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And he went up from thence to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed, for my servant Abraham’s sake.
And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there : and there Isaac's servants digged a well.
Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phicol the chief captain of his army. And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
And they said: We saw certainly that the Lord was with thee; and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee, that thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace ; thou art now the blessed of the LoRD.
And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants came and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water, And he called it Sheba : therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba unto this day.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Famine is reckoned among those judgments which are inflicted by the hand of God, to awaken wicked nations to
( 149 :) . - - to a sense of their sins”. That which happened in the days of Isaac seems to have been designed for the pu
nishment of the idolatrous people, and shews that they
were not cut off without warnings. It appears that Go D commanded Isaact to go from Canaan while the famine lasted, and directed him to the land of the Philistines instead of Egypt, to which we may presume he had purposed to go. But before he departed he was taught to consider Canaan as his home; and to dispel from his mind those fears which the famine naturally gave rise to, the Covenant, which the Loro had formerly made with Abraham, was renewed to him; and that Isaac might understand that God’s favour to his faithful servants is not limited to the short term of their existence in this world, the Lok D assured him, that, in
granting the blessing to him, he meant to do a farther \
honour to Abraham, which implied that Abraham still existed, though no longer on earth. - The king of the Philistines could scarcely be the same
with whom Abraham made an alliance; but it is ima
gined, that Abimelech was a general name for the
* See Lev. xxvi. 20. Deut. xxviii. 23. Amos iv. 6. “ + I have taken the liberty of making a transposition in this section, which hope the context justifies, " : See Section xvi.
H 3 the
the expression of Abimelech, Thou art greater and migre'tier than we, must not be understood literally, but com
paratively. The wonderful increase of Isaac's substance had raised the envy of the Philistines, who murmured at seeing a foreigner more prosperous in their Hund than themselves.
In the valley of Gerar, Isaac had a sort of hereditary right 'to dwell, for a former king had granted to his father the liberty of choosing any part of the country for his residence ; and this was the spot Abraham fixed upon; and Isaac had an undoubted claim to the wells which his father digged, because that Patriarch had actually purchased a title to them *. It was this consi. deration in all probability that chiefy iniluenced Isaac to open them rather than dig new ones. Beer-sheba had been consecrated by Abraham, who planted a grove there, and built an altar to the LORD. No sooner was Isaac arrived at this sacred spot, than he was honoured with a Divine vision, and a fresh ratification of the Covenant respecting temporal blessings : from a prin. ciple of gratitude for the promises, vouchsafed to him, we find that he also built an altar, and resolved to abide in that place.
It seems that Abimelech feared the true Gov, or he would not have been so solicitous to make an alliance with Isaac, merely from a conviction that he was peculiarly blessed of the Lord. It is very remarkable, that the well which Abraham named Beer-sheba, or the well of the oath, in witness of the Covenant made between lijm and the king of the Philistines, should be discovered to Isaac on the very day that he was in similar circumstances. It is likely that the news arriv. ed before his royal guest had left him, and that he restored the name to do honour to his father's memory;
* Sec Section xvi.
and also that the well might, agreeably to its first destination, serve as a testimony of the covenant which he had just renewed. ..
The name Phicol seems to have titularly belonged to the office of chief captain of the army. Who Ahuz. zath was we are not told, but he was doubtless a person of distinction.
It is evident, from the words in which the promise at the beginning of this section was conveyed to Isaac, that the Divine Being who made it, was the same Lord that appeared to Abraham, and we find him in the second vision, calling himself the God of Abraham. Si
It is needless to expatiate further on this passage of Scripture; for, after contemplating the history of Abraham, the reflections and practical instruction it is calculated to convey, will naturally arise in the mind of an attentive reader. den ser
ESAU SELLETH HIS BIRTH-RIGHT-HE MARRJETA
TWO WIVES.si r. , il
From Genesis, Chap. XXV. And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint : And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage ; for I am faint : therefore was his name called Edom...' ,
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birth right. Do
And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die : and what profit shall this birth-right to do me!... "
And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him : and he sold his birth-right unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles;
and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birth-right. And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
* Esau and Jacob were twin brothers; but as Esau was the first-born, he had, as we may suppose, a superiority in his father's house, and seems to have expected, as his birth-right, to be heir of the promises which God had made to Abraham and Isaac, one part of which was, that God would be their God in a peculiar manner. Fond of the sports of the field, Esau pursued them with such ardor, that he left himself little time for considering the value of the privileges to which he made pretensions, or he would not have parted with them so easily. The Apostle” to the Hebrews represents the sale of the birth-right as a shrofane action, which it could not have been, had it related to temporal blessings only. i Jacob, on the other hand, seems to have had a sincere faith in the promises of God, and an urgent desire to possess the blessings which were promised to the seed of - Abraham and Isaac. It is most likely that Rebekah had made known to Jacob, who was her darling son, what the LoRD had revealed to her, before his birth, concerning the superiority which the nation that was to proceed from him should have over that which was to proceed from Esau. This, however, is no excuse for Jacob: he certainly took an unjustifiable method to obtain the birth-right; and we must not consider his success in this instance as a proof-of the Divine favour : for it.