Genesis 26
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1  There was a famine in the land—aside from the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Avraham—and Yitzchak went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

א  וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ מִלְּבַד הָרָעָב הָרִאשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר הָיָה בִּימֵי אַבְרָהָם וַיֵּלֶךְ יִצְחָק אֶל־אֲבִימֶּלֶךְ מֶלֶךְ־פְּלִשְׁתִּים גְּרָרָה׃

2  Hashem had appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land which I point out to you.

ב  וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו יְהוָה וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־תֵּרֵד מִצְרָיְמָה שְׁכֹן בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ׃

3  Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; I will assign all these lands to you and to your heirs, fulfilling the oath that I swore to your father Avraham.

GUR ba-A-retz ha-ZOT v’-eh-YEH i-m’-KHA va-a-va-r’-KHE-ka kee l’-KHA ul-zar-a-KHA e-TAYN et kol ha-a-ra-TZOT ha-AYL va-ha-ki-mo-TEE et ha-sh’-vu-AH a-SHER nish-BA-tee l’-av-ra-HAM a-VEE-kha

ג  גּוּר בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וְאֶהְיֶה עִמְּךָ וַאֲבָרְכֶךָּ כִּי־לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת־כָּל־הָאֲרָצֹת הָאֵל וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת־הַשְּׁבֻעָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ׃

26:3 Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you

Yitzchak is warned that despite the famine in Eretz Yisrael, he is not to escape the hardship by fleeing to Egypt. Though Avraham went down to Egypt when there was a plague in Israel, and Yaakov likewise descended to Egypt towards the end of his life, God told Yitzchak not to leave the Land of Israel. Due to the unique spiritual status he acquired after being offered on the altar, Yitzchak was the only one of the three forefathers to never step foot outside of the Holy Land.2 comments

4  I will make your heirs as numerous as the stars of heaven, and assign to your heirs all these lands, so that all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your heirs

v’-hir-bay-TEE et zar-a-KHA k’-kho-kh’-VAY ha-sha-MA-yim v’-na-ta-TEE l’-zar-a-KHA AYT kol ha-a-ra-TZOT ha-AYL v’-hit-ba-r’-KHU v’-zar-a-KHA KOL go-YAY ha-A-retz

ד  וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת־זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם וְנָתַתִּי לְזַרְעֲךָ אֵת כָּל־הָאֲרָצֹת הָאֵל וְהִתְבָּרֲכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ׃

26:4 I will make your heirs as numerous as the stars of heaven

Why are the children of Avraham compared to the stars? The poetess Hannah Senesh was born in Hungary in 1921 and in 1939 she emigrated to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine.  Senesh was a brave heroine who volunteered to leave her beloved Palestine in 1944 in order to fight with the partisans against the Nazis. Unfortunately, she was caught, tried for treason and eventually executed. In one of her beautiful poems she wrote, “There are stars whose radiance is visible on earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for mankind.” Like the stars in Senesh’s poem, the Jew’s role in this world is to light the way for mankind, despite the darkness we have encountered throughout our history.2 comments

5  inasmuch as Avraham obeyed Me and kept My charge: My commandments, My laws, and My teachings.”

ה  עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר־שָׁמַע אַבְרָהָם בְּקֹלִי וַיִּשְׁמֹר מִשְׁמַרְתִּי מִצְוֺתַי חֻקּוֹתַי וְתוֹרֹתָי׃

6  So Yitzchak stayed in Gerar.

ו  וַיֵּשֶׁב יִצְחָק בִּגְרָר׃

7  When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say “my wife,” thinking, “The men of the place might kill me on account of Rivka, for she is beautiful.”

ז  וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ אַנְשֵׁי הַמָּקוֹם לְאִשְׁתּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲחֹתִי הִוא כִּי יָרֵא לֵאמֹר אִשְׁתִּי פֶּן־יַהַרְגֻנִי אַנְשֵׁי הַמָּקוֹם עַל־רִבְקָה כִּי־טוֹבַת מַרְאֶה הִיא׃

8  When some time had passed, Abimelech king of the Philistines, looking out of the window, saw Yitzchak fondling his wife Rivka.

