Genesis 21:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 21:26, NIV: "But Abimelek said, 'I don't know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.'"

Genesis 21:26, ESV: "Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today.”"

Genesis 21:26, KJV: "And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day."

Genesis 21:26, NASB: "And Abimelech said, 'I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, nor did I hear of it until today.'"

Genesis 21:26, NLT: "'This is the first I've heard of it,' Abimelech answered. 'I have no idea who is responsible. You have never complained about this before.'"

Genesis 21:26, CSB: "Abimelech replied, "I don't know who did this thing. You didn't report anything to me, so I hadn't heard about it until today.""

What does Genesis 21:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abimelech, the king of Gerar, has approached Abraham with a proposal. The king wishes to create a formal agreement with Abraham, seemingly in order to gain some benefit from Abraham's blessings from God. After agreeing to swear before God not to deceive Abimelech again and only to deal kindly with him, Abraham immediately presented a grievance: A well that Abraham had dug and rightly felt belonged to him had been seized by Abimelech's men.

Here, Abimelech insists he didn't know anything about this issue. He didn't even know which men had seized the well. This was all new information to him. This is similar to his claims that he was unaware of Sarah's marriage to Abraham in chapter 20. We're not told how or if Abimelech offered to resolve the issue, though the men continue with their covenant, so Abimelech clearly planned to return the well to Abraham and his men. Abraham will specifically include this well in the oath, described in the following verses.