Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) January 8
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Genesis 23:1--26:35

Context
The Death of Sarah

23:1 Sarah lived 127 years. 1  23:2 Then she 2  died in Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. 3 

23:3 Then Abraham got up from mourning his dead wife 4  and said to the sons of Heth, 5  23:4 “I am a temporary settler 6  among you. Grant 7  me ownership 8  of a burial site among you so that I may 9  bury my dead.” 10 

23:5 The sons of Heth answered Abraham, 11  23:6 “Listen, sir, 12  you are a mighty prince 13  among us! You may bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb to prevent you 14  from burying your dead.”

23:7 Abraham got up and bowed down to the local people, 15  the sons of Heth. 23:8 Then he said to them, “If you agree 16  that I may bury my dead, 17  then hear me out. 18  Ask 19  Ephron the son of Zohar 23:9 if he will sell 20  me the cave of Machpelah that belongs to him; it is at the end of his field. Let him sell it to me publicly 21  for the full price, 22  so that I may own it as a burial site.”

23:10 (Now Ephron was sitting among the sons of Heth.) Ephron the Hethite 23  replied to Abraham in the hearing 24  of the sons of Heth – before all who entered the gate 25  of his city – 23:11 “No, my lord! Hear me out. I sell 26  you both the field and the cave that is in it. 27  In the presence of my people 28  I sell it to you. Bury your dead.”

23:12 Abraham bowed before the local people 23:13 and said to Ephron in their hearing, “Hear me, if you will. I pay 29  to you the price 30  of the field. Take it from me so that I may 31  bury my dead there.”

23:14 Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 23:15 “Hear me, my lord. The land is worth 32  400 pieces of silver, 33  but what is that between me and you? So bury your dead.”

23:16 So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price 34  and weighed 35  out for him 36  the price 37  that Ephron had quoted 38  in the hearing of the sons of Heth – 400 pieces of silver, according to the standard measurement at the time. 39 

23:17 So Abraham secured 40  Ephron’s field in Machpelah, next to Mamre, including the field, the cave that was in it, and all the trees that were in the field and all around its border, 23:18 as his property in the presence of the sons of Heth before all who entered the gate of Ephron’s city. 41 

23:19 After this Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah next to Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 23:20 So Abraham secured the field and the cave that was in it as a burial site 42  from the sons of Heth.

The Wife for Isaac

24:1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years, 43  and the Lord had blessed him 44  in everything. 24:2 Abraham said to his servant, the senior one 45  in his household who was in charge of everything he had, “Put your hand under my thigh 46  24:3 so that I may make you solemnly promise 47  by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth: You must not acquire 48  a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living. 24:4 You must go instead to my country and to my relatives 49  to find 50  a wife for my son Isaac.”

24:5 The servant asked him, “What if the woman is not willing to come back with me 51  to this land? Must I then 52  take your son back to the land from which you came?”

24:6 “Be careful 53  never to take my son back there!” Abraham told him. 54  24:7 “The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and the land of my relatives, 55  promised me with a solemn oath, 56  ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ He will send his angel 57  before you so that you may find 58  a wife for my son from there. 24:8 But if the woman is not willing to come back with you, 59  you will be free 60  from this oath of mine. But you must not take my son back there!” 24:9 So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and gave his solemn promise he would carry out his wishes. 61 

24:10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed with all kinds of gifts from his master at his disposal. 62  He journeyed 63  to the region of Aram Naharaim 64  and the city of Nahor. 24:11 He made the camels kneel down by the well 65  outside the city. It was evening, 66  the time when the women would go out to draw water. 24:12 He prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, guide me today. 67  Be faithful 68  to my master Abraham. 24:13 Here I am, standing by the spring, 69  and the daughters of the people 70  who live in the town are coming out to draw water. 24:14 I will say to a young woman, ‘Please lower your jar so I may drink.’ May the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac reply, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ 71  In this way I will know that you have been faithful to my master.” 72 

24:15 Before he had finished praying, there came Rebekah 73  with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah (Milcah was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor). 74  24:16 Now the young woman was very beautiful. She was a virgin; no man had ever had sexual relations with her. 75  She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came back up. 24:17 Abraham’s servant 76  ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a sip of water from your jug.” 24:18 “Drink, my lord,” she replied, and quickly lowering 77  her jug to her hands, she gave him a drink. 24:19 When she had done so, 78  she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have drunk as much as they want.” 24:20 She quickly emptied 79  her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw more water until she had drawn enough for all his camels. 24:21 Silently the man watched her with interest to determine 80  if the Lord had made his journey successful 81  or not.

24:22 After the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka 82  and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels 83  and gave them to her. 84  24:23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. 85  “Tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”

24:24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom Milcah bore to Nahor. 86  24:25 We have plenty of straw and feed,” she added, 87  “and room for you 88  to spend the night.”

24:26 The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord, 24:27 saying “Praised be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his faithful love 89  for my master! The Lord has led me 90  to the house 91  of my master’s relatives!” 92 

24:28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household all about 93  these things. 24:29 (Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban.) 94  Laban rushed out to meet the man at the spring. 24:30 When he saw the bracelets on his sister’s wrists and the nose ring 95  and heard his sister Rebekah say, 96  “This is what the man said to me,” he went out to meet the man. There he was, standing 97  by the camels near the spring. 24:31 Laban said to him, 98  “Come, you who are blessed by the Lord! 99  Why are you standing out here when I have prepared 100  the house and a place for the camels?”

24:32 So Abraham’s servant 101  went to the house and unloaded 102  the camels. Straw and feed were given 103  to the camels, and water was provided so that he and the men who were with him could wash their feet. 104  24:33 When food was served, 105  he said, “I will not eat until I have said what I want to say.” 106  “Tell us,” Laban said. 107 

24:34 “I am the servant of Abraham,” he began. 24:35 “The Lord has richly blessed my master and he has become very wealthy. 108  The Lord 109  has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 24:36 My master’s wife Sarah bore a son to him 110  when she was old, 111  and my master 112  has given him everything he owns. 24:37 My master made me swear an oath. He said, ‘You must not acquire a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, 24:38 but you must go to the family of my father and to my relatives to find 113  a wife for my son.’ 24:39 But I said to my master, ‘What if the woman does not want to go 114  with me?’ 115  24:40 He answered, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked, 116  will send his angel with you. He will make your journey a success and you will find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. 24:41 You will be free from your oath 117  if you go to my relatives and they will not give her to you. Then you will be free from your oath.’ 24:42 When I came to the spring today, I prayed, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you have decided to make my journey successful, 118  may events unfold as follows: 119  24:43 Here I am, standing by the spring. 120  When 121  the young woman goes out to draw water, I’ll say, “Give me a little water to drink from your jug.” 24:44 Then she will reply to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too.” May that woman be the one whom the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’