ח  וַיְהִי כִּי אָרְכוּ־לוֹ שָׁם הַיָּמִים וַיַּשְׁקֵף אֲבִימֶלֶךְ מֶלֶךְ פְּלִשְׁתִּים בְּעַד הַחַלּוֹן וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה יִצְחָק מְצַחֵק אֵת רִבְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ׃

9  Abimelech sent for Yitzchak and said, “So she is your wife! Why then did you say: ‘She is my sister?’” Yitzchak said to him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”

ט  וַיִּקְרָא אֲבִימֶלֶךְ לְיִצְחָק וַיֹּאמֶר אַךְ הִנֵּה אִשְׁתְּךָ הִוא וְאֵיךְ אָמַרְתָּ אֲחֹתִי הִוא וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יִצְחָק כִּי אָמַרְתִּי פֶּן־אָמוּת עָלֶיהָ׃

10  Abimelech said, “What have you done to us! One of the people might have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”

י  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ מַה־זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ כִּמְעַט שָׁכַב אַחַד הָעָם אֶת־אִשְׁתֶּךָ וְהֵבֵאתָ עָלֵינוּ אָשָׁם׃

11  Abimelech then charged all the people, saying, “Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall be put to death.”

יא  וַיְצַו אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶת־כָּל־הָעָם לֵאמֹר הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּאִישׁ הַזֶּה וּבְאִשְׁתּוֹ מוֹת יוּמָת׃

12  Yitzchak sowed in that land and reaped a hundredfold the same year. Hashem blessed him,

יב  וַיִּזְרַע יִצְחָק בָּאָרֶץ הַהִוא וַיִּמְצָא בַּשָּׁנָה הַהִוא מֵאָה שְׁעָרִים וַיְבָרֲכֵהוּ יְהוָה׃

13  and the man grew richer and richer until he was very wealthy:

יג  וַיִּגְדַּל הָאִישׁ וַיֵּלֶךְ הָלוֹךְ וְגָדֵל עַד כִּי־גָדַל מְאֹד׃

14  he acquired flocks and herds, and a large household, so that the Philistines envied him.

יד  וַיְהִי־לוֹ מִקְנֵה־צֹאן וּמִקְנֵה בָקָר וַעֲבֻדָּה רַבָּה וַיְקַנְאוּ אֹתוֹ פְּלִשְׁתִּים׃

15  And the Philistines stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of his father Avraham, filling them with earth.

טו  וְכָל־הַבְּאֵרֹת אֲשֶׁר חָפְרוּ עַבְדֵי אָבִיו בִּימֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו סִתְּמוּם פְּלִשְׁתִּים וַיְמַלְאוּם עָפָר׃

16  And Abimelech said to Yitzchak, “Go away from us, for you have become far too big for us.”

טז  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶל־יִצְחָק לֵךְ מֵעִמָּנוּ כִּי־עָצַמְתָּ־מִמֶּנּוּ מְאֹד׃

26:16  Go away from us, for you have become far too big for us

The story of Yitzchak among the Philistines alludes to the history of the Jewish people during their lengthy exile, hosted by various foreign nations.  Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin points out that Yitzchak is one Jew in an entire country, yet the Philistines claim that there is no room for him.  As a successful farmer, Yitzchak is not an economic burden on his hosts, and yet the Philistines banish him.  They could have learned agricultural techniques and benefitted from his water, but they instead choose to ignore the valuable contributions he could make, and they clog the wells he has dug. Similarly, many Jewish inventors and innovators have been expelled from their host nations throughout history. The only safe place where the Children of Israel can flourish is in the Land of Israel.Comment

17  So Yitzchak departed from there and encamped in the wadi of Gerar, where he settled.

יז  וַיֵּלֶךְ מִשָּׁם יִצְחָק וַיִּחַן בְּנַחַל־גְּרָר וַיֵּשֶׁב שָׁם׃

18  Yitzchak dug anew the wells which had been dug in the days of his father Avraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Avraham’s death; and he gave them the same names that his father had given them.

