Thru The Word Ministries
Genesis 24-26


1 - Now Abraham was old, well-advanced in years; and Yahweh had blessed Abraham in all things.

We enter into this new phase of our study by asking a question. Does this mean Abraham had obtained perfection in order to be blessed of God? I hope you answered in the negative because, as we have seen, Abram/Abraham has had his trials and tribulations along the way. There was the need for faith to be built in Abraham, but the same is true for the rest of us. The greater one’s faith is built in the Lord, the more that person is able to trust God in even the greatest of life’s storms. Greater trust in the Lord means the greater the blessings from Him will be … even in the greatest of life’s storms. Let’s see where this now leads in the life and ministry of Abraham.

2 - And Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, ruling over all that was belonging to him, “Please put your hand underneath my thigh,

3 - “And I will make you swear by Yahweh, the God of heaven, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, that I dwell in the midst of;

4 - “Instead you shall go into my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”

The act of putting one’s hand under another’s thigh has spawned several different interpretations on the part of pastors & theologians. To condense, this means a solemn oath was about to be proposed to the one whose hand was underneath the other’s thigh. This oath will go on to be quite the life-changing event starting with those directly involved in this scenario, extending right on up to those of us today. Hang in through this phase of our study and see if you don’t agree.

First off, the “daughters of the Canaanites” simply will not do in regard to a wife for his ‘miracle baby’. In order for this to come to pass, Abraham’s instructions to his servant are for him to go back to his homeland so that the right woman for Isaac may be found. In this culture the bride was found for the groom by his parents. I happened to come across a show on cable that was loosely based on this concept. The parents were trying to audition boys that would be better for their daughter to go out with than the loser she was going with at the time. Perhaps it was merely parents getting to vent their frustrations resulting from having to witness the poor choices their daughter was making at the time. If that were true, I think I would have jumped at the chance to do something similar if given the opportunity.

5 - And the servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me into this country; do I have to take your son back to the land from which you came?”

The servant wanted to know if he had an ‘out’ if things did not go according to his master’s plans.

6 - And Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there.

7 - “Yahweh, God of heaven, who took me from the house of my father and from the land of my relatives, and who spoke to me, and that swore to me in saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’, He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.

8 - “And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not lead my son back there.”

Abraham’s response to him was not a back-handed one. He reminded his servant of Yahweh’s promise to him that the land would belong to his descendants. On this basis, the angel of the Lord would go before, thereby making his journey successful. As a sort of encouraging word, he assures his servant that if whoever he finds doesn’t want to come back with him, he will not be held personally responsible.

9 - And the servant put his hand underneath the thigh of Abraham his lord, and swore to him regarding this matter.

With this type of assuredness, the servant seems well with taking on his master’s assignment. So it is apparently his responsibility to line up the entourage that will accompany him.

10 - So the servant took ten camels from the camels of his lord and went away; and all the goods of his lord [were] in his hand. Then he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor.

To have ten camels means there had to be ten riders to commandeer them. This is quite the caravan being assembled as evidenced by the fact that “all the goods of his lord were in his hand (possession).”

11 - And he caused his camels to kneel on the outside of the city by a well of water in the time of evening; in the time women go out to draw water.

The servant probably realizes how far he has come and how it’s now or never, do or die, so to speak. We need to realize he has no one around him to offer reassurance or encouragement. He is indebted to his master to the extent he would certainly prefer things to turn out according to Abraham’s plan just like they had talked about prior to his departure. But we can imagine the trepidation he is sensing at this moment. He has to be assured that the mission given to him will be accomplished in compliance with his master’s desires. So what does he do at this point? What else can he do? He prays.

12 - And he said, “O Yahweh Elohim, of my lord Abraham, please allow good to happen to me this day, and demonstrate loving-kindness to my lord Abraham.

13 - “Behold, I am standing by a spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city [are] coming out to draw water.

14 - “And let it be that the maiden to whom I will say, ‘Please let down your pitcher so I can drink’, and she will say, ‘Drink, and also your camels I will give to drink’, she [is the one] you have appointed for your servant, for Isaac; and thereby I will know that you have done this kindness for my lord.”

This is what we would (or should) refer to as specific prayer. He has to know the Lord is in what he is seeking to accomplish. The servant is not telling God what to do, as many Pentecostal/Charismatic and Word/Faith teachers would at least imply. He simply needs God’s assurance that the outcome of his mission will be pleasing to his master. What a worthy servant he is! It’s as if we should be cheering him on at this point.

15 - And it came to be, before he had finished speaking that, behold, Rebecca [was] going out, who had been born to Bethuel, the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, brother of Abraham; and her pitcher was on her shoulder.

This is the time of day when a representative of each household had business down at the community well. Usually it was a woman from the household that was doing the honors for the family. Understand that this was a vital part of the daily household chores. Not that the men weren’t exactly sloughing off or shirking their responsibilities in any way, but they were out doing the heavy labor. Going down to the well to draw water for the family was considered women’s work compared to how the men normally labored. We can also imagine that the other women who had business at the well were procrastinating at least a little bit. Yet here came Rebecca … very possibly the first to arrive that evening.

16 - And the maiden was very beautiful to look upon; a virgin. Now no man had known her, and she went down to the spring and filled her pitcher and went up.

