Have you noticed the similarity between Gen chapters 20 and 26? They are both interactions with the Philistine ruler Abimelech. Abimelech, now much older, is still on the look out for good looking women, and Isaac treats with his wife Rebekah as his father Abraham did with Sarah! He told anyone who asked him that Rebekah was his sister, this time Abimelech was not taken unawares and kept his eyes open, and in time it became obvious that they were not sister and brother.
There is the continuing saga over wells and then Abimelech asks Isaac to move as they are getting overcrowed and "under each others skin".
Looking at the wells for a moment:
The first one "Esek" means dispute or bickering (Everett Fox)
The second one "Sitna" means opposition or animosity (Everett Fox)
The third one "Rehovot" means room or space (Everett Fox)
I see that the bickering and animosity among siblings is probably due to an overcrowding environment. I know that with child development the first thing to look at when toddlers play up is their environment, maybe its not so different for adults!
I like the fact that Isaac recognizes when he hits on God's success for his life with the third well V22. He now knows that he has travelled far enough to not get in trouble with the herdsmen of Gerar any more. So he prepares for growth and moves along a little further to Beersheba, then God appears to him and only then does he build an altar and pitches his tent and digs another well. Only he doesn't have to dig too far before they hit the well dug a generation earlier v32.
Isaac may or not have known that this was the same place where his father Abraham met with Abimelech and confirmed that He was the orginal digger of the well. (compare Ch 21:31 to 26:33)
The seeds of faith that we leave in our generation may be blessed and honoured much later.
I wonder at Abimelech who recognises that YHWH blesses both Abraham and Isaac enough to ensure peace between their tribes and at the same time keeps his distance from the people of YHWH. Siobhan
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