A Daily Genesis

Genesis 26:21-25

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 26:21 . . And when they dug another well, they disputed over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.[/B]

The Hebrew word for "Sitnah" is from [I]sitnan[/I] (sit-naw') which is the very same as [I]sitnah[/I] (sit-naw') which means: opposition (by letter).

Apparently the herdsmen were filing formal complaints against Isaac like the enemies of Ezra did when he was attempting to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. (Ezr 4:6-7)

Gerar County's Water Board must have ruled in favor of the herdsmen because Isaac had to keep moving around until they finally left him alone.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 26:22 . . He moved from there and dug yet another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying: Now at last the Lord has granted us ample space to increase in the land.[/B]

The herdsmen had, by this time, probably pushed Isaac way out to land that nobody wanted. But God was with Isaac. Even the deserts produce when His hands are in it. (cf. Isa 35:1-4)

With those pesky herdsmen out of the way, the road, or rather, roads ahead were wide and clear; and Isaac could put the pedal to the metal and go full speed ahead and not worry about hitting an iceberg; viz: the sky was the limit.

Isaac was a very patient man, and affable too. But push him too far, and he might show his teeth. In a bit, Abimelech is coming calling and Isaac is going to confront the obtuse monarch about the way he was treated by the County Water Board.

Yes, Isaac Enterprises was a huge, going concern that spread over many acres of land. But he didn't obtain his wealth by dishonest means. All of Isaac's business was conducted legally and above board. And he complied with all of the Gerar County rulings concerning disputes over the water rights even though their rulings were undoubtedly biased in favor of Gerar citizens. Isaac didn't deserve to be treated so unfairly.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 26:23 . . From there he went up to Beer-sheba.[/B]

Exactly where the boys Jacob and Esau were during this era in Isaac's life isn't stated. They may have remained in the highlands to protect Isaac's interests while he was out of town, but then again, they may have been with him in Gerar: it's impossible to tell.

Genesis doesn't say exactly how long Isaac and Rebecca lived around Gaza. Isaac's usual haunts were Beer-lahai-roi, about 50 miles further south. Beer-sheba was Abraham's zone on oath between him and an earlier Abimelech. The Gerarians could be expected to leave Isaac alone there. The first night, God showed up.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 26:24a . .That night the Lord appeared to him and said: I am the god of your father Abraham.[/B]

In what manner, or by what method, God appeared to Isaac isn't stated. It could have been in a dream, it could have been as a traveling man, or a close encounter of a third kind: nobody knows for sure.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 26:24b . . Fear not, for I am with you,[/B]

It's reasonable to assume it was unnecessary for God to reassure Isaac, but Abimelech is on the way. He won't come alone either. He was a king; and kings travel with an armed retinue. So when news of this comes to Isaac, he would have good cause to become alarmed. I think God is just giving him a pep talk to prepare him for the meeting. Like they say: one with God is a majority; and a man who fears God, has no man to fear.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 26:24c . . and I will bless you[/B]

Isn't that what He promised earlier, when Isaac moved down into Gerar? Yes. And just in case Isaac thought that was a one time deal, and he would never be blessed again, God reaffirms his commitment to blessing Abraham's progeny.

[B][SIZE=2]NOTE[/SIZE]:[/B] The Bible's readers aren't all that privy to what went on in the minds of the patriarchs. It could be-- and this is only a guess --that Isaac was feeling a bit guilty about his attempt to deceive Abimelech regarding the nature of his relationship with Rebecca. Because of that; his humanistic sense of justice may have suggested that his mistake cost him the previous blessing: or possibly future ones.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 26:24d . . and increase your progeny for the sake of My servant Abraham.[/B]

If I were a Hebrew man-- not a pseudo Jew like Gentiles who become Jews by conversion --but a real Hebrew man by blood, I would make a point of remembering that God will honor His commitment to Abraham. He hasn't preserved the people of Israel because they are Jews nor because they are so faithful to God. No, far from it. It's solely because of His personal commitment to Abraham-- period. (cf. Ex 32:9-14)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 26:25 . . So he built an altar there and invoked the Lord by name. Isaac pitched his tent there and his servants started digging a well.[/B]

Speaking to God by name is different than addressing Him officially as a deity or a monarch. Not that there's anything wrong with addressing the Bible's God officially as a deity or a monarch; but speaking to Him by name implies familiarity; which is a lots cozier than official protocol.

In other words: If I were to meet with America's President Obama, I would address him as Sir or Mr. President. It would be very presumptuous and disrespectful of me to address him by his name Barry because we have never associated on that level; nor do I expect to.

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