While she was minding her own business and taking care of business at the same time, she is interrupted from the normal events of her day by Abraham’s servant.

17 - Then the servant ran to meet her, and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.”

18 - And she said, “Drink, my lord.” Then she hastened and let down her pitcher on her hand, and she gave him a drink.

Here Rebecca was being a servant to the servant, if you will. But the servant is not done yet … not hardly.

19 - And when she had finished giving him a drink, then she said, “I will draw [water] for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.”

20 - And she hastened and emptied her pitcher into the watering trough, and ran again to the well to draw [water], and she drew for all his camels.

Talk about going the extra mile-and-a-half! When we realize how long all this would take, we are amazed at her generosity and servant-heartedness. She is giving water not to just one or two camels, but ten of them. I would dare say we could ask anyone who has ever watered a camel before how long it would normally take, multiply that times ten and have our answer. But understand those camels had just finished an extra long journey. How much longer would that process take in such an instance? In any event, here, ladies and gentleman, is what serving others is really all about. It is about going out of one’s way for others regardless of how time-consuming or labor-intensive it is. Rebecca serves as one anointed of God because, in reality, she is! Yet I know in the depths of my heart I have not achieved that level of servant-leadership to this point in my life. How about you?

21 - And the man, gazing at her, [was] remaining silent, wanting to know whether Yahweh would bring success to his journey or not.

Isn’t that just like our human nature? We pray and ask God to give us a certain result, then when He begins to unfold His plan before our very eyes we find ourselves praying, “Is that you, God?”

22 - And it came to be that after the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a gold nose-ring, a weight of half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists of ten [shekels] weight of gold.

23 - And he said, “Whose daughter [are] you? Please tell me: Is there a place in the house of your father for us to lodge in?”

Abraham’s servant knew what he had to do. The only way he would begin to know for certain that the Lord was in this was to know the identity of this very helpful stranger.

24 - And she said to him, “I [am] the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, that she bore unto Nahor.”

25 - And she said to him again, “We have plenty of both straw and fodder; also a place to lodge in.”

26 - Then the man bowed his head and worshiped Yahweh.

27 - And he said, “Blessed [is] Yahweh-Elohe of my lord Abraham, who has not withheld from my lord His loving-kindness and faithfulness. I [being] on the way, was lead of Yahweh to the house of my lord’s brethren.”

And the moral of the story? Where God guides, God provides. No matter who you are or what you are doing in Christian ministry, if that is not your spiritual compass (besides the Bible of course), it certainly should be. Provision is the name of His game. He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5). He is not reminding us nor rewarding us, but providing for us each step on our journey when we have made the heart commitment to step out on faith in response to His leading.

28 - Then the maiden ran and told [those of] the house of her mother about these things.

Rebecca had a father at the time but for some reason was incapacitated. It may have been due to old age, long-standing illness, both, or neither. The phrase “the house of her mother” would probably be our clue that her father was no longer head of household as far being in a decision-making capacity was concerned.

29 - And Rebecca had a brother, and his name [was] Laban. And Laban ran outside to the man by the spring.

I don’t know about you, but Laban doesn’t strike me as the most spiritually-minded man of his day. In fact he seems quite carnal or secular in his mindset. His interest is peaked, it seems, by this man he has heard about with all the shiny trinkets out by the community well. Notice his interest in the next two verses.

30 - And it came to be, when he saw the nose-ring and the bracelets on the wrists of his sister, and when he heard the words of Rebecca his sister, saying, “Thus the man spoke to me,” then he went in to the man. And behold, the man [was] standing with the camels by the spring.

31 - And he said, “Come in, thou blessed of Yahweh. Why do you stand on the outside? I have tidied up the house, and this place for the camels.”

Laban tells him he has everything ready for he and his entourage. It’s as if he had been waiting for them. Go back to the phrase used earlier - where God guides, God provides. The Lord went before both the servant and Laban in bringing forth His provision for them. If you’ve known that to be true in your own life, you know for a fact that it’s far from impossible for God to provide your every need along the way, once we are in “the way.” That is, to be guided along the path we must first be on the path in service to Him.

32 - And the man came into the house, and he unburdened the camels and gave straw and fodder for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the feet of the men that [were] with him.

Laban can’t respond to this man and his needs long, hard, or fast enough, or so it would seem. In my view, this would be what we would refer to as “sucking up!”

33 - And [food] was put before him to eat, but he said, “I will not eat until I have spoken of my matter.” And he said, “Speak on.”

And how important it would be to know of this man’s business. Do you possibly think they could have made it through the meal time unless he had intervened in this way? If curiosity killed the cat, it surely would have put this entire household six feet under before they had finished eating!

34 - And he said, “I am a servant of Abraham.

35 - “And Yahweh has greatly blessed my lord, and he has become great. And He has given to him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and servants and maidservants, and camels and donkeys.

36 - “And Sarah, wife of my lord, bore a son to my lord in her old age; and He gave to him all that [is] belonging to him.

37 - “And my lord made me swear, in saying, ‘You will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I am dwelling;

38 - ‘But you will go to the house of my father, and to my clan, and you shall take a wife for my son.’

39 - “And I said to my lord, ‘Perhaps the woman will not follow me.’

40 - “And he said, ‘Yahweh, before whom I walk, will send His messenger with you and give success on your journey. And you shall take a wife for my son from my clan and from the house of my forefathers.

