Genesis 26:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 26:18, NIV: "Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them."

Genesis 26:18, ESV: "And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them."

Genesis 26:18, KJV: "And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them."

Genesis 26:18, NASB: "Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them."

Genesis 26:18, NLT: "He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham's death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them."

Genesis 26:18, CSB: "Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the days of his father Abraham and that the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died. He gave them the same names his father had given them."

What does Genesis 26:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Isaac, though enormously wealthy (Genesis 26:12–13), has a problem. He has been sent away from the area directly around Gerar by King Abimelech. He has grown too large and powerful to stay without being a threat to the Philistines in the region (Genesis 26:14–16).

Isaac's choice, shown in this verse, seems to balance the wishes of king Abimelech with his obedience to God. Earlier, God told Isaac to stay in Gerar rather than seeking better land in Egypt (Genesis 26:2–3). So, Isaac settles in the Valley of Gerar, which presumably is further from the majority of the people, but still in the same general area.

Isaac must quickly find water to support his herds, flocks, and large company. What he finds are the old wells that had belonged to Abraham when he lived in this same region (Genesis 21:25–27). They had been filled in, presumably after Abraham died. Isaac reopens them and begins calling them by the names Abraham had given to them (Genesis 21:23–33).

The fact that these wells were given unique names, and that they were stopped up by the Philistines, indicates just how precious water and water rights were in this arid region of Canaan.