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Genesis 21:1-34

Context
The Birth of Isaac

21:1 The Lord visited 1  Sarah just as he had said he would and did 2  for Sarah what he had promised. 3  21:2 So Sarah became pregnant 4  and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the appointed time that God had told him. 21:3 Abraham named his son – whom Sarah bore to him – Isaac. 5  21:4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, 6  Abraham circumcised him just as God had commanded him to do. 7  21:5 (Now Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.) 8 

21:6 Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. 9  Everyone who hears about this 10  will laugh 11  with me.” 21:7 She went on to say, 12  “Who would 13  have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have given birth to a son for him in his old age!”

21:8 The child grew and was weaned. Abraham prepared 14  a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 15  21:9 But Sarah noticed 16  the son of Hagar the Egyptian – the son whom Hagar had borne to Abraham – mocking. 17  21:10 So she said to Abraham, “Banish 18  that slave woman and her son, for the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son Isaac!”

21:11 Sarah’s demand displeased Abraham greatly because Ishmael was his son. 19  21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be upset 20  about the boy or your slave wife. Do 21  all that Sarah is telling 22  you because through Isaac your descendants will be counted. 23  21:13 But I will also make the son of the slave wife into a great nation, for he is your descendant too.”

21:14 Early in the morning Abraham took 24  some food 25  and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He put them on her shoulders, gave her the child, 26  and sent her away. So she went wandering 27  aimlessly through the wilderness 28  of Beer Sheba. 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she shoved 29  the child under one of the shrubs. 21:16 Then she went and sat down by herself across from him at quite a distance, about a bowshot 30  away; for she thought, 31  “I refuse to watch the child die.” 32  So she sat across from him and wept uncontrollably. 33 

21:17 But God heard the boy’s voice. 34  The angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and asked her, “What is the matter, 35  Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard 36  the boy’s voice right where he is crying. 21:18 Get up! Help the boy up and hold him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 21:19 Then God enabled Hagar to see a well of water. 37  She went over and filled the skin with water, and then gave the boy a drink.

21:20 God was with the boy as he grew. He lived in the wilderness and became an archer. 21:21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran. 38  His mother found a wife for him from the land of Egypt. 39 

21:22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, said to Abraham, “God is with you 40  in all that you do. 21:23 Now swear to me right here in God’s name 41  that you will not deceive me, my children, or my descendants. 42  Show me, and the land 43  where you are staying, 44  the same loyalty 45  that I have shown you.” 46 

21:24 Abraham said, “I swear to do this.” 47  21:25 But Abraham lodged a complaint 48  against Abimelech concerning a well 49  that Abimelech’s servants had seized. 50  21:26 “I do not know who has done this thing,” Abimelech replied. “Moreover, 51  you did not tell me. I did not hear about it until today.”

21:27 Abraham took some sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech. The two of them made a treaty. 52  21:28 Then Abraham set seven ewe lambs apart from the flock by themselves. 21:29 Abimelech asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these 53  seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?” 21:30 He replied, “You must take these seven ewe lambs from my hand as legal proof 54  that I dug this well.” 55  21:31 That is why he named that place 56  Beer Sheba, 57  because the two of them swore 58  an oath there.

21:32 So they made a treaty 59  at Beer Sheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, returned 60  to the land of the Philistines. 61  21:33 Abraham 62  planted a tamarisk tree 63  in Beer Sheba. There he worshiped the Lord, 64  the eternal God. 21:34 So Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for quite some time. 65 

Genesis 26:1-35

Context
Isaac and Abimelech

26:1 There was a famine in the land, subsequent to the earlier famine that occurred 66  in the days of Abraham. 67  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; 68  settle down in the land that I will point out to you. 69  26:3 Stay 70  in this land. Then I will be with you and will bless you, 71  for I will give all these lands to you and to your descendants, 72  and I will fulfill 73  the solemn promise I made 74  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 75  all these lands. All the nations of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another using the name of your descendants. 76  26:5 All this will come to pass 77  because Abraham obeyed me 78  and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” 79  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.” 80  He was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” for he thought to himself, 81  “The men of this place will kill me to get 82  Rebekah because she is very beautiful.”