41 - ‘At that time you will be free from my oath when you come to my clan. But if they will not give [that which is] belonging to her, then you shall be exempt from my oath.’

42 - “And I came this day to the spring and said, ‘Yahweh-Elohe of my lord Abraham, if you will please make my journey successful in the way on which I am going,

43 - ‘Behold, I am standing by the spring of water‘; and it shall come to be, [when] the virgin is going out to draw [water], that I say to her, ‘Please give me to drink a little water from your pitcher,’

44 - “And she says to me, ‘Drink! And I will also draw water for your camels,’ she [is] the woman whom Yahweh has appointed for my lord’s son.

45 - “Before I had finished speaking in my heart then, behold, [there was] Rebecca, coming forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring and drew [water] and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’

46 - “And she hastened, and she let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels a drink also.’ So I drank, and she gave the camels a drink also.

47 - “Then I asked her, and said, ‘Whose daughter [are] you?’ And she said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, son of Nahor, who was born unto Milcah.’ Then I put the nose-ring on her face and the bracelets on her wrists.

48 - “Then I bowed my head and worshiped Yahweh, and blessed Yahweh-Elohe of my lord Abraham, who had guided me in the way of truth, to take a daughter of his brother for my lord’s son.

49 - “And now if you will act with kindness and truth to my lord, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.”

After recounting his journey and the events that led up to it, he gives them the ‘bottom line’ by letting them know they need to decide now as to how the rest of his journey will go. Also you’ll notice he’s not asking them to respond to him, but rather to Abraham (“my lord”). Ultimately that is what they will be doing in this process. The servant’s subtle manner is laced with tact and diplomacy, yet it’s precise and to-the-point. This brings us to a highly important juncture in our study of this chapter.

The typological teaching here seems so clear that it should not be passed over. The servant is like the Holy Spirit, who is in the world seeking a Bride for Christ. The Bride is to be made up of individuals who receive Him as Lord and Savior, and who therefore will be brought unto Him in regeneration by the Spirit. As the Holy Spirit (through human witnesses, through Scripture, through circumstances) witnesses to the hearts of individuals concerning the glories of Christ, their need of Him, and the joys to be found in His presence, they are confronted with the greatest decision of their lives. They cannot ignore Him; they must say either yes or no. If they are united to Him, they must leave the things of the world behind them and submit fully to Him. Many reject the invitation and are separated forever from Him. “But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).1

Once one has had an encounter with Christ, the response can only be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There is no room to negotiate, for one does not come to Him on their own terms. All kinds of questions can be raised and often are, but those are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. So … how’s it with you today? Can you honestly say you have responded in the affirmative to the greatest decision of your life? It’s not about how someone else has responded, but how you have responded. On the Day you stand before God (Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:11-15) nothing else you and I have ever done with our lives will matter. In eternity each of us will either be joined to Him as His Bride, or separated from Him in a real, literal place called Hell, having never afforded ourselves the opportunity to know the joy of living in right relationship with the Lord.

50 - Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The matter has come from Yahweh. We are not able to speak unto you bad or good.

51 - “Behold, Rebecca [is] before you; take [her] and go, and let her be wife to your lord’s son, according to [that] which Yahweh has spoken.”

They acknowledged that God was in it. What else could they do, really? It was clear that a miracle had been done among them. Sadly, many of today’s people could see the Lord perform a bevy of miracles before their very eyes and still wouldn’t acknowledge they were from Him. That’s why Jesus refused to perform for the Pharisees when they asked Him to show them a miracle. Jesus knew they wouldn’t believe even if He had (Matthew 12:38, 16:1).

52 - And it came to be that when the servant of Abraham had heard their words, he then bowed himself to the ground in worship of Yahweh.

That’s the moment for which the servant had been waiting. It was one thing for him to know God was in it, but hearing it from them sealed the deal for him. He quickly and readily bowed in worship in order to acknowledge the One who had really brought it all about. That’s the thing about an effective servant of the Lord: they know they have their job to do, but realize when their task is a success they are to give credit to Whom credit is due.

53 - Then the servant brought forth articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, and gave [them] to Rebecca. He gave both her brother and her mother choice gifts.

As a type of the Spirit, this servant lavishes the choice gifts on those who have opened up their hearts and lives to him. The Spirit Himself continues to do the same today, as seen in 1 Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4. But let us always remember and never forget that “…the greatest of these is [love]” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

54 - And they ate and drank, he and the men who [were] with him. Then they lodged and arose in the morning. And he said, “Send me away to my lord.”

We have a problem that is about to be brewing. The servant has tended to his business in the proper manner. He can say he has accomplished his mission. He can also say it is now time to move ahead with the business that has been transacted.

55 - But her brother and her mother said, “Let the maiden dwell with us [a few] days, or ten; after [that], she may go.”

When a sentence begins with the word “but,” this signals an abrupt change of momentum. In our lives, when the Holy Spirit speaks to us about a certain direction we are to go, or a certain item of business we are to transact, our human nature is quick to respond with the word “but”, isn’t it? If we’re honest, we must admit that we all have the inclination to change the momentum the Spirit wants to establish. Now watch how the servant handles this potential dilemma.

