What does Genesis 26:26 mean?
ESV: When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army,
NIV: Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces.
NASB: Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath, and Phicol the commander of his army.
CSB: Now Abimelech came to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army.
NLT: One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander.
KJV: Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
NKJV: Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol the commander of his army.
Verse Commentary:
Isaac, living in Beersheba (Genesis 26:17–23), in the region of Gerar, receives visitors. King Abimelech has traveled to see him with two of the leaders of Gerar: Ahuzzath, an advisor, and Phicol, the commander of the army. Previously, Abimelech had asked Isaac to move away from his people out of a combination of envy and fear (Genesis 26:12–17).

A similar meeting occurred between Abraham, and two men named Abimelech and Phicol, in Genesis 21:22–34, though Ahuzzath was not part of it. Some scholars suggest this Abimelech is the same one that knew and negotiated with Abraham. However, this incident is at least 90 years after the meeting between Abraham and those other men. For that reason, it's more likely that Abimelech and Phicol are titles and not names. They may have fit the same role as names such as Pharaoh and Caesar. This might also mean that these are names passed down from fathers to sons, along with their respective positions.
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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