24:45 “Before I finished praying in my heart, 122  along came Rebekah 123  with her water jug on her shoulder! She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 24:46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll give your camels water too.’ So I drank, and she also gave the camels water. 24:47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘The daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to Nahor.’ 124  I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her wrists. 24:48 Then I bowed down and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right path to find the granddaughter 125  of my master’s brother for his son. 24:49 Now, if you will show faithful love to my master, tell me. But if not, tell me as well, so that I may go on my way.” 126 

24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “This is the Lord’s doing. 127  Our wishes are of no concern. 128  24:51 Rebekah stands here before you. Take her and go so that she may become 129  the wife of your master’s son, just as the Lord has decided.” 130 

24:52 When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 24:53 Then he 131  brought out gold, silver jewelry, and clothing and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave valuable gifts to her brother and to her mother. 24:54 After this, he and the men who were with him ate a meal and stayed there overnight. 132 

When they got up in the morning, he said, “Let me leave now so I can return to my master.” 133  24:55 But Rebekah’s 134  brother and her mother replied, “Let the girl stay with us a few more days, perhaps ten. Then she can go.” 24:56 But he said to them, “Don’t detain me – the Lord 135  has granted me success on my journey. Let me leave now so I may return 136  to my master.” 24:57 Then they said, “We’ll call the girl and find out what she wants to do.” 137  24:58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Do you want 138  to go with this man?” She replied, “I want to go.”

24:59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, accompanied by her female attendant, with Abraham’s servant and his men. 24:60 They blessed Rebekah with these words: 139 

“Our sister, may you become the mother 140  of thousands of ten thousands!

May your descendants possess the strongholds 141  of their enemies.”

24:61 Then Rebekah and her female servants mounted the camels and rode away with 142  the man. So Abraham’s servant 143  took Rebekah and left.

24:62 Now 144  Isaac came from 145  Beer Lahai Roi, 146  for 147  he was living in the Negev. 148  24:63 He 149  went out to relax 150  in the field in the early evening. 151  Then he looked up 152  and saw that 153  there were camels approaching. 24:64 Rebekah looked up 154  and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 24:65 and asked 155  Abraham’s servant, 156  “Who is that man walking in the field toward us?” “That is my master,” the servant replied. 157  So she took her veil and covered herself.

24:66 The servant told Isaac everything that had happened. 24:67 Then Isaac brought Rebekah 158  into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took her 159  as his wife and loved her. 160  So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. 161 

The Death of Abraham

25:1 Abraham had taken 162  another 163  wife, named Keturah. 25:2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 25:3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. 164  The descendants of Dedan were the Asshurites, Letushites, and Leummites. 25:4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were descendants 165  of Keturah.

25:5 Everything he owned Abraham left to his son Isaac. 25:6 But while he was still alive, Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his concubines 166  and sent them off to the east, away from his son Isaac. 167 

25:7 Abraham lived a total of 168  175 years. 25:8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man who had lived a full life. 169  He joined his ancestors. 170  25:9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah 171  near Mamre, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar, the Hethite. 25:10 This was the field Abraham had purchased from the sons of Heth. 172  There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. 25:11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed 173  his son Isaac. Isaac lived near Beer Lahai Roi. 174 

The Sons of Ishmael

25:12 This is the account of Abraham’s son Ishmael, 175  whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham.

25:13 These are the names of Ishmael’s sons, by their names according to their records: 176  Nebaioth (Ishmael’s firstborn), Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 25:14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 25:15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 25:16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names by their settlements and their camps – twelve princes 177  according to their clans.

25:17 Ishmael lived a total of 178  137 years. He breathed his last and died; then he joined his ancestors. 179  25:18 His descendants 180  settled from Havilah to Shur, which runs next 181  to Egypt all the way 182  to Asshur. 183  They settled 184  away from all their relatives. 185 

Jacob and Esau

25:19 This is the account of Isaac, 186  the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac. 25:20 When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, 187  the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean. 188 

25:21 Isaac prayed to 189  the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 25:22 But the children struggled 190  inside her, and she said, “If it is going to be like this, I’m not so sure I want to be pregnant!” 191  So she asked the Lord, 192  25:23 and the Lord said to her,

“Two nations 193  are in your womb,

and two peoples will be separated from within you.

One people will be stronger than the other,

and the older will serve the younger.”

25:24 When the time came for Rebekah to give birth, 194  there were 195  twins in her womb. 25:25 The first came out reddish 196  all over, 197  like a hairy 198  garment, so they named him Esau. 199  25:26 When his brother came out with 200  his hand clutching Esau’s heel, they named him Jacob. 201  Isaac was sixty years old 202  when they were born.

25:27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skilled 203  hunter, a man of the open fields, but Jacob was an even-tempered man, living in tents. 204  25:28 Isaac loved Esau because he had a taste for fresh game, 205  but Rebekah loved 206  Jacob.

25:29 Now Jacob cooked some stew, 207  and when Esau came in from the open fields, he was famished. 25:30 So Esau said to Jacob, “Feed 208  me some of the red stuff – yes, this red stuff – because I’m starving!” (That is why he was also called 209  Edom.) 210 

25:31 But Jacob replied, “First 211  sell me your birthright.” 25:32 “Look,” said Esau, “I’m about to die! What use is the birthright to me?” 212  25:33 But Jacob said, “Swear an oath to me now.” 213  So Esau 214  swore an oath to him and sold his birthright 215  to Jacob.

25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew; Esau ate and drank, then got up and went out. 216  So Esau despised his birthright. 217 

Isaac and Abimelech

26:1 There was a famine in the land, subsequent to the earlier famine that occurred 218  in the days of Abraham. 219  Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines at Gerar. 26:2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; 220  settle down in the land that I will point out to you. 221  26:3 Stay 222  in this land. Then I will be with you and will bless you, 223  for I will give all these lands to you and to your descendants, 224  and I will fulfill 225  the solemn promise I made 226  to your father Abraham. 26:4 I will multiply your descendants so they will be as numerous as the stars in the sky, and I will give them 227  all these lands. All the nations of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another using the name of your descendants. 228  26:5 All this will come to pass 229  because Abraham obeyed me 230  and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” 231  26:6 So Isaac settled in Gerar.

