Genesis 26:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 26:20, NIV: "But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, 'The water is ours!' So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him."

Genesis 26:20, ESV: "the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him."

Genesis 26:20, KJV: "And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him."

Genesis 26:20, NASB: "the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac, saying, 'The water is ours!' So he named the well Esek, because they argued with him."

Genesis 26:20, NLT: "But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. 'This is our water,' they said, and they argued over it with Isaac's herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means 'argument')."

Genesis 26:20, CSB: "But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek because they argued with him."

What does Genesis 26:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

God had commanded Isaac to stay in Gerar (Genesis 26:2–3), but the local king is bothered by Isaac's great wealth and prosperity (Genesis 26:14–16). To satisfy both sides, Isaac and his large estate are newly encamped in the Valley of Gerar (Genesis 26:17). If they're going to stay, it's essential they find plentiful water. The previous verse describes the discovery of a spring by Isaac's servants. Now we learn that the local herdsman claimed the rights to that water.

The conflict is similar to the plot of many old western movies, in which ranchers would battle over rights to the water from the local river to grow crops or maintain sheep and cattle. Isaac, however, seems unwilling to battle over anything. His reputation as a passive man comes, in part, from his seeming refusal to fight or even challenge those who stand up to him. Instead of using his considerable power to keep the well, Isaac bows out. He names this well Esek, which means "quarrel" or "contention," and moves on to another one.