And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
Crowded into a brief chapter or two, between the heroic life of Abraham and the adventurous life of Jacob, Isaac seems overshadowed by the father and the son. He is the longest lived of the patriarchs, with the shortest history. It is related of him chiefly that he dug wells — excellent wells, no doubt, and famous some of them, as Sitnah and Rehoboth and Beer-sheba; but, with this exception, he is notable chiefly as being the son of his father, and the father of his son. And yet the thought grows upon me at every resting-place among the labours of life, at every reminder of my personal ineffectiveness and unimportance — at every quiet Sunday evening pause between the work and strife of the week past and those of the week to come, how much comfort there is, here in this long, quiet, almost unrecorded interval between Abraham and Jacob, in pondering the peaceful story of a man who had neither the heroism of the one nor the subtlety of the other, but who, just as much as either of them, has this testimony, that he pleased God. "When I think of my father's life, crowded with great and noble deeds for the Church and for humanity, and think of my passing years and of their meagre record, it is comforting to remember that God requires to be served also by other men than heroes; it is pleasant to turn from Abraham, sitting in his tent-door in the heat of the fiery noon-day, to placid, pastoral Isaac, meditating in the field at eventide .... In the margin of the chapter, we find over against the word "meditate" the alternative reading, "Or, pray." We do not need this marginal note to assure us that this evening meditation of the shepherd-lever was a prayer. In so grave a crisis of life, the meditation of one who believes in God of course becomes a prayer. What anxious questions of a lifetime's joy or wretchedness were to turn on what might be the result of that far-away embassy of the faithful slave, Eliezer!
(L. W. Bacon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.