What does Genesis 26:16 mean?
ESV: And Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we."
NIV: Then Abimelek said to Isaac, "Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us."
NASB: Then Abimelech said to Isaac, 'Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us.'
CSB: And Abimelech said to Isaac, "Leave us, for you are much too powerful for us."
NLT: Finally, Abimelech ordered Isaac to leave the country. 'Go somewhere else,' he said, 'for you have become too powerful for us.'
KJV: And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.
NKJV: And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”
Verse Commentary:
Conflict had arisen between Isaac and the Philistines in the region of Gerar. For one thing, they were envious of Isaac's great and growing wealth (Genesis 26:14). Apparently, there were also disputes about water rights. This combination of envy and desperation led the Philistines to begin filling up Isaac's wells with dirt to keep him from using them. Such actions would constitute a direct attack on Isaac's ability to support his vast herds and flocks.

Now the king of the region, Abimelech, steps in to resolve the issue. He's not interested in compromise or working out a treaty in this moment. Abimelech simply tells Isaac to leave. Isaac has become too powerful.

The point Abimelech is making here can be taken in one of two ways. On one hand, Isaac's great estate would require large amounts of land and water. It's possible there just wasn't room in and around the city of Gerar for Isaac's wealth. Abimelech might simply be saying, "your family is more than the land can support." On the other hand, Abimelech might be concerned that Isaac could use his huge number of servants, his money, and the obvious blessing of his God to conquer Abimelech and take over the territory for himself. We're never told Isaac had any inclination to do so, but a king like Abimelech must always be guarding his power and authority.

So Isaac will move away, at least from the main part of Gerar's territory. But he won't move so far as to violate God's command (Genesis 26:2–3). This will result in additional friction with the people. And, as we will see later, it will result in some lingering resentment from Isaac, as well (Genesis 26:26–27).
Verse Context:
Genesis 26:6–35 describes Isaac's interactions with the Philistines while living in and around the land of Gerar. After Isaac is caught in a lie about Rebekah being his sister, king Abimelech is angry. However, he protects Isaac and Rebekah. God blesses Isaac abundantly, and his wealth grows to the point where his power provokes the king to send him away. Following a series of disputes over water rights, the king and Isaac eventually make a treaty of peace. God appears to Isaac for a second time, telling him not to fear, and renewing His promises.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 26 focuses on God's assurances to Isaac to be with him and to bless him, mostly while Isaac and his household are settled in the land of the Philistines. Just as Abraham did, Isaac fearfully lies about his wife being his sister, nearly bringing disaster on Abimelech and his kingdom. Still, God blesses Isaac with greater and greater abundance to the point that Abimelech sends Isaac away because he has become too powerful. After continued disputes over water rights, Abimelech and Isaac eventually make a covenant of peace.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 26 seems to jump back in time to the season before Jacob and Esau were born, as described in the previous chapter. This is common in ancient literature. The Lord establishes and renews His covenant promises to Isaac, blessing him abundantly in the land of Philistines during a time of famine. Eventually, Abimelech sends Isaac away due to his growing power and disputes over water rights, but they end up forming a peace treaty. Esau's marriage to foreign women creates strife, adding more fuel to the controversy which is soon to occur. In the next chapter, Jacob will steal his older brother's rightful blessing.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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