26:7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he replied, “She is my sister.” 232  He was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” for he thought to himself, 233  “The men of this place will kill me to get 234  Rebekah because she is very beautiful.”

26:8 After Isaac 235  had been there a long time, 236  Abimelech king of the Philistines happened to look out a window and observed 237  Isaac caressing 238  his wife Rebekah. 26:9 So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, “She is really 239  your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac replied, “Because I thought someone might kill me to get her.” 240 

26:10 Then Abimelech exclaimed, “What in the world have you done to us? 241  One of the men 242  might easily have had sexual relations with 243  your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!” 26:11 So Abimelech commanded all the people, “Whoever touches 244  this man or his wife will surely be put to death.” 245 

26:12 When Isaac planted in that land, he reaped in the same year a hundred times what he had sown, 246  because the Lord blessed him. 247  26:13 The man became wealthy. 248  His influence continued to grow 249  until he became very prominent. 26:14 He had 250  so many sheep 251  and cattle 252  and such a great household of servants that the Philistines became jealous 253  of him. 26:15 So the Philistines took dirt and filled up 254  all the wells that his father’s servants had dug back in the days of his father Abraham.

26:16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Leave us and go elsewhere, 255  for you have become much more powerful 256  than we are.” 26:17 So Isaac left there and settled in the Gerar Valley. 257  26:18 Isaac reopened 258  the wells that had been dug 259  back in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up 260  after Abraham died. Isaac 261  gave these wells 262  the same names his father had given them. 263 

26:19 When Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well with fresh flowing 264  water there, 26:20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled 265  with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water belongs to us!” So Isaac 266  named the well 267  Esek 268  because they argued with him about it. 269  26:21 His servants 270  dug another well, but they quarreled over it too, so Isaac named it 271  Sitnah. 272  26:22 Then he moved away from there and dug another well. They did not quarrel over it, so Isaac 273  named it 274  Rehoboth, 275  saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we will prosper in the land.”

26:23 From there Isaac 276  went up to Beer Sheba. 26:24 The Lord appeared to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.” 26:25 Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped 277  the Lord. He pitched his tent there, and his servants dug a well. 278 

26:26 Now Abimelech had come 279  to him from Gerar along with 280  Ahuzzah his friend 281  and Phicol the commander of his army. 26:27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me? You hate me 282  and sent me away from you.” 26:28 They replied, “We could plainly see 283  that the Lord is with you. So we decided there should be 284  a pact between us 285  – between us 286  and you. Allow us to make 287  a treaty with you 26:29 so that 288  you will not do us any harm, just as we have not harmed 289  you, but have always treated you well 290  before sending you away 291  in peace. Now you are blessed by the Lord.” 292 

26:30 So Isaac 293  held a feast for them and they celebrated. 294  26:31 Early in the morning the men made a treaty with each other. 295  Isaac sent them off; they separated on good terms. 296 

26:32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. “We’ve found water,” they reported. 297  26:33 So he named it Shibah; 298  that is why the name of the city has been Beer Sheba 299  to this day.

26:34 When 300  Esau was forty years old, 301  he married 302  Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, as well as Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 26:35 They caused Isaac and Rebekah great anxiety. 303 

1 tn Heb “And the years of Sarah were one hundred years and twenty years and seven years, the years of the life of Sarah.”

2 tn Heb “Sarah.” The proper name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun (“she”) for stylistic reasons.

3 sn Mourn…weep. The description here is of standard mourning rites (see K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 149-50). They would have been carried out in the presence of the corpse, probably in Sarah’s tent. So Abraham came in to mourn; then he rose up to go and bury his dead (v. 3).

4 tn Heb “And Abraham arose from upon the face of his dead.”

5 tn Some translate the Hebrew term “Heth” as “Hittites” here (also in vv. 5, 7, 10, 16, 18, 20), but this gives the impression that these people were the classical Hittites of Anatolia. However, there is no known connection between these sons of Heth, apparently a Canaanite group (see Gen 10:15), and the Hittites of Asia Minor. See H. A. Hoffner, Jr., “Hittites,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 152-53.

6 tn Heb “a resident alien and a settler.”

7 tn Heb “give,” which is used here as an idiom for “sell” (see v. 9). The idiom reflects the polite bartering that was done in the culture at the time.

8 tn Or “possession.”

9 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction expresses purpose.

10 tn Heb “bury my dead out of my sight.” The last phrase “out of my sight” has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

11 tn Heb “answered Abraham saying to him.”

12 tn Heb “Hear us, my lord.”

13 tn Heb “prince of God.” The divine name may be used here as a means of expressing the superlative, “mighty prince.” The word for “prince” probably means “tribal chief” here. See M. H. Gottstein, “Nasi’ ‘elohim (Gen 23:6),” VT 3 (1953) 298-99; and D. W. Thomas, “Consideration of Some Unusual Ways of Expressing the Superlative in Hebrew,” VT 3 (1953) 215-16.

14 tn The phrase “to prevent you” has been added in the translation for stylistic reasons.

15 tn Heb “to the people of the land” (also in v. 12).

16 tn Heb “If it is with your purpose.” The Hebrew noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) here has the nuance “purpose” or perhaps “desire” (see BDB 661 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ).

17 tn Heb “bury my dead out of my sight.” The last phrase “out of my sight” has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

18 tn Or “hear me.”

19 tn Heb “intercede for me with.”

20 tn Heb “give.” This is used here (also a second time later in this verse) as an idiom for “sell”; see the note on the word “grant” in v. 4.

21 tn Heb “in your presence.”

22 tn Heb “silver.”

23 tn Or perhaps “Hittite,” but see the note on the name “Heth” in v. 3.

24 tn Heb “ears.” By metonymy the “ears” stand for the presence or proximity (i.e., within earshot) of the persons named.

25 sn On the expression all who entered the gate see E. A. Speiser, “‘Coming’ and ‘Going’ at the City Gate,” BASOR 144 (1956): 20-23; and G. Evans, “‘Coming’ and ‘Going’ at the City Gate: A Discussion of Professor Speiser’s Paper,” BASOR 150 (1958): 28-33.

26 tn Heb “give.” The perfect tense has here a present nuance; this is a formal, legally binding declaration. Abraham asked only for a burial site/cave within the field; Ephron agrees to sell him the entire field.

27 tn The Hebrew text adds “to you I give [i.e., sell] it.” This is redundant in English and has not been translated for stylistic reasons.

