What does Genesis 26:19 mean?
ESV: But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water,
NIV: Isaac's servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there.
NASB: But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing water,
CSB: Then Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found a well of spring water there.
NLT: Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water.
KJV: And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
Verse Commentary:
Isaac has relocated his large company to the Valley of Gerar, at the request of the local king, Abimelech. This would have reduced the sense of envy and fear the Philistines had over his great wealth (Genesis 26:14–16). At the same time, this choice would allow Isaac to honor God's command to stay in this region instead of going to Egypt (Genesis 26:2–3). Having moved to a new location, Isaac and his entourage are looking for water. He has reopened some wells that had been used years before by his father Abraham (Genesis 21:23–33). This verse begins a sentence describing what happened when Isaac's servants found a new spring to use as a water source. The discovery led to immediate conflict—the local people are not satisfied with where Isaac's people are seeking water (Genesis 26:20).
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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