יח  וַיָּשָׁב יִצְחָק וַיַּחְפֹּר אֶת־בְּאֵרֹת הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר חָפְרוּ בִּימֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו וַיְסַתְּמוּם פְּלִשְׁתִּים אַחֲרֵי מוֹת אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקְרָא לָהֶן שֵׁמוֹת כַּשֵּׁמֹת אֲשֶׁר־קָרָא לָהֶן אָבִיו׃

19  But when Yitzchak’s servants, digging in the wadi, found there a well of spring water,

יט  וַיַּחְפְּרוּ עַבְדֵי־יִצְחָק בַּנָּחַל וַיִּמְצְאוּ־שָׁם בְּאֵר מַיִם חַיִּים׃

20  the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Yitzchak’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” He named that well Esek, because they contended with him.

כ  וַיָּרִיבוּ רֹעֵי גְרָר עִם־רֹעֵי יִצְחָק לֵאמֹר לָנוּ הַמָּיִם וַיִּקְרָא שֵׁם־הַבְּאֵר עֵשֶׂק כִּי הִתְעַשְּׂקוּ עִמּוֹ׃

21  And when they dug another well, they disputed over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.

כא  וַיַּחְפְּרוּ בְּאֵר אַחֶרֶת וַיָּרִיבוּ גַּם־עָלֶיהָ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמָהּ שִׂטְנָה׃

22  He moved from there and dug yet another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying, “Now at last Hashem has granted us ample space to increase in the land.”

va-ya-TAYK mi-SHAM va-yakh-POR b’-AYR a-KHE-ret v’-LO ra-VU a-LEY-ha va-yik-RA sh’-MAH r’-kho-VOT va-YO-mer kee a-TAH hir-KHEEV a-do-NAI LA-nu u-fa-REE-nu va-A-retz

כב  וַיַּעְתֵּק מִשָּׁם וַיַּחְפֹּר בְּאֵר אַחֶרֶת וְלֹא רָבוּ עָלֶיהָ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמָהּ רְחֹבוֹת וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי־עַתָּה הִרְחִיב יְהוָה לָנוּ וּפָרִינוּ בָאָרֶץ׃

23  From there he went up to Be’er Sheva.

כג  וַיַּעַל מִשָּׁם בְּאֵר שָׁבַע׃

24  That night Hashem appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Avraham. Fear not, for I am with you, and I will bless you and increase your offspring for the sake of My servant Avraham.”

כד  וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו יְהוָה בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיֹּאמֶר אָנֹכִי אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ אַל־תִּירָא כִּי־אִתְּךָ אָנֹכִי וּבֵרַכְתִּיךָ וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת־זַרְעֲךָ בַּעֲבוּר אַבְרָהָם עַבְדִּי׃

25  So he built a mizbayach there and invoked Hashem by name. Yitzchak pitched his tent there and his servants started digging a well.

כה  וַיִּבֶן שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ וַיִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה וַיֶּט־שָׁם אָהֳלוֹ וַיִּכְרוּ־שָׁם עַבְדֵי־יִצְחָק בְּאֵר׃

26  And Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his councilor and Phicol chief of his troops.

כו  וַאֲבִימֶלֶךְ הָלַךְ אֵלָיו מִגְּרָר וַאֲחֻזַּת מֵרֵעֵהוּ וּפִיכֹל שַׂר־צְבָאוֹ׃

27  Yitzchak said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you have been hostile to me and have driven me away from you?”

כז  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יִצְחָק מַדּוּעַ בָּאתֶם אֵלָי וְאַתֶּם שְׂנֵאתֶם אֹתִי וַתְּשַׁלְּחוּנִי מֵאִתְּכֶם׃

28  And they said, “We now see plainly that Hashem has been with you, and we thought: Let there be a sworn treaty between our two parties, between you and us. Let us make a pact with you

כח  וַיֹּאמְרוּ רָאוֹ רָאִינוּ כִּי־הָיָה יְהוָה עִמָּךְ וַנֹּאמֶר תְּהִי נָא אָלָה בֵּינוֹתֵינוּ בֵּינֵינוּ וּבֵינֶךָ וְנִכְרְתָה בְרִית עִמָּךְ׃

29  that you will not do us harm, just as we have not molested you but have always dealt kindly with you and sent you away in peace. From now on, be you blessed of Hashem!”

