second name was Adah = ornament, beauty) the daughter of Elon the Hittite:
35 Which were a grief to the spirit of Isaac and to Rebekah. (grief put for that which caused it. No wonder it caused "bitterness of spirit" when we remember who the Canaanite were.)