28 tn Heb “in the presence of the sons of my people.”

29 tn Heb “give.”

30 tn Heb “silver.”

31 tn After the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction expresses purpose or result.

32 tn The word “worth” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

33 sn Four hundred pieces of silver. The standards for weighing money varied considerably in the ancient Near East, but the generally accepted weight for the shekel is 11.5 grams (0.4 ounce). This makes the weight of silver here 4.6 kilograms, or 160 ounces (about 10 pounds).

34 tn Heb “listened to Ephron.”

35 tn Heb “and Abraham weighed out.”

36 tn Heb “to Ephron.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

37 tn Heb “silver.”

38 tn Heb “that he had spoken.” The referent (Ephron) has been specified here in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

39 tn Heb “passing for the merchant.” The final clause affirms that the measurement of silver was according to the standards used by the merchants of the time.

40 tn Heb “And it was conveyed.” The recipient, Abraham (mentioned in the Hebrew text at the beginning of v. 18) has been placed here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

41 tn Heb “his city”; the referent (Ephron) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

sn See G. M. Tucker, “The Legal Background of Genesis 23,” JBL 85 (1966):77-84; and M. R. Lehmann, “Abraham’s Purchase of Machpelah and Hittite Law,” BASOR 129 (1953): 15-18.

42 tn Heb “possession of a grave.”

43 tn Heb “days.”

44 tn Heb “Abraham.” The proper name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun (“he”) for stylistic reasons.

45 tn The Hebrew term זָקֵן (zaqen) may refer to the servant who is oldest in age or senior in authority (or both).

46 sn Put your hand under my thigh. The taking of this oath had to do with the sanctity of the family and the continuation of the family line. See D. R. Freedman, “Put Your Hand Under My Thigh – the Patriarchal Oath,” BAR 2 (1976): 2-4, 42.

47 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose.

48 tn Heb “because you must not take.”

49 tn Heb “for to my country and my relatives you must go.”

50 tn Heb “and take.”

51 tn Heb “to go after me.”

52 tn In the Hebrew text the construction is emphatic; the infinitive absolute precedes the imperfect. However, it is difficult to reflect this emphasis in an English translation.

53 tn Heb “guard yourself.”

54 tn The introductory clause “And Abraham said to him” has been moved to the end of the opening sentence of direct discourse in the translation for stylistic reasons.

55 tn Or “the land of my birth.”

56 tn Heb “and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying.”

57 tn Or “his messenger.”

58 tn Heb “before you and you will take.”

59 tn Heb “ to go after you.”

60 sn You will be free. If the prospective bride was not willing to accompany the servant back to Canaan, the servant would be released from his oath to Abraham.

61 tn Heb “and he swore to him concerning this matter.”

62 tn Heb “and every good thing of his master was in his hand.” The disjunctive clause is circumstantial, explaining that he took all kinds of gifts to be used at his discretion.

63 tn Heb “and he arose and went.”

64 tn The words “the region of” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

sn Aram Naharaim means in Hebrew “Aram of the Two Rivers,” a region in northern Mesopotamia.

65 tn Heb “well of water.”

66 tn Heb “at the time of evening.”

67 tn Heb “make it happen before me today.” Although a number of English translations understand this as a request for success in the task (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV) it is more likely that the servant is requesting an omen or sign from God (v. 14).

68 tn Heb “act in loyal love with” or “show kindness to.”

69 tn Heb “the spring of water.”

70 tn Heb “the men.”

71 sn I will also give your camels water. It would be an enormous test for a young woman to water ten camels. The idea is that such a woman would not only be industrious but hospitable and generous.

72 tn Heb “And let the young woman to whom I say, ‘Lower your jar that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink and I will also give your camels water,’ – her you have appointed for your servant, for Isaac, and by it I will know that you have acted in faithfulness with my master.”

73 tn Heb “Look, Rebekah was coming out!” Using the participle introduced with הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator dramatically transports the audience back into the event and invites them to see Rebekah through the servant’s eyes.

74 tn Heb “Look, Rebekah was coming out – [she] who was born to Bethuel, the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, the brother of Abraham – and her jug [was] on her shoulder.” The order of the clauses has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

75 tn Heb “And the young woman was very good of appearance, a virgin, and a man she had not known.” Some argue that the Hebrew noun translated “virgin” (בְּתוּלָה, bÿtulah) is better understood in a general sense, “young woman” (see Joel 1:8, where the word appears to refer to one who is married). In this case the circumstantial clause (“and a man she had not known”) would be restrictive, rather than descriptive. If the term actually means “virgin,” one wonders why the circumstantial clause is necessary (see Judg 21:12 as well). Perhaps the repetition emphasizes her sexual purity as a prerequisite for her role as the mother of the covenant community.

76 tn Heb “and the servant.” The word “Abraham’s” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

77 tn Heb “and she hurried and lowered.”

78 tn Heb “when she had finished giving him a drink.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

79 tn Heb “and she hurried and emptied.”

80 tn Heb “to know.”

81 tn The Hebrew term צָלָה (tsalah), meaning “to make successful” in the Hiphil verbal stem, is a key term in the story (see vv. 40, 42, 56).

82 sn A beka weighed about 5-6 grams (0.2 ounce).

83 sn A shekel weighed about 11.5 grams (0.4 ounce) although weights varied locally, so these bracelets weighed about 4 ounces (115 grams).

84 tn The words “and gave them to her” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.

85 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Whose daughter are you?’” The order of the introductory clause has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

86 tn Heb “whom she bore to Nahor.” The referent (Milcah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

87 tn Heb “and she said, ‘We have plenty of both straw and feed.’” The order of the introductory clause has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

88 tn Heb The words “for you” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.

89 tn Heb “his faithfulness and his commitment.”

90 tn Heb “As for me – in the way the Lord led me.”

91 tn Here “house” is an adverbial accusative of termination.

92 tn Heb “brothers.”

93 tn Heb “according to.”

94 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause introduces the audience to Laban, who will eventually play an important role in the unfolding story.

95 tn Heb “And it was when he saw the nose ring and the bracelets on the arms of his sister.” The word order is altered in the translation for the sake of clarity.

96 tn Heb “and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying.”

97 tn Heb “and look, he was standing.” The disjunctive clause with the participle following the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) invites the audience to view the scene through Laban’s eyes.

98 tn Heb “and he said.” The referent (Laban) has been specified and the words “to him” supplied in the translation for clarity.

