Genesis 21:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 21:25, NIV: "Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek's servants had seized."

Genesis 21:25, ESV: "When Abraham reproved Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized,"

Genesis 21:25, KJV: "And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away."

Genesis 21:25, NASB: "But Abraham complained to Abimelech because of the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized."

Genesis 21:25, NLT: "Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well that Abimelech's servants had taken by force from Abraham's servants."

Genesis 21:25, CSB: "But Abraham complained to Abimelech because of the well that Abimelech's servants had seized."

What does Genesis 21:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abraham has agreed to swear before God to several things Abimelech has asked about, including not deceiving him and dealing kindly with him and his kingdom. The provision for honesty is the result of Abraham's own deception. Earlier, Abraham and Sarah had caused great trouble for Abimelech's household by hinting that they were not actually married (Genesis 20:3–11). Abimelech treated Abraham well, given all of this, but still wants to encourage Abraham's honesty.

Now though, Abraham raises an issue that has been bothering him. Abimelech's servants had seized a well of water from Abraham, one we will soon learn that Abraham dug himself. Water, of course, was of vital importance in this part of the world. Without a reliable source of water, Abraham could not hope to remain in Abimelech's kingdom.

Abraham was understandably upset that Abimelech's men had seized his well. He believed himself to be the owner of the well. Why would Abimelech's men do this? Abimelech will respond in the following verse.