This chapter mainly focuses on Isaac & Abimelech. But Esau makes a brief appearance in this chapter. I hope you enjoy the read!
Now there was a famine in the land, besides the earlier one of Abraham’s time. Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar. God appeared to Isaac, he told Isaac not to go to Egypt. Live where I’ll tell you. Stay here for awhile. I’ll be with you & your descendants. Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed. (This last sentence is also found in Acts 4:25.) Because of your dad’s obedience & him keeping my requirements, my commands, my decrees, & my laws.” Isaac stayed in Gerar.
When the men of that place asked him about Rebekah, his wife. Isaac pulls an Abraham move & says “oh, she’s my sister.” (I’m sorry, this a dumbass move. No matter where in human history you go, this is wrong.) Because he was too chicken to tell the truth. He thought that the men of that place might kill him because of Rebekah, she was beautiful.
So because of Isaac’s error & when he’d be there for a long time, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked down from a window & busted Isaac & Rebekah. Abimelech saw Isaaac caressing Rebekah. Abimelech calls Isaac to him & chews him out! Pretty much has the same conversation with Isaac that he had with Abraham. “She’s your wife, not your sister! What are you trying to do to us?! Are you crazy?” So Abimelech gave orders to all of his people that if anybody “molests” Isaac or Rebekah will be put to death.
Isaac decides to plant crops in Abimelech’s kingdom. The same year Isaac reaped a hundredfold, because God was with him. Isaac grew rich & his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. (Notice that? Every time some one in Abraham’s lineage messes with Abimelech, they gets that money!) Isaac had so many flocks, herds, & servants that the Philistines envied him. So out of envy, the Philistines filled up all the wells, that Abraham’s servants had dug (during the time of Abraham), with earth.
Abimelech says to Isaac, “Move away from us. You’ve become too powerful for us.” So Isaaac moved away from there & encamped in the Valley of Gerar. He settled there. Isaac reopened all the wells that the Philistines had filled up with earth. He gave the wells the same names his father had given them. Isaac’s servants dug in the valley & discovered a well of fresh water. The herdsmen of Gerar fought with Isaac’s herdsmen, each laying claim to the water. So the well was called Esek (Esek means dispute.), because of the dispute.
Then they dug another well, but they fought over that well too. They called this well, Sitnah (Sitnah means opposition.). Isaac moved on from there & dug another well, no one fought over this well. Isaac called this well, Rehoboth. (Rehoboth means room.) From there he went up to Beersheba. That night God appeared to Isaac. Isaac built an altar there & called on the name of God. There he pitched his tents & his servants dug a well there.
Meanwhile, Abimelech had come to Isaac from Gerar, with Ahuzzath (Abimelech’s personal adviser), & Phicol (the commander of Abimelech’s forces). Isaac asks them, “Why have you come to me? Since you were hostile to me & sent me away?” They say, “We see that God is with you. So we were talking & we thought you’d like to make a deal with us.. So you’ll do us no harm, just like we didn’t “molest” you but always treated you well. We sent you in peace. Now, you’re blessed by God.” Isaac then made a feast for them. They ate & drank.
Early the next morning, the men made a deal with each other. Isaaac sent them on their way & they left him in peace. That day Isaac’s servants came & told him about the well they’d dug. They told Isaac that they found water. Isaac called it Shibah. (Shibah can mean oath or 7.) To this day the name of this town has been Beersheba. (Beersheba can mean well of the oath or the well of 7.)
Now I love this because they threw this last part in like a side-note. Like they couldn’t use it as the beginning for the next chapter: Esau was 40 years old, he married Judith (the daughter of Beeri the Hittite), & he also married Basemath (daughter of Elon the Hittite). They were a source of grief to Isaac & Rebekah.