Isaac’s Agreement With Abimelech

Lady Nancy Astor, the first woman ever seated in the British House of Commons, encountered a lot of male antagonism – but proved herself capable of giving as well as receiving in that arena. Once, at a formal dinner, Lady Astor said to her neighbor that she considered men t … More


Isaac’s prosperity made the Philistines envious of his wealth and as a result they filled his wells with dirt (vv. 17-22). To stop-up or destroy a well in those days was considered an act of war. It was a deliberate way of infringing upon the territorial rights of another. Since these wells had been dug by Abraham, the Philistines were, in effect, tearing up their treaty with Abraham.

Isaac was a peace loving man who hated strife. He refused to fight back but continued to relinquish his right to one well after another until the Philistines in frustration let him alone. Eventually he moved to Beersheba where God appeared to him and confirmed the Abrahamic Covenant (vv. 23-25). Isaac built an altar, worshiped the Lord, set up a camp and started digging a well.

The Philistines show up and persecuted Isaac, pursued him, robbing and opposing him at every bend in the road, yet they claimed they had done him no wrong (vv. 26-29). This is typical of the unregenerate man’s appraisal of his own behavior. It is easy for him to flatter himself rather than face up to the true facts. Isaac gave a big feast while his servants dug a well (vv. 30-33).

During this time Isaac had an Esau growing to manhood in his home. Esau had never shown any intent in God’s Word. Esau was now 40 years of age and he decides to get married to two foreign women (vv. 34-35). His marriage to two Hittite women (Judith and Bashemath) were a grief to his parents. As so often happens with many men whose life has made a great impact on others, Isaac fails to train his own boy in the things of the Lord.


If Satan cannot attack a man any other way, he will attack him through his family. We may not agree with everything our parents say, but we need to talk with them and listen carefully to what they have to say.  This will help to avoid the heart ache Esau experienced.

Genesis 26:17-35 (English Standard Version)

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