56 - And he said to them, “Do not hinder me, since Yahweh has prospered me on my journey. Send me away so I may go to my lord.”

Perfect! Not only does he tell them his job there is done, but once again he gives Yahweh the glory for his success. Most importantly, he knows the real success comes once he is back home and working with his master on putting the final pieces of the puzzle in place, so to speak.

57 - And they said, “We will call the maiden and ask of her.”

58 - So they called for Rebecca, and they said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”

So Rebecca plays ‘tie-breaker’ between the two parties. She is really the one out of all this family that truly believes God is in this in every way. Why? Because of her immediate response. Church, we need to get a handle on this: true belief is not in what we say, but what we do (James 1:22). We don’t see where there’s any hesitation or reservation on her part whatsoever. Good for her! May her tribe increase. There need to be many more who sound an instantaneous ‘Yes’ to what God is doing and where and how He is doing it in our day. That is why she serves as a type of the bride of Christ. Saying ‘yes’ to the Lord is what the church is to be about in our day or any day, for that matter. Going where He would have us go and doing what He would have us do should be the name of our game, now and always.

59 - So they sent away Rebecca their sister, and her nurse, with the servant of Abraham and his men.

60 - And they blessed Rebecca and said to her, “You [are] our sister. May you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and your offspring possess the gate of those hating them.”

Perhaps the rest of the family had begun to see how ‘in this’ God really was. Here they speak this most supreme blessing on her, that not only would she become great in terms of number of offspring, but that their enemies would not overcome them.

61 - Then Rebecca arose, and her maidens, and they rode the camels and followed the man; and the servant took Rebecca and went away.

It’s interesting to note how there are no details of the return trip made by all the ones that came originally along with Rebecca. How far the journey was, how long it took, what obstacles were to be overcome, we don’t really know. We don’t see any danger encountered along the way, so I believe it’s safe to say that no news is good news. But don’t you know there had to be some conversation along the journey? Like for instance between the servant and Rebecca. Consider for a moment what was said by them, especially her. She had to have wanted to know all about her husband-to-be. It’s only natural, don’t you know? And who better to ask than the servant … the one who no doubt helped raise Isaac to a certain degree. We can imagine to a great degree, can’t we, that he watched him grow from a baby to a toddler to a teenager to a young adult. She would have wanted to hear stories about his growing-up years, among other things. After all she was a woman, and we all know how curious those wonderful females can be!

62 - Now Isaac had come from the way of Beer-lahai-roi; and he was dwelling in the land of the south country.

63 - And Isaac went out to meditate in the field as it was turning evening. Then he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, camels [were] coming.

Don’t miss what Isaac is engaged in here. He was praying, spending time with the Lord, and waiting to see if the servant’s mission was successful. The suspense Isaac was sensing at that moment was probably more than he could handle, or so it would seem. The only thing he realized he could do was to pray. So it should be with each of us. Many times we take matters into our own hands, but really the only thing to do is to simply leave it in the Lord’s hands. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but nonetheless appropriate still.

64 - Then Rebecca lifted her eyes and saw Isaac; then she dismounted from off the camel.

65 - And she said to the servant, “Who [is] this man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He [is] my lord.” So she took the veil and covered herself.

How fitting for the bride to veil herself in the presence of her groom. Could it be they had the wedding ceremony right then and there? Well, not before the servant got Isaac caught up on some details.

66 - And the servant recounted to Isaac all the things that he had done.

I love the word ‘all’ used here. That took a while for sure, but if you think about it, you need to remember he still had a job to do: to bring together a bride and groom in holy matrimony! Recalling for him all the things that took place going to, coming from, and everything in between no doubt heightened Isaac’s level of interest at this point. How appropriate from the spiritual perspective when one considers Isaac is a type of Christ, Rebecca a type of the church (the bride of Christ), and the servant a type of the Holy Spirit. By the way, we’re not given the servant’s name here in this passage, but back in 15:2 we’re told the principal servant of his household is Eliezer. And what does his name mean? It means ‘helper’. Just like the Holy Spirit whom Jesus foretold would come alongside each of His own and be Helper to us (John 14:16-18).

So why is the servant not named here? Because as a type of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit did not come to make mention of Himself (John 16:13). Why did Paul start out most of his epistles by saying, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ”? Why was the Holy Spirit not mentioned but rather only the first two persons of the Trinity? Because the Holy Spirit, who inspired not only Paul’s writings but the other biblical writers as well, does not make mention of Himself. His main responsibility is to bring attention to Christ.

67 - Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother, and took Rebecca, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after [the death of] his mother.

In the same way, Christ will be comforted, if you will, at the uniting of His church to Himself. As of now His church is scattered and, in many cases, confused. Not that Christ is at the right hand of the Father at this point wringing His hands, worrying and wondering what is happening to the sheep of His pasture; He knows because He is sovereign. But His ultimate goal is to unify His church. This is the same church for which He gave His very life. When His church is together with Him for all eternity, that’s when the real rejoicing can and will begin. If you don’t believe me, check out Revelation 21-22 at your earliest opportunity. There you’ll see with spiritual eyes the ultimate celebration that will last for all eternity. The phrase “…and he loved her,” says it all in our present passage. Glory to His blessed and holy Name!


1 - Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name [was] Keturah.

