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(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

Maps, when used, are are from Created using BibleMapper 3.0.
Additional data from
Source of Dates Used

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית • B'resheet
(“In Beginning” or “At First”)
The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called


Parashah 6: Tol’dot (continued)
(“History” Genesis 25:19–28:9)
(Small Roman numerals in the text indicate each 'aliyah.)

~ 26 ~

[Hebron? MAP] 1740 BCE]

B. Yitz’chak in Gerar (26:1-33)

1. Covenant Reaffirmed (26:1-5)

1There was a famine in the land subseqiemt to the one that was in Avraham’s time. Yitz'chakIsaac, “he laughs” went to AvimelekhAbimelech, “Melek is father” or “my father is king”, king of the P'lishtimPhilistines,[1] to Gerar. MAP] 2Yehovah [Yehovah] [GN] appeared to him, and said, “Don’t go down into Egypt.[2] Settle in the land I will tell you about. 3Stay in this land as a foreigner, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, and I will confirm the oath that I swore to your father Avraham. 4I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, and I will give them all these lands.[4] Through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed, 5because Avraham obeyed My charge and kept My requirements, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”[5]


[Gerar MAP] 1740 BCE]

2. Yitz’chak Lies About Rivkah (26:6-11)

(ii) 6So Yita'chak settled in Gerar.[6] 7When the men of the place asked him about his wife. He said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “My wife”, since he thought, “The men of this place might kill me for RivkahRebekah, “ensnarer”, because she is so beautiful to look at.”[7] 8When he had been there a long time, King Avimelekh of the P'lishtim looked down from his window and saw Yita'chak caressing[8] his wife Rivkah. 9Avimelekh sent for Yita'chak, and said, “Surely she is your wife. Why did you say, ‘She is my sister?’”

Yita'chak replied, “Because I thought I might I might die because of her. ”

10“What is this you have done to us?” Avimelekh said. “One of our people could easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us!”

11Avimelekh commanded all the people, “Anyone who harms this man or his wife will surely be put to death.”

3. HaShem Blesses Yitz’chak (26:12-14)

12Yita'chak sowed seed in that land, and that same year he reaped one hundred times what he planted. Yehovah blessed him.


(iii) 13And he man richer and richer until became extremely wealthy. 14He owned so many flocks and herds and servants that the P'lishtim envied him.

4. Quarrels Over Wells (26:15-22)

 15So the P'lishtim took dirt and filled up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of his father Avraham.[15] 16Then Avimelekh told Yita'chak, “Leave us, for you are much more powerful than we are.”

[Gerar MAP] 1735 BCE]

17So Yita'chak left there, encamped in the valley of Gerar,[17] and settled there.

18Yita'chak reopened the wells that had been dug in the days of his father Avraham, which the P'lishtim had stopped up after Avraham had died. He gave these wells the same names his father had called them. 19Yita'chak’s servants dug in the valley and found a well of flowingor living, or fresh water.[19] 20The herdsmen of Gerar argued with Yita'chak’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well EsekEsek, “contention”, because they contended with him. 21They dug another well, and they argued over that one also. So he nameed it Sitnah“hostility”. 22He moved on from there and dug yet another well. They didn’t argue over that one, so he named it Rehoboth“broad places”. He said, “At last Yehovah has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”


[Be'ersheba MAP] 1733 BCE]

5. HaShem Reassures Yitz’chak (26:23-25)

(iv) 23From there Yitz'chak went up[23] to Be'ersheba“well of the oath” or “well of seven”. 24That night Yehovah appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Avraham. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your descendants for My servant Avraham’s sake.”

25So he built an altar there, called on the name of Yehovah ’s name, and made his camp there. His servants also dug a well there.

6. Abimelech Covenants With Yitz’chak (26:26-33) [1732 BCE]

26Later Avimelekh came to Yita'chak from Gerar, with his advisor Ahuzzath“possession” and Phicol“strong”, the commanderשַׂר (sar), prince, ruler, leader, chief, chieftain, official, captain, general of his army.[26] 27Yita'chak asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me, and have sent me away from you?”

28“We can plainly see that Yehovah has been with you,” they answered. “We think there should be an oath of covenant between our two parties — between us and you. Let us make a covenant with you, 29that you will not harm us, just as we have not harmed you, and as we have done you nothing but good, and have sent you away in peace. You are now blessed by Yehovah.”


(v) 30So Yitz'cham prepared a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31They got up early the next morning and swore an oath to each other. Then Yita'chak sent them away, and they left him in peace. 32That same day Yita'chak’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They told him, “We have found water.” 33He called it “Shivah“oath”,” and so the name of the city is “Be'ersheba“well of the oath”” to this day.

C. Trouble Between Ya'akov and Esav (26:34-27:41)

1. Easu Marries Heathen Wives (26:34-35)

34When 'Esav was forty years old [1767 BCE], he married Y’huditJudith, “praiser of God”, the feminine version of Y'hudah (Y'hudah), the daughter of Be'eri“my well” the Hittite,[34] and Basmat“spice”, the daughter of Elon“mighty” the Hittite, 35and they made life bitter for Yita'chak and Rivkah.

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   1. See “The Philistines” at [BACK]

 2. Egypt: Heb. מִצְרַיִם (Mitzrayim), “land of the Copts”; a son of Ham, also his descendants and their country in N.W. Africa. MAP] [BACK]

 4. Clearly, the area of the Sinai Peninsula in which they were instructed to live would be part of the covenantal land grant. The ancient reader would have understood that this statement indicates that Yitz'chak inherited the entire covenant that HaShem made with Avraham; any portion of the covenant must include the entire covenant. MAP] [BACK]

 5. HaShem makes a distinction between His commandments (מִצְוָה, mitzvah, commandment of His code of wisdom), His statutes (חֻקָּה, chuqqah, something prescribed, an enactment, statute), and His laws (תּוֹרָה, torah, law, direction, instruction, body of legal directives). [BACK]

 6. Remember that it was not just Yitz'chak, but also his entire family, servants, flocks, herds, “fighting men” (security force), etc.; everything that had been part and parcel of his father’s estate, and more. [BACK]

 7. Apparently, Yitz'chak also inherited his farher’s inclination to “shade” the truth. Rivkah was his cousin, not his sister. [BACK]

 8. Though the majority of translations render this word as “caressing,” the Hebrew word is מְצַחֵ֔ק (matsachaq), laughing, the same root word as Yitz'chat‘s name; elsewhere translated as entertained (1), jesting (1), laugh (4), laughed (2), make sport (2), mocking (1), play (1). [BACK]

15. In those days, that would have been considered an act of war, just as if an enemy nation would have destroyed our water supply. [BACK]

17. The Valley of Gerar was apparently the fertile vally between Gerar and Be'ersheba. MAP] [BACK]

19. This would have been not just a spring, but an underground stream. [BACK]

23. Remember that any time you are moving toward Yerushalayim, you are “going up.” [BACK]

26. This certainly seems like a threat. Why else would he show up with the head of his army? [BACK]

34. See “Who Were the Hittites?” at [BACK]

Page originally posted on Tuesday, 03 August 2021
Revised and updated on Friday, 14 October 2022

Page last updated on Monday, 27 March 2023 02:31 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

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