- In this chapter we have, I. Isaac in adversity, by reason of a famine in the land; which, (1.) Obliges him to change his quarters, ver, 1. but, (2.) God visits him with direction and comfort, verse 2-5.
- (3.) He denies his wife, and is reproved for it by Abimelech, verse 6-11.
- II. Isaac in prosperity, by the blessing of God upon him, verse 12-14.
- (1.) The Philistines were envious at him, verse 14-17.
- (2.) He continued industrious in his business, verse 18-23.
- (3.) God appeared to him, and encouraged him, and he returned to his duty, verse 24-25.
- (4.) The Philistines at length made court to him, and made a covenant with him, verse 26-33 III.
- The disagreeable marriage of his son Esau was an allay to his prosperity, verse 34.
The Lord said, go not down into Egypt. Sojourn in this land -There was a famine in Jacob's days, and God bid him go down into Egypt, Genesis 46:3,4, a famine in Isaac's days, and God bid him not go down: a famine in Abraham's days, and God left him to his liberty, directing him neither way, which (considering that Egypt was always a place of trial to God's people) some ground upon the different characters of these three patriarchs. Abraham was a man of very intimate communion with God, and to him all places and conditions were alike; Isaac a very good man, but not cut out for hardship, therefore he is forbidden to go to Egypt; Jacob inured to difficulties, strong and patient, and therefore he must go down into Egypt, that the trial of his faith might be to praise, and honour, and glory. Thus God proportions his people's trials to their strength.
Abraham obeyed my voice - Do thou do so too, and the promise shall be sure to thee. A great variety of words is here used to express the Divine Will to which Abraham was obedient, my voice, my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws - Which may intimate, that Abraham's obedience was universal; he obeyed the original laws of nature, the revealed laws of divine worship, particularly that of circumcision, and all the extraordinary precepts God gave him, as that of quitting his country, and that (which some think is more especially referred to) the offering up of his son, which Isaac himself had reason enough to remember. Those only shall have the benefit of God's covenant with their parents, that tread the steps of their obedience.
He said, she is my sister - So Isaac enters into the same temptation that his father had been once and again surprised and overcome by, viz. to deny his wife, and to give out that she was his sister! It is an unaccountable thing, that both these great and good men should be guilty of so odd a piece of dissimulation, by which they so much exposed both their own and their wives reputation.
This Abimelech was not the same that was in Abraham's days, Genesis 20:2-18, for this was near an hundred years after, but that was the common name of the Philistine kings, as Caesar of the Roman emperors.
Lightly - Perhaps.
Isaac received an hundred fold - And there seems to be an emphasis laid upon the time; it was that same year when there was a famine in the land; while others scarce reaped at all, he reaped thus plentifully.
Esek - That is, contention.
Sitnah - That is, hatred.
He digged a well, and for that they strove not - Those that follow peace, sooner or later, shall find peace: those that study to be quiet seldom fail of being so. This well they called Rehoboth -Enlargements, room enough.
Fear not, I am with thee, and will bless thee - Those may remove with comfort that are sure of God's presence with them wherever they go.
The Lord is with thee, and thou art the blessed of the Lord, q.d. Be persuaded to overlook the injuries offered thee, for God has abundantly made up to thee the damage thou receivedst. Those whom God blesseth and favours, have reason enough to forgive those that hate them, since the worst enemy they have cannot do them any real hurt. Let there be an oath betwixt us - Whatever some of his envious subjects might mean, he and his prime ministers, whom he had now brought with him, designed no other but a cordial friendship. Perhaps Abimelech had received by tradition the warning God gave to his predecessor not to hurt Abraham, Genesis 20:7, and that made him stand in such awe of Isaac, who appeared to be as much the favourite of heaven as Abraham was.
He took to wife - Marrying Canaanites, who were strangers to the blessing of Abraham, and subject to the curse of Noah.