As a new chapter opens in our study, so opens a new chapter in the life of Abraham. A period of mourning ensues for him following the death of Sarah, and then he marries Keturah. This is the same Keturah that was one of his concubines as depicted in 1 Chronicles 1:32.

2 - And she bore to him Zimram, and Yakshan, and Medan, and Mideyan, and Yishbak, and Shuhah.

3 - And Yakshan begot Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Ashurim, and Letushim, and Leumim.

4 - And the sons of Mideyan [were] Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the sons of Keturah.

Keturah gives to Abraham six more sons…and that in his old age! Here we see a sure indicator of the Lord continuing to pour out His blessings on the life of Abraham by way of prophecy fulfillment. How?

Through millennia of migrations and intermarriages, it seems likely that all of these peoples, together with the descendants of Ishmael, Lot, and Esau, along with the earlier descendants of Shem and, in some cases, Ham, have gradually merged and become the modern-day Arabic peoples.2

This sure was a lot in the way of offspring, yet we find…

5 - And Abraham gave all that belonged to him to Isaac.

How odd that Abraham was prosperous enough to provide for each one of the sons of his concubine. Yet that’s the exact reason Abraham did not give to them, for they were not part and parcel of the covenant God made with Abraham. Isaac was, therefore, the partaker of all that belonged to Abraham. Think about that for a moment: as Isaac was the descendant of the promise God made to his father, we are spiritual descendants of the Promise, “that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14).

Isn’t it astounding that the Lord Himself has made such provision for each of us under the New Covenant. All that belongs to us is really ours, isn’t it? Yet there may be certain aspects of your relationship with the Lord that have gone unclaimed by you. I have no idea what those would be, but if He has made that kind of provision for us, wouldn’t it be foolish of you and I to not accept certain provisions? For instance, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Pardon me while I step on toes here, but why insist on ministering in your own strength and power when the Lord has given to each of us the enablement of the Holy Spirit and His fullness (Ephesians 5:18-21)? Whether it happened at the moment of your salvation or it happens at a later point in time (Acts 19:1-7), know that the Father has given all that belongs to Him to you and I. Understand that I am not here to quibble over terminology or play semantics games. I’m only here to challenge you to answer one question: Do you have it?

6 - But to the sons of the concubines that belonged to Abraham, Abraham gave gifts and sent them away from Isaac his son while he [was] still living, eastward, toward the land of the east.

7 - And these days [are] the years of the life of Abraham that he lived: one hundred and seventy and five years.

8 - Then Abraham died a natural death in a good old age; an old man, satisfied [with life], and he was gathered to his people.

At age 175, Abraham expired from what we would today term ‘natural causes‘. From what we can surmise, he lived life as well as it could probably be lived in his day. By the way, what does it mean to be “gathered to his people”? Well, since no one else had ever been buried in this particular place, it could only mean that the spirits of the departed were already in one place. This would refer to the place that later became known as “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22).

9 - And Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, that [was] facing Mamre,

10 - The field that Abraham bought from the sons of Heth; there [was] Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

11 - And it came to be after the death of Abraham, that Elohim blessed Isaac his son, and Isaac dwelt by Beer-lahai-roi.

We learned earlier that “Beer-lahai-roi” means ’well of the One who sees me’. Truly, Elohim was watching over him in accordance with the promise He made with his father.

12 - Now these [are] the generations of Ishmael son of Abraham, whom Hagar, handmaiden to Sarah, bore to Abraham.

13 - And these are the sons of Ishmael by their names according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebayoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,

14 - And Mishma, and Dumah, and Masa,

15 - Hadad, and Tema, Yetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.

16 - These [are] the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names among their permanent settlements, and by their encampments; twelve princes according to their nations.

So by this we see that Ishmael was blessed numerically as much as Isaac based on the twelve tribes that came from him.

17 - And these [are] the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty and seven years. And he died a natural death, and [was] gathered to his people.

Notice the account does not speak of how satisfying the life of Ishmael was, as it did with Abraham. If you’ll recall the prophecy, the literal rendering said he would be a “wild ass of a man” (16:12). Not the most flattering of prophecies, and yet from him have come the Arabian people.

18 - And they dwelt from Havilah to Shur, which [is] before Egypt, as you [are] going to Assyria; and he settled in opposition to all his brethren.

The Arabs have been contentious with every man in the history of the world. Does God know what He’s talking about when He speaks? I do believe He does!

19 - Now these [are] the generations of Isaac, son of Abraham: Abraham begat Isaac;

20 - And Isaac the son became forty years old when he took Rebecca, daughter of Bethuel the Aramaean of Padan-Aram, sister of Laban the Aramaean, for his wife.

21 - And Isaac prayed to Yahweh for the benefit of his wife, because she [was] barren; and Yahweh heard his plea, and Rebecca his wife conceived.

22 - But the sons struggled together within her, and she said, “If [this is] so, why am I [this way]?” So she went to make supplication to Yahweh.

I think of the saying, “Be careful what you pray for.” She wanted to have babies, but she didn’t realize Yahweh would answer her prayer in the way He did. She got a two-for-one deal! Further still, they were fighting with each other inside of her. She probably knew not every pregnancy was this rough, so she wondered why. Not to herself, but in prayer before God. That could have been the wisest decision she ever made; the decision to take it to the Lord in prayer. In this way, Rebecca serves as an example for each of us. When we’re perplexed, we need only go to Him.