26:8 After Isaac 83  had been there a long time, 84  Abimelech king of the Philistines happened to look out a window and observed 85  Isaac caressing 86  his wife Rebekah. 26:9 So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, “She is really 87  your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac replied, “Because I thought someone might kill me to get her.” 88 

26:10 Then Abimelech exclaimed, “What in the world have you done to us? 89  One of the men 90  might easily have had sexual relations with 91  your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!” 26:11 So Abimelech commanded all the people, “Whoever touches 92  this man or his wife will surely be put to death.” 93 

26:12 When Isaac planted in that land, he reaped in the same year a hundred times what he had sown, 94  because the Lord blessed him. 95  26:13 The man became wealthy. 96  His influence continued to grow 97  until he became very prominent. 26:14 He had 98  so many sheep 99  and cattle 100  and such a great household of servants that the Philistines became jealous 101  of him. 26:15 So the Philistines took dirt and filled up 102  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, 103  for you have become much more powerful 104  than we are.” 26:17 So Isaac left there and settled in the Gerar Valley. 105  26:18 Isaac reopened 106  the wells that had been dug 107  back in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up 108  after Abraham died. Isaac 109  gave these wells 110  the same names his father had given them. 111 

26:19 When Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well with fresh flowing 112  water there, 26:20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled 113  with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water belongs to us!” So Isaac 114  named the well 115  Esek 116  because they argued with him about it. 117  26:21 His servants 118  dug another well, but they quarreled over it too, so Isaac named it 119  Sitnah. 120  26:22 Then he moved away from there and dug another well. They did not quarrel over it, so Isaac 121  named it 122  Rehoboth, 123  saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we will prosper in the land.”

26:23 From there Isaac 124  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 125  the Lord. He pitched his tent there, and his servants dug a well. 126 

26:26 Now Abimelech had come 127  to him from Gerar along with 128  Ahuzzah his friend 129  and Phicol the commander of his army. 26:27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me? You hate me 130  and sent me away from you.” 26:28 They replied, “We could plainly see 131  that the Lord is with you. So we decided there should be 132  a pact between us 133  – between us 134  and you. Allow us to make 135  a treaty with you 26:29 so that 136  you will not do us any harm, just as we have not harmed 137  you, but have always treated you well 138  before sending you away 139  in peace. Now you are blessed by the Lord.” 140 

26:30 So Isaac 141  held a feast for them and they celebrated. 142  26:31 Early in the morning the men made a treaty with each other. 143  Isaac sent them off; they separated on good terms. 144 

26:32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. “We’ve found water,” they reported. 145  26:33 So he named it Shibah; 146  that is why the name of the city has been Beer Sheba 147  to this day.

26:34 When 148  Esau was forty years old, 149  he married 150  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. 151 

1 sn The Hebrew verb translated “visit” (פָּקַד, paqad ) often describes divine intervention for blessing or cursing; it indicates God’s special attention to an individual or a matter, always with respect to his people’s destiny. He may visit (that is, destroy) the Amalekites; he may visit (that is, deliver) his people in Egypt. Here he visits Sarah, to allow her to have the promised child. One’s destiny is changed when the Lord “visits.” For a more detailed study of the term, see G. André, Determining the Destiny (ConBOT).

2 tn Heb “and the Lord did.” The divine name has not been repeated here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

3 tn Heb “spoken.”

4 tn Or “she conceived.”

5 tn Heb “the one born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.” The two modifying clauses, the first introduced with an article and the second with the relative pronoun, are placed in the middle of the sentence, before the name Isaac is stated. They are meant to underscore that this was indeed an actual birth to Abraham and Sarah in fulfillment of the promise.

6 tn Heb “Isaac his son, the son of eight days.” The name “Isaac” is repeated in the translation for clarity.

7 sn Just as God had commanded him to do. With the birth of the promised child, Abraham obeyed the Lord by both naming (Gen 17:19) and circumcising Isaac (17:12).

8 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause underscores how miraculous this birth was. Abraham was 100 years old. The fact that the genealogies give the ages of the fathers when their first son is born shows that this was considered a major milestone in one’s life (G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 2:80).

9 tn Heb “Laughter God has made for me.”

10 tn The words “about this” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

11 sn Sarah’s words play on the name “Isaac” in a final triumphant manner. God prepared “laughter” (צְחֹק, ysÿkhoq ) for her, and everyone who hears about this “will laugh” (יִצְחַק, yitskhaq ) with her. The laughter now signals great joy and fulfillment, not unbelief (cf. Gen 18:12-15).

