21:25 But Abraham lodged a complaint 1 against Abimelech concerning a well 2 that Abimelech’s servants had seized. 3 21:26 “I do not know who has done this thing,” Abimelech replied. “Moreover, 4 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. 5 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 6 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 7 that I dug this well.” 8
1 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.
2 tn Heb “concerning the matter of the well of water.”
3 tn The Hebrew verb used here means “to steal; to rob; to take violently.” The statement reflects Abraham’s perspective.
4 tn Heb “and also.”
5 tn Heb “cut a covenant.”
6 tn Heb “What are these?”
7 tn Heb “that it be for me for a witness.”
8 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.