Isaac Lies to Abimelech
Now there was a famine. This was like the famine that happened during Abraham’s life. So Isaac went to the town of Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines. 2
The LORD spoke to Isaac and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt. Live in the land that I commanded you to live in. 3
Stay in this land, and I will be with you. I will bless you. I will give you and your family all these lands. I will do what I promised to Abraham your father. 4
I will make your family as many as the stars of heaven, and I will give all these lands to your family. Through your descendants*
every nation on earth will be blessed. 5
I will do this because your father Abraham obeyed my words and did what I said. He obeyed my commands, my laws, and my rules.”
6 So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7 His wife Rebekah was very beautiful. The men of that place asked Isaac about Rebekah. He said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to tell them Rebekah was his wife. He was afraid the men would kill him so that they could have her.
8 After Isaac had lived there a long time, Abimelech looked out of his window and saw Isaac and his wife enjoying one another. 9 Abimelech called for Isaac and said, “This woman is your wife. Why did you tell us that she was your sister?”
Isaac said to him, “I was afraid that you would kill me so that you could have her.”
10 Abimelech said, “You have done a bad thing to us. One of our men might have had sex with your wife. Then he would be guilty of a great sin.”
11 So Abimelech gave a warning to all the people. He said, “No one must hurt this man or this woman. If anyone hurts them, they will be killed.”
Isaac Becomes Rich
12 Isaac planted fields in that place, and that year he gathered a great harvest. The LORD blessed him very much. 13 Isaac became rich. He gathered more and more wealth until he became a very rich man. 14 He had many flocks and herds of animals. He also had many slaves. All the Philistines were jealous of him. 15 So they destroyed all the wells that Isaac’s father Abraham and his servants had dug many years before. They filled them with sand. 16 Abimelech said to Isaac, “Leave our country. You have become much more powerful than we are.”
So Isaac left that place and camped near the little river of Gerar. He stayed there and lived. 18
Long before this time, Abraham had dug many wells. After he died, the Philistines filled the wells with sand. So Isaac went back and dug those wells again. He gave them the same names his father had given them. 19
Isaac’s servants also dug a well near the little river and found fresh water.† 20
But the men who herded sheep in the Valley of Gerar argued with Isaac’s servants. They said, “This water is ours.” So Isaac named that well Esek.‡
He gave it that name because it was the place where they had argued with him.
Then Isaac’s servants dug another well. But there was an argument over this well too. So Isaac named that well Sitnah.§
Isaac moved from there and dug another well. No one came to argue about this well. So Isaac named it Rehoboth.*
He said, “Now the LORD has found a place for us. We will grow and be successful in this place.”
23 From there Isaac went to Beersheba. 24 The LORD spoke to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Don’t be afraid. I am with you, and I will bless you. I will make your family great. I will do this because of my servant Abraham.” 25 So Isaac built an altar and worshiped the LORD in that place. He set up camp there, and his servants dug a well.
26 Abimelech came from Gerar to see Isaac. He brought with him Ahuzzath, his advisor, and Phicol, the commander of his army.
27 Isaac asked, “Why have you come to see me? You were not friendly to me before. You even forced me to leave your country.”
28 They answered, “Now we know that the LORD is with you. We think that we should make an agreement. We want you to make a promise to us. 29 We did not hurt you; now you should promise not to hurt us. We sent you away, but we sent you away in peace. Now it is clear that the LORD has blessed you.”
30 So Isaac gave a party for them. They all ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning each man made a promise and a vow. Then the men left in peace.
On that day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. The servants said, “We found water in that well.” 33
So Isaac named it Shibah.†
And that city is still called Beersheba.‡
34 When Esau was 40 years old, he married two Hittite women. One was Judith the daughter of Beeri. The other was Basemath the daughter of Elon. 35 These marriages made Isaac and Rebekah very unhappy.