99 sn Laban’s obsession with wealth is apparent; to him it represents how one is blessed by the Lord. Already the author is laying the foundation for subsequent events in the narrative, where Laban’s greed becomes his dominant characteristic.

100 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial.

101 tn Heb “the man”; the referent (Abraham’s servant) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

102 tn Some translations (e.g., NEB, NASB, NRSV) understand Laban to be the subject of this and the following verbs or take the subject of this and the following verbs as indefinite (referring to an unnamed servant; e.g., NAB, NIV).

103 tn Heb “and [one] gave.” The verb without an expressed subject may be translated as passive.

104 tn Heb “and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him.”

105 tn Heb “and food was placed before him.”

106 tn Heb “my words.”

107 tc Some ancient textual witnesses have a plural verb, “and they said.”

tn Heb “and he said, ‘Speak.’” The referent (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

108 tn Heb “great.” In this context the statement refers primarily to Abraham’s material wealth, although reputation and influence are not excluded.

109 tn Heb “and he.” The referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

110 tn Heb “to my master.” This has been replaced by the pronoun “him” in the translation for stylistic reasons.

111 tn Heb “after her old age.”

112 tn Heb “and he.” The referent (the servant’s master, Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

113 tn Heb “but to the house of my father you must go and to my family and you must take a wife for my son.”

114 tn The imperfect is used here in a modal sense to indicate desire.

115 tn Heb “after me.”

116 tn The verb is the Hitpael of הָלַךְ (halakh), meaning “live one’s life” (see Gen 17:1). The statement may simply refer to serving the Lord or it may have a more positive moral connotation (“serve faithfully”).

117 tn Heb “my oath” (twice in this verse). From the Hebrew perspective the oath belonged to the person to whom it was sworn (Abraham), although in contemporary English an oath is typically viewed as belonging to the person who swears it (the servant).

118 tn Heb “if you are making successful my way on which I am going.”

119 tn The words “may events unfold as follows” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.

120 tn Heb “the spring of water.”

121 tn Heb “and it will be.”

122 tn Heb “As for me, before I finished speaking to my heart.” The adverb טֶרֶם (terem) indicates the verb is a preterite; the infinitive that follows is the direct object.

123 tn Heb “Look, Rebekah was coming out.” As in 24:15, the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) is used here for dramatic effect.

124 tn Heb “whom Milcah bore to him.” The referent (Nahor) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

125 tn Heb “daughter.” Rebekah was actually the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. One can either translate the Hebrew term בַּת (bat) as “daughter,” in which case the term אָח (’akh) must be translated more generally as “relative” rather than “brother” (cf. NASB, NRSV) or one can translate בַּת as “granddaughter,” in which case אָח may be translated “brother” (cf. NIV).

126 tn Heb “and I will turn to the right or to the left.” The expression apparently means that Abraham’s servant will know where he should go if there is no further business here.

127 tn Heb “From the Lord the matter has gone out.”

128 tn Heb “We are not able to speak to you bad or good.” This means that Laban and Bethuel could not say one way or the other what they wanted, for they viewed it as God’s will.

129 tn Following the imperatives, the jussive with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.

130 tn Heb “as the Lord has spoken.”

131 tn Heb “the servant”; the noun has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

132 tn Heb “And they ate and drank, he and the men who [were] with him and they spent the night.”

133 tn Heb “Send me away to my master.”

134 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Rebekah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

135 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial, indicating a reason for the preceding request.

136 tn After the preceding imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.

137 tn Heb “and we will ask her mouth.”

138 tn The imperfect verbal form here has a modal nuance, expressing desire.

139 tn Heb “and said to her.”

140 tn Heb “become thousands of ten thousands.”

sn May you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands. The blessing expresses their prayer that she produce children and start a family line that will greatly increase (cf. Gen 17:16).

141 tn Heb “gate,” which here stands for a walled city. In an ancient Near Eastern city the gate complex was the main area of defense (hence the translation “stronghold”). A similar phrase occurs in Gen 22:17.

142 tn Heb “And she arose, Rebekah and her female servants, and they rode upon camels and went after.”

143 tn Heb “the servant”; the word “Abraham’s” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

144 tn The disjunctive clause switches the audience’s attention to Isaac and signals a new episode in the story.

145 tn Heb “from the way of.”

146 sn The Hebrew name Beer Lahai Roi (בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי, bÿer lakhay roi) means “The well of the Living One who sees me.” See Gen 16:14.

147 tn This disjunctive clause is explanatory.

148 tn Or “the South [country].”

sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.

149 tn Heb “Isaac”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

150 tn The meaning of this Hebrew term is uncertain (cf. NASB, NIV “to meditate”; NRSV “to walk”).

151 tn Heb “at the turning of the evening.”

152 tn Heb “And he lifted up his eyes.” This idiom emphasizes the careful look Isaac had at the approaching caravan.

153 tn Heb “and look.” The clause introduced by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) invites the audience to view the scene through Isaac’s eyes.

154 tn Heb “lifted up her eyes.”

155 tn Heb “and she said to.”

156 tn Heb “the servant.” The word “Abraham’s” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

157 tn Heb “and the servant said.” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

158 tn Heb “her”; the referent has been specified here in the translation for clarity.

159 tn Heb “Rebekah”; here the proper name was replaced by the pronoun (“her”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

160 tn Heb “and he took Rebekah and she became his wife and he loved her.”

161 tn Heb “after his mother.” This must refer to Sarah’s death.

162 tn Or “took.”

sn Abraham had taken another wife. These events are not necessarily in chronological order following the events of the preceding chapter. They are listed here to summarize Abraham’s other descendants before the narrative of his death.

163 tn Heb “And Abraham added and took.”

164 sn The names Sheba and Dedan appear in Gen 10:7 as descendants of Ham through Cush and Raamah. Since these two names are usually interpreted to be place names, one plausible suggestion is that some of Abraham’s descendants lived in those regions and took names linked with it.

165 tn Or “sons.”

166 tn Heb “the sons of the concubines who [belonged] to Abraham.”

167 tn Heb “And he sent them away from upon Isaac his son, while he was still living, eastward to the land of the east.”

168 tn Heb “and these are the days of the years of the lifetime of Abraham that he lived.” The normal genealogical formula is expanded here due to the importance of the life of Abraham.

169 tn Heb “old and full.”

170 tn Heb “And he was gathered to his people.” In the ancient Israelite view he joined his deceased ancestors in Sheol, the land of the dead.

