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Genesis 26:18-22

Context
26:18 Isaac reopened 1  the wells that had been dug 2  back in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up 3  after Abraham died. Isaac 4  gave these wells 5  the same names his father had given them. 6 

26:19 When Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well with fresh flowing 7  water there, 26:20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled 8  with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water belongs to us!” So Isaac 9  named the well 10  Esek 11  because they argued with him about it. 12  26:21 His servants 13  dug another well, but they quarreled over it too, so Isaac named it 14  Sitnah. 15  26:22 Then he moved away from there and dug another well. They did not quarrel over it, so Isaac 16  named it 17  Rehoboth, 18  saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we will prosper in the land.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 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.”

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

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

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

15 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.

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

17 tn Heb “and he called its name.”

18 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.



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