23 - And Yahweh said to her, “Two nations [are] in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be separated. And the one people shall be stronger than the [other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

He had the answer for Rebecca. His answer served as prophecy also; so much so that we have it contained as a part of the Word of God even today. Even though they were twins, they would be total opposites of each other. One of them would go on to serve only himself, with the other being a part of the Messianic line that would lead up to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24 - When her time had arrived to bear, then behold, twins [were] in her womb.

25 - And the first came out red all over, like a cloak of hair; so they called his name ‘Esau’.

26 - And after this, his brother came out, and his hand [was] grasping the heel of Esau, so he was named Jacob. Now Isaac the son [was] sixty years old when she bore them.

Sure enough, twins were born according to the prophecy. And contrary to what you may see or hear elsewhere, “Esau” means “hairy.” He resembled a coat of hair, as if he was wearing a type of overcoat at his birth, so at least one of his parents said, “I know…we’ll call him “Hairy!” The other had caught “Hairy” by the heel, so at least one of his parents said, “…And we’ll call the other “Heel-catcher.” We of course know him much better today as “Jacob.”

27 - So the boys grew, and Esau became a man known for hunting; a man of the field. But Jacob [was] a well-behaved man dwelling in tents.

Again, though they may have been twins, there was nothing identical about them. One was an outdoor man, the other a much more domesticated-type. The text describes Jacob very well as translated here. Most translations will describe Jacob by words such as “plain” or “smooth.” These renderings do not do justice to the word tam in Hebrew. A great alternate rendering would be “civilized,” especially in contrast to his brother.

28 - And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebecca loved Jacob.

Now here’s a classic stand-off: Daddy’s boy vs. Mama’s boy. While we’re contrasting the two, let me officially take the stand, as it were, by saying I take issue with scholars and commentators painting Jacob as a sissy and Esau as a ‘real man’. I believe nothing could be farther from the truth as this all gets back to simply a matter of expectations. Isaac believed Esau exhibited the type of behavior he envisioned from a son of his own, while Rebecca thought the same in relation to Jacob. He met her expectations of what she thought a son should be. It doesn’t mean that he played with dolls, wore dresses or heels, or was in any way what we would regard today as effeminate. In my biblically-based estimation, the onus is squarely on Esau here. More on that in a moment. In the meantime, the rivalry between the brothers escalates further.

29 - Now Jacob cooked food; then Esau came in from the field, and he [was] weary.

Jacob may well have done a lot of the cooking around the house. No doubt his mom was a great assist to him on his way to developing his culinary expertise. Whatever he was cooking, it didn’t take long to appeal to Esau in a big way. Too tired to prepare anything for himself following a hard day in the field, he opts for the easy way out.

30 - And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me quickly this very red [meat], because I [am] weary.” Therefore he was called Edom.

Throughout the Old Testament, the names ‘Esau’ and ‘Edom’ are used interchangeably, but both refer to the same person. His actual birth name means “hairy,” but he received what we might think of today as a nickname. There seems to be what has become known as a ‘defining moment’ in the life of everyone. Up to this point in time, the moment when Esau sold his birthright defined him as a person, and it still does. He sold it for some “red” meat, therefore he was better known from that day forward as “Red.”

31 - And Jacob said, “Sell to me your birthright this day.”

The birthright included a double portion of the inheritance, as well as the patriarchal and spiritual headship of the family once the father had passed from the scene.

32 - And Esau said, “Behold, I [am] going to die! So what [is] this birthright to me?”

33 - And Jacob said, “Swear to me this day!” And he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.

Here is an interesting exchange between the brothers as together they bring up the matter of the birthright. By the way, was this the first mention or conversation between them as it concerned the birthright? I dare say it was not the first mention of it in this household. The brothers may or may not have talked about it among themselves, but Jacob certainly thought about it. Rebecca had certainly been given the prophecy that the older would serve the younger. No doubt she would have shared that with the most-cherished of her two sons. So on that basis he had knowledge of the prophecy. The problem with Jacob was that he refused to wait on God’s timing for the prophecy to come about. What a grave mistake each of us are prone to make in that when the Lord has promised His blessing we seek to grab for it in our own timing and methodology, with oftentimes disastrous results.

34 - Then Jacob gave to Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he ate and drank, and arose, and went away. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Far worse and with more dire consequences than Jacob’s undoing, we see the real tragedy as the despising of the birthright by Esau. While Jacob took matters into his own hands, Esau had no desire to partake of spiritual things. This is the real tragedy of the so-called ‘American Christian’ of today. So much of today’s ‘spiritual rigor mortis’ has to do with the lack of desire for the things of God. Once physical rigor mortis sets in, it becomes impossible to move about. Likewise in the spiritual realm, we’ve no desire to move toward spiritual things. To what do I refer? Guzik explains:

What birthright might we despise? Ephesians 1:3-14 shows us a treasury of riches ours by birthright in Jesus: every spiritual blessing, the blessing of being chosen in Jesus, adoption into God’s family, total acceptance by God in Jesus, redemption from our slavery to sin, true and total forgiveness, the riches of God’s grace, the revelation and knowledge of the mystery of God’s will, an eternal inheritance, [and] the guarantee of the indwelling Holy Spirit right now. Will we sell out this birthright for a night of television?3

Feel free to insert any other idol in your life in place of the phrase “night of television” in that last sentence, but rest assured whenever we fail to cherish the riches of God’s grace, we have sold out to the world around us. The end result is always spiritual bondage. It was for Esau. He is known today as a “fornicator” and a “profane person” (Hebrews 12:16). The birthright and spiritual headship that accompanies it was never something Esau aspired to until he learned being without it would greatly diminish his income. Let us not become so preoccupied with things that will only become “wood, hay, and stubble” (1 Corinthians 3:12) that we fail to cultivate the true riches believers already possess.