171 sn The cave of Machpelah was the place Abraham had purchased as a burial place for his wife Sarah (Gen 23:17-18).

172 tn See the note on the phrase “sons of Heth” in Gen 23:3.

173 sn God blessed Isaac. The Hebrew verb “bless” in this passage must include all the gifts that God granted to Isaac. But fertility was not one of them, at least not for twenty years, because Rebekah was barren as well (see v. 21).

174 sn Beer Lahai Roi. See the note on this place name in Gen 24:62.

175 sn This is the account of Ishmael. The Book of Genesis tends to tidy up the family records at every turning point. Here, before proceeding with the story of Isaac’s family, the narrative traces Ishmael’s family line. Later, before discussing Jacob’s family, the narrative traces Esau’s family line (see Gen 36).

176 tn The meaning of this line is not easily understood. The sons of Ishmael are listed here “by their names” and “according to their descendants.”

177 tn Or “tribal chieftains.”

178 tn Heb “And these are the days of the years of Ishmael.”

179 tn Heb “And he was gathered to his people.” In the ancient Israelite view he joined his deceased ancestors in Sheol, the land of the dead.

180 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Ishmael’s descendants) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

181 tn Heb “which is by the face of,” or near the border. The territory ran along the border of Egypt.

182 tn Heb “as you go.”

183 sn The name Asshur refers here to a tribal area in the Sinai.

184 tn Heb “he fell.”

185 tn Heb “upon the face of all his brothers.” This last expression, obviously alluding to the earlier oracle about Ishmael (Gen 16:12), could mean that the descendants of Ishmael lived in hostility to others or that they lived in a territory that was opposite the lands of their relatives. While there is some ambiguity about the meaning, the line probably does give a hint of the Ishmaelite-Israelite conflicts to come.

186 sn This is the account of Isaac. What follows for several chapters is not the account of Isaac, except briefly, but the account of Jacob and Esau. The next chapters tell what became of Isaac and his family.

187 tn Heb “And Isaac was the son of forty years when he took Rebekah.”

188 sn Some valuable information is provided here. We learn here that Isaac married thirty-five years before Abraham died, that Rebekah was barren for twenty years, and that Abraham would have lived to see Jacob and Esau begin to grow up. The death of Abraham was recorded in the first part of the chapter as a “tidying up” of one generation before beginning the account of the next.

189 tn The Hebrew verb עָתַר (’atar), translated “prayed [to]” here, appears in the story of God’s judgment on Egypt in which Moses asked the Lord to remove the plagues. The cognate word in Arabic means “to slaughter for sacrifice,” and the word is used in Zeph 3:10 to describe worshipers who bring offerings. Perhaps some ritual accompanied Isaac’s prayer here.

190 tn The Hebrew word used here suggests a violent struggle that was out of the ordinary.

191 tn Heb “If [it is] so, why [am] I this [way]?” Rebekah wanted to know what was happening to her, but the question itself reflects a growing despair over the struggle of the unborn children.

192 sn Asked the Lord. In other passages (e.g., 1 Sam 9:9) this expression refers to inquiring of a prophet, but no details are provided here.

193 sn By metonymy the two children in her womb are described as two nations of which the two children, Jacob and Esau, would become the fathers. The language suggests there would be a struggle between these nations, with one being stronger than the other. The oracle reveals that all of Jacob’s scheming was unnecessary in the final analysis. He would have become the dominant nation without using deception to steal his brother’s blessing.

194 tn Heb “And her days were filled to give birth.”

195 tn Heb “look!” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the audience to view the scene as if they were actually present at the birth.

196 sn Reddish. The Hebrew word translated “reddish” is אַדְמוֹנִי (’admoni), which forms a wordplay on the Edomites, Esau’s descendants. The writer sees in Esau’s appearance at birth a sign of what was to come. After all, the reader has already been made aware of the “nations” that were being born.

197 tn Heb “all of him.”

198 sn Hairy. Here is another wordplay involving the descendants of Esau. The Hebrew word translated “hairy” is שֵׂעָר (sear); the Edomites will later live in Mount Seir, perhaps named for its wooded nature.

199 tn Heb “And they called his name Esau.” The name “Esau” (עֵשָׂו, ’esav) is not etymologically related to שֵׂעָר (sear), but it draws on some of the sounds.

200 tn The disjunctive clause describes an important circumstance accompanying the birth. Whereas Esau was passive at birth, Jacob was active.

201 tn Heb “And he called his name Jacob.” Some ancient witnesses read “they called his name Jacob” (see v. 25). In either case the subject is indefinite.

sn The name Jacob is a play on the Hebrew word for “heel” (עָקֵב, ’aqev). The name (since it is a verb) probably means something like “may he protect,” that is, as a rearguard, dogging the heels. It did not have a negative connotation until Esau redefined it. This name was probably chosen because of the immediate association with the incident of grabbing the heel. After receiving such an oracle, the parents would have preserved in memory almost every detail of the unusual births.

202 tn Heb “the son of sixty years.”

203 tn Heb “knowing.”

204 tn The disjunctive clause juxtaposes Jacob with Esau and draws attention to the striking contrasts. In contrast to Esau, a man of the field, Jacob was civilized, as the phrase “living in tents” signifies. Whereas Esau was a skillful hunter, Jacob was calm and even-tempered (תָּם, tam), which normally has the idea of “blameless.”

205 tn Heb “the taste of game was in his mouth.” The word for “game,” “venison” is here the same Hebrew word as “hunter” in the last verse. Here it is a metonymy, referring to that which the hunter kills.

206 tn The disjunctive clause juxtaposes Rebekah with Jacob and draws attention to the contrast. The verb here is a participle, drawing attention to Rebekah’s continuing, enduring love for her son.

207 sn Jacob cooked some stew. There are some significant words and wordplays in this story that help clarify the points of the story. The verb “cook” is זִיד (zid), which sounds like the word for “hunter” (צַיִד, tsayid). This is deliberate, for the hunter becomes the hunted in this story. The word זִיד means “to cook, to boil,” but by the sound play with צַיִד it comes to mean “set a trap by cooking.” The usage of the word shows that it can also have the connotation of acting presumptuously (as in boiling over). This too may be a comment on the scene. For further discussion of the rhetorical devices in the Jacob narratives, see J. P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis (SSN).

