Genesis 21:30 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 21:30, NIV: He replied, 'Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.'

Genesis 21:30, ESV: He said, “These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that this may be a witness for me that I dug this well.”

Genesis 21:30, KJV: And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

Genesis 21:30, NASB: He said, 'You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand so that it may be a witness for me, that I dug this well.'

Genesis 21:30, NLT: Abraham replied, 'Please accept these seven lambs to show your agreement that I dug this well.'

Genesis 21:30, CSB: He replied, "You are to accept the seven ewe lambs from me so that this act will serve as my witness that I dug this well."

What does Genesis 21:30 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In addition to giving Abimelech sheep and oxen as a sign of the broad covenant between them to treat each other agreeably, Abraham has set aside seven ewe lambs for a specific purpose. Here, in verse 30, he reveals their exact purpose. He wants Abimelech to take the lambs as a witness that he dug the well that is in dispute between them. Earlier, Abraham complained about Abimelech's men taking over a water source which he had dug (Genesis 21:25).

In broad terms, Abraham is offering to formally buy back his own well, in order to once and for all resolve the issue of who it belongs to. Abimelech apparently agrees to this, and the two swear their oaths in the following verse.