1 - And there was a famine in the land, separate from the first famine that had come to be in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

Gerar is not in Egypt but is on the way to it, as it is on the southernmost edge of the Philistine territory. God is on the verge of supernaturally intervening once again in the life of Isaac. Please don’t miss this!

2 - Then Yahweh appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt. You are to settle in the land of which I will tell you.

3 - “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and I will bless you, because to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will keep the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.

4 - “And I will greatly increase your offspring as the stars of the heavens, and I will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in your offspring;

5 - “Because that Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My obligation, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

This famine is second generation, coming about one hundred years after the first famine. What’s most important is that the covenant is now second generation. Isaac is the possessor of it, therefore the Lord comes and speaks directly to him. Think about it: the covenant could have died out with Abraham. Yet because of His promise to Abraham (Genesis 22:18), it is now reiterated and renewed with Isaac. God’s provision is extended toward Isaac in order for the promise of the covenant to be brought about. He will not allow Isaac to go and dwell in a land of famine wherein he would starve to death, but rather to live and put down roots in a region where he and his offspring can grow and thrive. All this is due to the faithfulness of his father Abraham.

Yet when we trace back over Abraham’s life we find his faith was not all that strong or enduring at times. I don’t know about you, but personally speaking that gives me a great deal of hope. I know how much my own faith has a tendency to falter, yet I know enough about the Lord and His Word to understand that when He looks upon me, He sees me the same as Abraham. As Abraham was declared righteous by faith (Genesis 15:6), He sees in me only the righteousness of Jesus. If you have been born again by His Spirit, He sees you the same way as well. If you have yet to be born again, I pray you will go to the page on this site labeled ‘The Main Thing’ and come to understand how this can be possible for you today.

6 - So Isaac dwelt in Gerar.

Isaac could only honor the Lord for His provision by being obedient to Him. That only happens as each of us, as did Isaac, take Him at His Word.

7 - And the men of the place asked in regard to his wife. And he said, “She [is] my sister,” because he feared to say, “[She is] my wife, lest the men of the place would kill me on [account of] Rebecca,” for she was good in appearance.

8 - And it came to be when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked down from a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac [was] fondling Rebecca his wife.

The sins of the fathers do tend to be handed down to their sons, don’t they? As Abraham made the mistake of trying to cover the identity of his wife for his own safety (Genesis 20:13), Isaac does the same as they are trying to settle in Gerar. This particular tactic meets with about the same results in this case. No doubt there is a major showdown about to ensue.

9 - So Abimelech called for Isaac and said, “So in fact she [is] your wife! So why did you say, ‘She [is] my sister’?” And Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die on account of her’.”

Talk about hiding behind his wife, there is a lot to be said about a man who refuses to take responsibility as spiritual head of the household. A major portion of that duty is to protect one’s spouse from harm. In large part, Rebecca was put even further in harm’s way due largely to Isaac wanting to save his own skin.

10 - And Abimelech said, “What [is] this you have done to us? One of the people would have nearly lain with your wife and would have brought guilt upon us.”

11 - So Abimelech commanded all the people in saying, “He who touches this man or his wife will absolutely be put to death.”

As was the case with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca serve as an object lesson for those of us who at one time or another are inclined to not trust the sovereignty of God. He allows the king to find out their true relationship to one another in order for him to serve an edict that will protect them both. God then keeps His promise to bless in spite of themselves, as the next portion of our chapter will show.

12 - Then Isaac sowed in that land, and harvested in that year a hundredfold; and Yahweh blessed him.

13 - And the man became wealthy, and became even more wealthy, until when he became extremely wealthy.

14 - And he had an abundance of sheep, goats, and cattle, and many servants, [so] that the Philistines were jealous of him.

Wait a minute! Didn’t we read earlier that Isaac received the inheritance of his father? So why did he have to work to begin with? Yet this account tells that he did and the Lord blessed ad infinitum. The lesson here is that diligence reaps reward. Isaac didn’t have to work, but he chose to do so and as a result was the benefactor. Nothing is different today. Hard work paid off then and it pays off now.

15 - Now all the wells that the servants of his father had dug in the days of Abraham his father had been stopped up by the Philistines, and they filled them with earth.

16 - And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go from us, because you are much more powerful than we are.”

17 - So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the river valley of Gerar, and he dwelt there.

With prosperity comes contention. Abimelech’s communique to Isaac was that it didn’t matter how much he had, the king was on the throne and was there in the land prior to him. Therefore the king’s edict had Isaac moving on before he had it in his heart to possibly take over and rule the land himself. Such is the politics of power.

18 - And Isaac returned, and dug the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, that the Philistines had stopped up after the death of Abraham. And he called their names according to the names that his father called them.