208 tn The rare term לָעַט (laat), translated “feed,” is used in later Hebrew for feeding animals (see Jastrow, 714). If this nuance was attached to the word in the biblical period, then it may depict Esau in a negative light, comparing him to a hungry animal. Famished Esau comes in from the hunt, only to enter the trap. He can only point at the red stew and ask Jacob to feed him.

209 tn The verb has no expressed subject and so is given a passive translation.

210 sn Esau’s descendants would eventually be called Edom. Edom was the place where they lived, so-named probably because of the reddish nature of the hills. The writer can use the word “red” to describe the stew that Esau gasped for to convey the nature of Esau and his descendants. They were a lusty, passionate, and profane people who lived for the moment. Again, the wordplay is meant to capture the “omen in the nomen.”

211 tn Heb “today.”

212 tn Heb “And what is this to me, a birthright?”

213 tn Heb “Swear to me today.”

214 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Esau) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

215 sn And sold his birthright. There is evidence from Hurrian culture that rights of inheritance were occasionally sold or transferred. Here Esau is portrayed as a profane person who would at the moment rather have a meal than the right to inherit. He will soon forget this trade and seek his father’s blessing in spite of it.

216 sn The style here is typical of Hebrew narrative; after the tension is resolved with the dialogue, the working out of it is recorded in a rapid sequence of verbs (“gave”; “ate”; “drank”; “got up”; “went out”). See also Gen 3:1-7 for another example.

217 sn So Esau despised his birthright. This clause, which concludes the episode, is a summary statement which reveals the underlying significance of Esau’s actions. “To despise” means to treat something as worthless or with contempt. Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright was evidence that he considered it to be unimportant.

218 tn Heb “in addition to the first famine which was.”

219 sn This account is parallel to two similar stories about Abraham (see Gen 12:10-20; 20:1-18). Many scholars do not believe there were three similar incidents, only one that got borrowed and duplicated. Many regard the account about Isaac as the original, which then was attached to the more important person, Abraham, with supernatural elements being added. For a critique of such an approach, see R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 47-62. It is more likely that the story illustrates the proverb “like father, like son” (see T. W. Mann, The Book of the Torah, 53). In typical human fashion the son follows his father’s example of lying to avoid problems. The appearance of similar events reported in a similar way underscores the fact that the blessing has now passed to Isaac, even if he fails as his father did.

220 sn Do not go down to Egypt. The words echo Gen 12:10, which reports that “Abram went down to Egypt,” but state the opposite.

221 tn Heb “say to you.”

222 tn The Hebrew verb גּוּר (gur) means “to live temporarily without ownership of land.” Abraham’s family will not actually possess the land of Canaan until the Israelite conquest hundreds of years later.

223 tn After the imperative “stay” the two prefixed verb forms with prefixed conjunction here indicate consequence.

sn I will be with you and I will bless you. The promise of divine presence is a promise to intervene to protect and to bless.

224 tn The Hebrew term זֶרַע (zera’) occurring here and in v. 18 may mean “seed” (for planting), “offspring” (occasionally of animals, but usually of people), or “descendants” depending on the context.

sn To you and to your descendants. The Abrahamic blessing will pass to Isaac. Everything included in that blessing will now belong to the son, and in turn will be passed on to his sons. But there is a contingency involved: If they are to enjoy the full blessings, they will have to obey the word of the Lord. And so obedience is enjoined here with the example of how well Abraham obeyed.

225 tn The Hiphil stem of the verb קוּם (qum) here means “to fulfill, to bring to realization.” For other examples of this use of this verb form, see Lev 26:9; Num 23:19; Deut 8:18; 9:5; 1 Sam 1:23; 1 Kgs 6:12; Jer 11:5.

226 tn Heb “the oath which I swore.”

sn The solemn promise I made. See Gen 15:18-20; 22:16-18.

227 tn Heb “your descendants.”

228 tn Traditionally the verb is taken as passive (“will be blessed”) here, as if Abraham’s descendants were going to be a channel or source of blessing to the nations. But the Hitpael is better understood here as reflexive/reciprocal, “will bless [i.e., pronounce blessings on] themselves/one another” (see also Gen 22:18). Elsewhere the Hitpael of the verb “to bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 12:2 predicts that Abram will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae. For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11. Earlier formulations of this promise (see Gen 12:2; 18:18) use the Niphal stem. (See also Gen 28:14.)

229 tn The words “All this will come to pass” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied for stylistic reasons.

230 tn Heb “listened to my voice.”

231 sn My charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. The language of this verse is clearly interpretive, for Abraham did not have all these laws. The terms are legal designations for sections of the Mosaic law and presuppose the existence of the law. Some Rabbinic views actually conclude that Abraham had fulfilled the whole law before it was given (see m. Qiddushin 4:14). Some scholars argue that this story could only have been written after the law was given (C. Westermann, Genesis, 2:424-25). But the simplest explanation is that the narrator (traditionally taken to be Moses the Lawgiver) elaborated on the simple report of Abraham’s obedience by using terms with which the Israelites were familiar. In this way he depicts Abraham as the model of obedience to God’s commands, whose example Israel should follow.

232 sn Rebekah, unlike Sarah, was not actually her husband’s sister.

233 tn Heb “lest.” The words “for he thought to himself” are supplied because the next clause is written with a first person pronoun, showing that Isaac was saying or thinking this.

234 tn Heb “kill me on account of.”

235 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

236 tn Heb “and it happened when the days were long to him there.”

237 tn Heb “look, Isaac.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the audience to view the scene through Abimelech’s eyes.

238 tn Or “fondling.”

sn The Hebrew word מְצַחֵק (mÿtsakheq), from the root צָחַק (tsakhaq, “laugh”), forms a sound play with the name “Isaac” right before it. Here it depicts an action, probably caressing or fondling, that indicated immediately that Rebekah was Isaac’s wife, not his sister. Isaac’s deception made a mockery of God’s covenantal promise. Ignoring God’s promise to protect and bless him, Isaac lied to protect himself and acted in bad faith to the men of Gerar.

239 tn Heb “Surely, look!” See N. H. Snaith, “The meaning of Hebrew ‘ak,” VT 14 (1964): 221-25.

240 tn Heb “Because I said, ‘Lest I die on account of her.’” Since the verb “said” probably means “said to myself” (i.e., “thought”) here, the direct discourse in the Hebrew statement has been converted to indirect discourse in the translation. In addition the simple prepositional phrase “on account of her” has been clarified in the translation as “to get her” (cf. v. 7).

241 tn Heb “What is this you have done to us?” The Hebrew demonstrative pronoun “this” adds emphasis: “What in the world have you done to us?” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).

