Friday, December 3, 2010

Genesis 26:1-6 What Esau Gave Up

During a famine in the land, Isaac headed toward Egypt, which, because of the waters of the Nile, had a dependable supply of food.  At first, he came to Gerar, which was halfway between Beersheba and Gaza.  Abimelech was king there.  Another Abimelech was king when Abraham had gone there years before.  Perhaps this was that Abimelech's son or grandson.  At any rate, God told Isaac to stay in Gerar for a while rather than proceed to Egypt. (v.1-2)

"Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and bless you.
For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.  I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.
So Isaac stayed in Gerar."    (Genesis 26:3-6 NIV)

God makes it clear that Isaac is heir of the covenant which He had made with Abraham.  God promises to be with Isaac and bless him, to give him numerous descendants and to give him the land.  All nations would be blessed through this covenant.  Abraham's obedience to God is highlighted here, as a reminder that Isaac also needed to continue in obedience.

Since chapter 25:19-34 has already told us of how the birthright was transferred to Jacob from Esau, why does Genesis 26 now go a generation back and remind us of how Isaac (before Jacob) was the heir of this covenant? 

  1. These verses are probably included here so that we understand just what this covenant inheritance was all about. 
  2. They also remind us of the immense riches that Esau was so casually spurning when he despised his birthright.

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