To: en & more
From: Su Min
Subject: Isaac & Abimelech
My dearly beloved,
Today we read Genesis Chapter 26, and find history repeating itself: in the main, man is sinful and continues to fall short of God's standards. We all seem to make the same mistake over and over again, and need to daily repent of our sins....
Abimelech is King of Gerar in Philistine. Abimelich "the divine king is my father" may have been a cognomen of Philistine kings like the Egyptian "pharaoh". We understand the Abimelech in Gen 26 is a similar but different person from the Abimelech in Gen 20.
Famine drives Isaac and Rebekah to Gerar, and to protect his own life, Isaac claims that beautiful Rebekah is his sister (Like father like son, Gen 20:2 some things never change). After a long time, the game is given away when as documented in Gen 20:8 Isaac is seen behaving in quite an unbrotherly way to Rebekah.
I think the KJV version puts it very dramatically and sweetly: the king looked, and saw, and behold, Isaac was sporting with his wife.
- NIV says "Abimelech king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah."
- The RSV says "Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac fondling his wife Rebekah."
- KJV puts it "Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife."
Now there is nothing wrong with sporting with one's wife: indeed this passage does confirm that it is God's desire for each husband to sport, caress and fondle his wife (rejoice in the wife of your youth Proverbs 5:18). But this sporting, caressing, fondling is not for brother, sister nor any other couple. Furthermore, Isaac had lied about the relationship, claiming to be brother to Rebekah, putting her at risk of exposure to sexual advances by the Philistine, and putting the Philistines at risk of punishment in the event of such sexual advances.
Abimelech is good man. He chastises Isaac for this wrong (Gen 26:10), and declares protection over Isaac and Rebekah (Gen 26:11).
Isaac continues to prosper, till envy wells up in the Philistines (Gen 26:14)
The water quarrel, and the treaty (Gen 26:16-33) are reminiscent of old times (Gen 20: 22-34), important to us being:
Let us pray
- Gen 26:24 God appearing to Isaac and speaking to him
- Gen 26:25 Isaac recognising this markerpoint, building an altar and calling upon the name of the Lord
- Gen 26:28 Abimelech recognising clearly that God was always with Isaac
- The last verse (Gen 26:35) documents two errors that Esau made, sins, causing grief to God and grief to his parents for Esau chose to marry more than one wife, and he married out of his kinsfolk, to foreign women who worshipped foreign gods.
Father thank you for your eternal word. We believe it is true yesterday, today and forever.Love dad
Thank you for the lesson today. May we have the wisdom to discern what you teach us today, and the obedience to live our lives as you will.
In Jesus name. Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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