כט  אִם־תַּעֲשֵׂה עִמָּנוּ רָעָה כַּאֲשֶׁר לֹא נְגַעֲנוּךָ וְכַאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂינוּ עִמְּךָ רַק־טוֹב וַנְּשַׁלֵּחֲךָ בְּשָׁלוֹם אַתָּה עַתָּה בְּרוּךְ יְהוָה׃

30  Then he made for them a feast, and they ate and drank.

ל  וַיַּעַשׂ לָהֶם מִשְׁתֶּה וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתּוּ׃

31  Early in the morning, they exchanged oaths. Yitzchak then bade them farewell, and they departed from him in peace.

לא  וַיַּשְׁכִּימוּ בַבֹּקֶר וַיִּשָּׁבְעוּ אִישׁ לְאָחִיו וַיְשַׁלְּחֵם יִצְחָק וַיֵּלְכוּ מֵאִתּוֹ בְּשָׁלוֹם׃

32  That same day Yitzchak’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water!”

לב  וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיָּבֹאוּ עַבְדֵי יִצְחָק וַיַּגִּדוּ לוֹ עַל־אֹדוֹת הַבְּאֵר אֲשֶׁר חָפָרוּ וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ מָצָאנוּ מָיִם׃

33  He named it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Be’er Sheva to this day.

לג  וַיִּקְרָא אֹתָהּ שִׁבְעָה עַל־כֵּן שֵׁם־הָעִיר בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃

34  When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith daughter of Be’eri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Eilon the Hittite;

לד  וַיְהִי עֵשָׂו בֶּן־אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה אֶת־יְהוּדִית בַּת־בְּאֵרִי הַחִתִּי וְאֶת־בָּשְׂמַת בַּת־אֵילֹן הַחִתִּי׃

35  and they were a source of bitterness to Yitzchak and Rivka.

 

לה  וַתִּהְיֶיןָ מֹרַת רוּחַ לְיִצְחָק וּלְרִבְקָה׃

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Genesis 27

Comments ( 3 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bibleâ„¢.

  • There is a Country music song by Lionel Cartwright, "Like Father Like Son", that I love to sing. As a general rule, we are products of our upbringing. Yitzak may well have followed in Avraham's footsteps because that was the example set for him. We all look to Avraham as an essence of righteousness. It's written of him that "he walked before YHVH". Even so, he was just a man like unto us. When Hashem says "stay where I put you", the man follows his physical eyes and goes "to the other side where the grass is greener". Wealth and physical gain is NEVER better than obeying Adonai!

  • There is another example I just thought of as I posted the above comment. As we'll learn later in Torah, Moshe was told by Hashem to strike the rock. When he obeyed, water gushed out to a thirsty people. When the thirsted again later, Father told Moshe to SPEAK to the rock. In anger with the stiff-necked people, he disobeyed Elohim and struck the rock. Even so, water again gushed out to a thristy people. Ultimately, it cost him the priviledge to enter the Promised Land. Even though blessings may come from doing it our way, it's always best to do it Father's way.

  • Re: verse 19. They had dug a well in the valley and there was Living Water flowed from it. It has often been said that when in a Valley that is the time we need the Living Water, on the hilltops is as though we had no problems. Valleys are places which can be full of sorrow and hardship, and it's there that we do need to drink of the Living Water.
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    My mind went to a psalm that I love: – "Blessed is the man whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the ways of them, who passing through the valley of Baca, make it a well; the rain also fills the pools. They go from strength to strength—every one of them in Zion appears before God." Psalm 84:5-7

    "Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Zion." Psalm 84:5-7

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Genesis 26

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