12 tn Heb “said.”

13 tn The perfect form of the verb is used here to describe a hypothetical situation.

14 tn Heb “made.”

15 sn Children were weaned closer to the age of two or three in the ancient world, because infant mortality was high. If an infant grew to this stage, it was fairly certain he or she would live. Such an event called for a celebration, especially for parents who had waited so long for a child.

16 tn Heb “saw.”

17 tn The Piel participle used here is from the same root as the name “Isaac.” In the Piel stem the verb means “to jest; to make sport of; to play with,” not simply “to laugh,” which is the meaning of the verb in the Qal stem. What exactly Ishmael was doing is not clear. Interpreters have generally concluded that the boy was either (1) mocking Isaac (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT) or (2) merely playing with Isaac as if on equal footing (cf. NAB, NRSV). In either case Sarah saw it as a threat. The same participial form was used in Gen 19:14 to describe how some in Lot’s family viewed his attempt to warn them of impending doom. It also appears later in Gen 39:14, 17, where Potiphar accuses Joseph of mocking them.

sn Mocking. Here Sarah interprets Ishmael’s actions as being sinister. Ishmael probably did not take the younger child seriously and Sarah saw this as a threat to Isaac. Paul in Gal 4:29 says that Ishmael persecuted Isaac. He uses a Greek word that can mean “to put to flight; to chase away; to pursue” and may be drawing on a rabbinic interpretation of the passage. In Paul’s analogical application of the passage, he points out that once the promised child Isaac (symbolizing Christ as the fulfillment of God’s promise) has come, there is no room left for the slave woman and her son (who symbolize the Mosaic law).

18 tn Heb “drive out.” The language may seem severe, but Sarah’s maternal instincts sensed a real danger in that Ishmael was not treating Isaac with the proper respect.

19 tn Heb “and the word was very wrong in the eyes of Abraham on account of his son.” The verb רָעַע (raa’) often refers to what is morally or ethically “evil.” It usage here suggests that Abraham thought Sarah’s demand was ethically (and perhaps legally) wrong.

20 tn Heb “Let it not be evil in your eyes.”

21 tn Heb “listen to her voice.” The idiomatic expression means “obey; comply.” Here her advice, though harsh, is necessary and conforms to the will of God. Later (see Gen 25), when Abraham has other sons, he sends them all away as well.

22 tn The imperfect verbal form here draws attention to an action that is underway.

23 tn Or perhaps “will be named”; Heb “for in Isaac offspring will be called to you.” The exact meaning of the statement is not clear, but it does indicate that God’s covenantal promises to Abraham will be realized through Isaac, not Ishmael.

24 tn Heb “and Abraham rose up early in the morning and he took.”

25 tn Heb “bread,” although the term can be used for food in general.

26 tn Heb “He put upon her shoulder, and the boy [or perhaps, “and with the boy”], and he sent her away.” It is unclear how “and the boy” relates syntactically to what precedes. Perhaps the words should be rearranged and the text read, “and he put [them] on her shoulder and he gave to Hagar the boy.”

27 tn Heb “she went and wandered.”

28 tn Or “desert,” although for English readers this usually connotes a sandy desert like the Sahara rather than the arid wasteland of this region with its sparse vegetation.

29 tn Heb “threw,” but the child, who was now thirteen years old, would not have been carried, let alone thrown under a bush. The exaggerated language suggests Ishmael is limp from dehydration and is being abandoned to die. See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 2:85.

30 sn A bowshot would be a distance of about a hundred yards (ninety meters).

31 tn Heb “said.”

32 tn Heb “I will not look on the death of the child.” The cohortative verbal form (note the negative particle אַל,’al) here expresses her resolve to avoid the stated action.

33 tn Heb “and she lifted up her voice and wept” (that is, she wept uncontrollably). The LXX reads “he” (referring to Ishmael) rather than “she” (referring to Hagar), but this is probably an attempt to harmonize this verse with the following one, which refers to the boy’s cries.

34 sn God heard the boy’s voice. The text has not to this point indicated that Ishmael was crying out, either in pain or in prayer. But the text here makes it clear that God heard him. Ishmael is clearly central to the story. Both the mother and the Lord are focused on the child’s imminent death.

