Abimelekh said to Isaac, “You must go away from us, because you have become much more powerful than we are.”-Genesis 26:17
Isaac and his tribe settle in the land of Gerar and decide to produce an extra source of food supply by planting crops.
The Lord supernaturally blesses these efforts with the result being a hundredfold yield from the seeds planted.
This so incites the jealousy of the area’s herdsmen that they fill up Isaac’s wells with dirt.
Eventually, the relationship deteriorates to the point that the Abimelech “politely” requests that Isaac and his clan leave.
During this whole exchange, the Abimelech uses God’s actual name “Yahweh”, most likely partly as a show of respect and partly out of fear.
I think it is safe to say that while he knew of the God of Israel, he obviously didn’t think of Him as the only God in the whole universe.
The type of friction that erupted between Isaac and the Philistines is an event that will continue to repeat itself throughout all of the Jewish people’s history.
Understand that when the Abimelech was asking Isaac to leave, by that time Isaac’s tribe had increased in numbers quite considerably.
It was not a matter of a stronger majority bullying and intimidating a weaker minority.
Quite the opposite actually.
If Isaac and his clan refused to leave, the Abimelech would not have been able to kick him out.
Not only was the Abimelech afraid of Isaac and his growing numbers, he also feared the powerful God that was protecting him.
Nevertheless, Isaac agreed to leave and resettled in Beersheba (seven wells).
However, this still wasn’t enough to assuage the Abimelech’s worries that Isaac might come back and attempt a takeover of his country.
So the Abimelech tracks Isaac down, this time bringing his chief of staff and Phicol, the general of his army.
Isaac is taken aback and probably not just a little bit irritated.
He had complied with all of the Abimelech’s demands.
So why was he still being dogged?
Abimelech was still feeling anxious and insecure and had come to Isaac again to establish a mutual peace treaty.
After the terms of the pact were spelled out, a peace agreement was sealed with a ceremonial meal complete with vows spoken in the name of each party’s respective God.
NEXT TIME WE WILL BEGIN GENESIS CHAPTER 27