New International Reader's Version

Genesis 26

Isaac and Abimelek

1There was very little food in the land. The same thing had been true earlier, in Abraham’s time. Isaac went to Abimelek in Gerar. Abimelek was the king of the Philistines. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt. Live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay there for a while. I will be with you and give you my blessing. I will give all these lands to you and your children after you. And I will keep my word that I gave to your father Abraham. I will make your children after you as many as the stars in the sky. And I will give them all these lands. All nations on earth will be blessed because of your children. I will do all these things because Abraham obeyed me. He did everything I required. He kept my commands, my rules and my instructions.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar.

The men of that place asked him about his wife. He said, “She’s my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She’s my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me because of Rebekah. She’s a beautiful woman.”

Isaac had been there a long time. One day Abimelek, the king of the Philistines, looked down from a window. He saw Isaac hugging and kissing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelek sent for Isaac. He said, “She’s really your wife, isn’t she? Why did you say she was your sister?”

Isaac answered him, “I thought I might lose my life because of her.”

10 Then Abimelek said, “What have you done to us? What if one of the men slept with your wife? Then you would have made us guilty.”

11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people. He said, “Anyone who harms this man or his wife will surely be put to death.”

12 Isaac planted crops in that land. That same year he gathered 100 times more than he planted. That was because the Lord blessed him. 13 Isaac became rich. His wealth continued to grow until he became very rich. 14 He had many flocks and herds and servants. Isaac had so much that the Philistines became jealous of him. 15 So they stopped up all the wells the servants of his father Abraham had dug. They filled them with dirt.

16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us. You have become too powerful for us.”

17 So Isaac moved away from there. He camped in the Valley of Gerar, where he made his home. 18 Isaac opened up the wells again. They had been dug in the time of his father Abraham. The Philistines had stopped them up after Abraham died. Isaac gave the wells the same names his father had given them.

19 Isaac’s servants dug wells in the valley. There they discovered fresh water. 20 But the people of Gerar who took care of their own herds argued with the people who took care of Isaac’s herds. “The water is ours!” the people of Gerar said. So Isaac named the well Esek. That’s because they argued with him. 21 Then Isaac’s servants dug another well. They argued about that one too. So he named it Sitnah. 22 Isaac moved on from there and dug another well. But no one argued about that one. So he named it Rehoboth. He said, “Now the Lord has given us room. Now we will be successful in the land.”

23 From there Isaac went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him. He said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid. I am with you. I will bless you. I will increase the number of your children because of my servant Abraham.”

25 Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord. There he set up his tent. And there his servants dug a well.

26 During that time, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar. His personal adviser, Ahuzzath, had come with him. So had his army commander, Phicol. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me? You were angry with me and sent me away.”

28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you. So we said, ‘There should be an agreement between us and you.’ We want to make a peace treaty with you. 29 Give us your word that you won’t harm us. We didn’t harm you. We always treated you well. We sent you away peacefully. And now the Lord has blessed you.”

30 Then Isaac had a feast prepared for them. They ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men made a treaty with each other. Then Isaac sent the men of Gerar on their way. And they left peacefully.

32 That day Isaac’s servants came to him. They told him about the well they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!” 33 So he named it Shibah. To this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.

Jacob Takes Esau’s Blessing

34 When Esau was 40 years old, he got married to Judith. She was the daughter of Beeri the Hittite. Esau also married Basemath. She was the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 Isaac and Rebekah became very upset because Esau had married Hittite women.