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Genesis 26:23-33


26:23 From there Isaac 1  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 2  the Lord. He pitched his tent there, and his servants dug a well. 3 

26:26 Now Abimelech had come 4  to him from Gerar along with 5  Ahuzzah his friend 6  and Phicol the commander of his army. 26:27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me? You hate me 7  and sent me away from you.” 26:28 They replied, “We could plainly see 8  that the Lord is with you. So we decided there should be 9  a pact between us 10  – between us 11  and you. Allow us to make 12  a treaty with you 26:29 so that 13  you will not do us any harm, just as we have not harmed 14  you, but have always treated you well 15  before sending you away 16  in peace. Now you are blessed by the Lord.” 17 

26:30 So Isaac 18  held a feast for them and they celebrated. 19  26:31 Early in the morning the men made a treaty with each other. 20  Isaac sent them off; they separated on good terms. 21 

26:32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. “We’ve found water,” they reported. 22  26:33 So he named it Shibah; 23  that is why the name of the city has been Beer Sheba 24  to this day.

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

2 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.

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

4 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.”

5 tn Heb “and.”

6 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.

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

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

9 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.

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

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

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

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

14 tn Heb “touched.”

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

16 tn Heb “and we sent you away.”

17 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).

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

19 tn Heb “and they ate and drank.”

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

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

22 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.

23 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.

24 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.

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