35 tn Heb “What to you?”

36 sn Here the verb heard picks up the main motif of the name Ishmael (“God hears”), introduced back in chap. 16.

37 tn Heb “And God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” The referent (Hagar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

38 sn The wilderness of Paran is an area in the east central region of the Sinai peninsula, northeast from the traditional site of Mt. Sinai and with the Arabah and the Gulf of Aqaba as its eastern border.

39 tn Heb “And his mother took for him a wife from the land of Egypt.”

40 sn God is with you. Abimelech and Phicol recognized that Abraham enjoyed special divine provision and protection.

41 tn Heb “And now swear to me by God here.”

42 tn Heb “my offspring and my descendants.”

43 tn The word “land” refers by metonymy to the people in the land.

44 tn The Hebrew verb means “to stay, to live, to sojourn” as a temporary resident without ownership rights.

45 tn Or “kindness.”

46 tn Heb “According to the loyalty which I have done with you, do with me and with the land in which you are staying.”

47 tn Heb “I swear.” No object is specified in the Hebrew text, but the content of the oath requested by Abimelech is the implied object.

48 tn The Hebrew verb used here means “to argue; to dispute”; it can focus on the beginning of the dispute (as here), the dispute itself, or the resolution of a dispute (Isa 1:18). Apparently the complaint was lodged before the actual oath was taken.

49 tn Heb “concerning the matter of the well of water.”

50 tn The Hebrew verb used here means “to steal; to rob; to take violently.” The statement reflects Abraham’s perspective.

51 tn Heb “and also.”

52 tn Heb “cut a covenant.”

53 tn Heb “What are these?”

54 tn Heb “that it be for me for a witness.”

55 sn This well. Since the king wanted a treaty to share in Abraham’s good fortune, Abraham used the treaty to secure ownership of and protection for the well he dug. It would be useless to make a treaty to live in this territory if he had no rights to the water. Abraham consented to the treaty, but added his rider to it.

56 tn Heb “that is why he called that place.” Some translations render this as an impersonal passive, “that is why that place was called.”

57 sn The name Beer Sheba (בְּאֵר שָׁבַע, bÿer shava’) means “well of the oath” or “well of the seven.” Both the verb “to swear” and the number “seven” have been used throughout the account. Now they are drawn in as part of the explanation of the significance of the name.

58 sn The verb forms a wordplay with the name Beer Sheba.

59 tn Heb “cut a covenant.”

60 tn Heb “arose and returned.”

61 sn The Philistines mentioned here may not be ethnically related to those who lived in Palestine in the time of the judges and the united monarchy. See D. M. Howard, “Philistines,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 238.

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

63 sn The planting of the tamarisk tree is a sign of Abraham’s intent to stay there for a long time, not a religious act. A growing tree in the Negev would be a lasting witness to God’s provision of water.

64 tn Heb “he called there in the name of the Lord.” The expression refers to worshiping the Lord through prayer and sacrifice (see Gen 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 26:25). See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 1:116, 281.

65 tn Heb “many days.”

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

67 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.

68 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.

69 tn Heb “say to you.”

70 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.

71 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.

72 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.

73 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.

74 tn Heb “the oath which I swore.”

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

75 tn Heb “your descendants.”

76 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.)

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

78 tn Heb “listened to my voice.”

79 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.

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

81 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.

82 tn Heb “kill me on account of.”

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

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

85 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.

86 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.

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

88 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).

89 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).

90 tn Heb “people.”

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

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

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

94 tn Heb “a hundredfold.”

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

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

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

98 tn Heb “and there was to him.”

99 tn Heb “possessions of sheep.”

100 tn Heb “possessions of cattle.”

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

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

103 tn Heb “Go away from us.”

104 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).

105 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

116 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.”

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

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

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

120 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.

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

122 tn Heb “and he called its name.”

123 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.

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

125 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.

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

127 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.”

128 tn Heb “and.”

129 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.

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

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

132 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.

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

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

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

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

137 tn Heb “touched.”

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

139 tn Heb “and we sent you away.”

140 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).

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

142 tn Heb “and they ate and drank.”

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

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

145 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.

146 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.

147 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.

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

149 tn Heb “the son of forty years.”

150 tn Heb “took as a wife.”

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



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