242 tn Heb “people.”

243 tn The Hebrew verb means “to lie down.” Here the expression “lie with” or “sleep with” is euphemistic for “have sexual relations with.”

244 tn Heb “strikes.” Here the verb has the nuance “to harm in any way.” It would include assaulting the woman or killing the man.

245 tn The use of the infinitive absolute before the imperfect makes the construction emphatic.

246 tn Heb “a hundredfold.”

247 tn This final clause explains why Isaac had such a bountiful harvest.

248 tn Heb “great.” In this context the statement refers primarily to Isaac’s material wealth, although reputation and influence are included.

249 tn Heb “and he went, going and becoming great.” The construction stresses that his growth in possessions and power continued steadily.

250 tn Heb “and there was to him.”

251 tn Heb “possessions of sheep.”

252 tn Heb “possessions of cattle.”

253 tn The Hebrew verb translated “became jealous” refers here to intense jealousy or envy that leads to hostile action (see v. 15).

254 tn Heb “and the Philistines stopped them up and filled them with dirt.”

255 tn Heb “Go away from us.”

256 sn You have become much more powerful. This explanation for the expulsion of Isaac from Philistine territory foreshadows the words used later by the Egyptians to justify their oppression of Israel (see Exod 1:9).

257 tn Heb “and he camped in the valley of Gerar and he lived there.”

sn This valley was actually a wadi (a dry river bed where the water would flow in the rainy season, but this would have been rare in the Negev). The water table under it would have been higher than in the desert because of water soaking in during the torrents, making it easier to find water when digging wells. However, this does not minimize the blessing of the Lord, for the men of the region knew this too, but did not have the same results.

258 tn Heb “he returned and dug,” meaning “he dug again” or “he reopened.”

259 tn Heb “that they dug.” Since the subject is indefinite, the verb is translated as passive.

260 tn Heb “and the Philistines had stopped them up.” This clause explains why Isaac had to reopen them.

261 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

262 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the wells) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

263 tn Heb “called names to them according to the names that his father called them.”

264 tn Heb “living.” This expression refers to a well supplied by subterranean streams (see Song 4:15).

265 tn The Hebrew verb translated “quarreled” describes a conflict that often has legal ramifications.

266 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

267 tn Heb “and he called the name of the well.”

268 sn The name Esek means “argument” in Hebrew. The following causal clause explains that Isaac gave the well this name as a reminder of the conflict its discovery had created. In the Hebrew text there is a wordplay, for the name is derived from the verb translated “argued.”

269 tn The words “about it” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

270 tn Heb “they”; the referent (Isaac’s servants) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

271 tn Heb “and he called its name.” The referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

272 sn The name Sitnah (שִׂטְנָה, sitnah) is derived from a Hebrew verbal root meaning “to oppose; to be an adversary” (cf. Job 1:6). The name was a reminder that the digging of this well caused “opposition” from the Philistines.

273 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

274 tn Heb “and he called its name.”

275 sn The name Rehoboth (רְהֹבוֹת, rehovot) is derived from a verbal root meaning “to make room.” The name was a reminder that God had made room for them. The story shows Isaac’s patience with the opposition; it also shows how God’s blessing outdistanced the men of Gerar. They could not stop it or seize it any longer.

276 tn Heb “and he went up from there”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

277 tn Heb “called in the name of.” The expression refers to worshiping the Lord through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 21:33). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116.

278 tn Heb “and they dug there, the servants of Isaac, a well.”

279 tn The disjunctive clause supplies pertinent supplemental information. The past perfect is used because the following narrative records the treaty at Beer Sheba. Prior to this we are told that Isaac settled in Beer Sheba; presumably this treaty would have allowed him to do that. However, it may be that he settled there and then made the treaty by which he renamed the place Beer Sheba. In this case one may translate “Now Abimelech came to him.”

280 tn Heb “and.”

281 tn Many modern translations render the Hebrew term מֵרֵעַ (merea’) as “councillor” or “adviser,” but the term may not designate an official position but simply a close personal friend.

282 tn The disjunctive clause is circumstantial, expressing the reason for his question.

283 tn The infinitive absolute before the verb emphasizes the clarity of their perception.

284 tn Heb “And we said, ‘Let there be.’” The direct discourse in the Hebrew text has been rendered as indirect discourse in the translation for stylistic reasons.

285 tn The pronoun “us” here is inclusive – it refers to the Philistine contingent on the one hand and Isaac on the other.

286 tn The pronoun “us” here is exclusive – it refers to just the Philistine contingent (the following “you” refers to Isaac).

287 tn The translation assumes that the cohortative expresses their request. Another option is to understand the cohortative as indicating resolve: “We want to make.’”

288 tn The oath formula is used: “if you do us harm” means “so that you will not do.”

289 tn Heb “touched.”

290 tn Heb “and just as we have done only good with you.”

291 tn Heb “and we sent you away.”

292 tn The Philistine leaders are making an observation, not pronouncing a blessing, so the translation reads “you are blessed” rather than “may you be blessed” (cf. NAB).

293 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

294 tn Heb “and they ate and drank.”

295 tn Heb “and they got up early and they swore an oath, a man to his brother.”

296 tn Heb “and they went from him in peace.”

297 tn Heb “and they said to him, ‘We have found water.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

298 sn The name Shibah (שִׁבְעָה, shivah) means (or at least sounds like) the word meaning “oath.” The name was a reminder of the oath sworn by Isaac and the Philistines to solidify their treaty.

299 sn The name Beer Sheba (בְּאֵר שָׁבַע, bÿer shava’) means “well of an oath” or “well of seven.” According to Gen 21:31 Abraham gave Beer Sheba its name when he made a treaty with the Philistines. Because of the parallels between this earlier story and the account in 26:26-33, some scholars see chaps. 21 and 26 as two versions (or doublets) of one original story. However, if one takes the text as it stands, it appears that Isaac made a later treaty agreement with the people of the land that was similar to his father’s. Abraham dug a well at the site and named the place Beer Sheba; Isaac dug another well there and named the well Shibah. Later generations then associated the name Beer Sheba with Isaac, even though Abraham gave the place its name at an earlier time.

300 tn The sentence begins with the temporal indicator (“and it happened”), making this clause subordinate to the next.

301 tn Heb “the son of forty years.”

302 tn Heb “took as a wife.”

303 tn Heb “And they were [a source of ] bitterness in spirit to Isaac and to Rebekah.”



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