And Isaac dig again the wells of water, which they had dig in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Isaac digged again the wells . . . —This activity of Isaac called forth anew the opposition of the Philistines, His first well was in the wady of Gerar, and was the more valuable because it was not the mere remains of the water of the torrent, but was fed by a spring, as we learn from its being called “a well of living water.” But though Isaac had a right to these wells by reason of the old covenant between his father and the king, yet when his claim was resisted he abandoned the well, but in token of displeasure called it Esek, contention. When compelled to resign his next well he called it by a harsher name—Sitnah, enmity; for their opposition was developing into bitter persecution. And now, wearied with the strife, he withdrew far away, and the Philistines, having gained their end, followed him no farther. In quiet, therefore, he again dug a well, and called it Rehoboth, wide open spaces. It has been identified with one in the wady Ruhaibeh now stopped up, but originally twelve feet in diameter and cased with hewn stone. It lies to the south of Beer-sheba, at a distance of 8⅓ leagues, and about forty miles; away from Gerar.
And Isaac digged those rather than new ones, partly to keep up his father’s memory, and partly because he had most right to them, and others less cause of quarrel with him about them. Genesis 26:15, since it follows:
for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham; these were what Abraham's servants had dug, when he lived at Gerar, and which the Philistines durst not stop during his life; but when he was dead and particularly out of envy to Isaac his son, whom they observed to prosper much, they stopped them up, that he might have no benefit by them; for otherwise they would scarcely have stopped them, if he had not been upon the spot, but would have made use of them themselves. The opening of them again by Isaac seems to be done, as Jarchi observes, before he removed from Gerar to the valley, though it is here related; unless it can be thought that Abraham dwelt in the valley also, and had dug wells there, which the Philistines stopped up after his death, and Isaac opened when he came there; and if so one would think he should have had no occasion to have dug other new wells, as we find he afterwards did; besides, this seems to be out of the jurisdiction of the Philistines, and not in their power to have stopped them here; it seems therefore most probable that these were Abraham's wells at Gerar, and not in the valley. Origen (k) makes mention of wonderful wells being dug in the land of the Philistines by righteous men, meaning Abraham and Isaac; and particularly in Askelon which, according to some, is the same with Gerar; See Gill on Genesis 20:1,
and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them; which he did out of respect to his father, to preserve the memory of his name, as well as to make his title and claim to them the more dear and certain.And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. in the days of Abraham] Instead of “in the days,” Sam., LXX, and Lat. read “the servants,” i.e. “which the servants of Abraham his father had digged.”Verse 18. - And Isaac digged again - literally, returned and digged, i.e. re-dug (cf. 2 Kings 20:5) - the wells of water, which they (the servants of Abraham) had digged in the days Of Abraham his father; - from which it appears that Abraham had digged other wells besides that of Beersheba (Genesis 21:31) - for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: - which was a violation of the league into which Abimelech had entered with the patriarch (vide Genesis 21:23) - and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them - and with which Isaac was sufficiently acquainted. Genesis 26:3) in the safety of his wife, so did he received while in Gerar the promised blessing. He sowed and received in that year "a hundred measures," i.e., a hundred-fold return. This was an unusual blessing, as the yield even in very fertile regions is not generally greater than from twenty-five to fifty-fold (Niebuhr and Burckhardt), and it is only in the Ruhbe, that small and most fruitful plain of Syria, that wheat yields on an average eighty, and barley a hundred-fold. Agriculture is still practised by the Bedouins, as well as grazing (Robinson, Pal. i. 77, and Seetzen); so that Isaac's sowing was no proof that he had been stimulated by the promise of Jehovah to take up a settled abode in the promised land.
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