Whether anyone liked it or not, Isaac’s first priority was to the state of his flocks and helping to preserve their well-being. Knowing water would be prevalent and that history would repeat itself, he set out to re-create the water supply originally established by his father in that place. Calling them by their original names was the result of his deciding to either honor his father, or referring to them by the names that had become familiar to him as well as his father as he tended to them during his son’s growing-up years.

19 - And the servants of Isaac dug in the river valley, and found there a well of running water.

There is some variety in how the words translated here as “running water” should be rendered. The KJV calls it “springing water,” but a good and very appropriate option here is “living water”; “living” from the Hebrew khahy. At this point I’ll allow Pastor Jon Courson to share his wonderful illustration straight from the pages of his own ministry in the struggling early days.

As a twenty-year-old teaching the Book of Jonah at a junior-high retreat, it hit me in the middle of my teaching that I didn’t care at all about the kids sitting before me. It was as if the Lord held up a mirror and I saw the ugliness of my soul. I saw that I wanted to teach—but that I didn’t care about those I was teaching. I realized, much to my dismay, that they were just a means for me to do what I wanted to do. Here I was, studying for the ministry, involved in teaching and serving—and yet I knew my heart was calloused and hard. At the end of the weekend, in deep despair, I hopped in my van and drove for a couple of days. I finally pulled in to the parking lot of the church I was attending—Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa. As I did, I saw a pastor I recognized from the Saturday night concerts I had attended there. His name was Tom Stipe.

“I know you’re a pastor here,” I said to him. “I’m just really sad.”

“Oh?” he said. “What’s up?”

I told him what was going on.

“That’s easy,” he said. “You need the [baptism of the] Holy Spirit.” He laid hands on me and prayed for me—and something happened to me. I felt a warm sensation in my inner being, and I began to worship the Lord in a way I had never done before.

That was a huge watershed for me, for I understood that, although previously I had the Holy Spirit inside of me, I lacked the overflow of the Spirit through me. And so I say to you, if you are in a valley spiritually—you’re in the perfect place to find the living water because you realize your own inadequacy. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (those who realize their need) for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

When, like Isaac, you say, “I want to be used to water the flock around me”—be it your family, your friends, your neighbors, a Sunday school class—the Lord will truly empower you in a fresh and dynamic way (Acts 1:8).4

20 - But the shepherds of Gerar quarreled with the shepherds of Isaac in saying, “The water belongs to us.” So he called the name of the well ‘Esek’, because they quarreled with him.

21 - Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that [one] also; so he called the name of it ‘Sitnah’.

Yet all is not smooth sailing once prosperity is found. In many ways, one’s problems are only beginning at that point. Several of you I’d be willing to bet can give some very poignant testimonies to that effect. ‘Esek’ means ‘contention’, while ‘Sitnah’ refers to ‘accusation’; probably referring to what Horst and Wanke term “combative accusation.” The accusations are flying back and forth between the two parties pretty much to the point of war breaking out.

It isn’t that Isaac was looking for quarrel or combat necessarily. In fact many times each of us can be minding our own business, it would seem, when along comes contention. When the two parties strive with each other long enough, then along comes accusation. Many times, well-meaning Christian people will refer to two factions as needing to have a ‘Come-to-Jesus’ meeting. Two things bring that about, and they’re the same two things to which these last two verses refer. In many cases there are no excuses for that kind of behavior among professing Christian people, but I realize too that sometimes it just can’t be helped. In the words of Matthew Henry, this instance is:
…often the lot even of the most quiet and peaceable men of this world; those that avoid striving, yet cannot avoid being striven with (Psalm 120:7). In this sense, Jeremiah was a
man of contention (Jeremiah 15:10), and Christ Himself, though He is the Prince of Peace.5

22 - So he moved from there and dug another well, but they did not quarrel over it. And he called the name of it ‘Rehoboth’, for he said, “Because now Yahweh has enlarged our territory, and we shall become many in the land.”

23 - And he went up from there to Beer-sheba.

I like the song that says, “God can make a way where there seems to be no way.” That’s what I think of when I am reading these two verses. Is it the Lord’s desire for us to have quarreling and factions among us? No, but we see from verses such as these that He can and will use them to bring us to the place He believes we need to be. It was Yahweh’s desire to enlarge Isaac’s territory as well as His intention to bring him to another particular place. Let’s move on to find out where and perhaps why.

24 - And Yahweh appeared to him the same night, and said, “I [am] Elohe of Abraham your father. Do not fear, for I [am] with you, and I will bless you, and make your offspring many because of Abraham my servant.”

25 - So he built there an altar and called upon the name of Yahweh, and he pitched there a tent; and there the servants of Isaac dug a well.

So Isaac once again proves himself to be a man that hears the Word of the Lord and believes with his life. When “Elohe” speaks, Isaac listens. He doesn’t just hear, he becomes a doer of the Word (James 1:22). If we pay close attention to the monologue, we see where God is reminding him of His relationship to his father. When we consider that Abraham is closer to God at this point than he could ever be were he still on earth, this becomes extremely significant in the life and times of Isaac. We know this is so from the passage, for Isaac worships the Lord by building an altar to Him. We might say Isaac’s life was ‘altared’ by this experience.

26 - Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzath his very good friend, and Phicol, leader of his army.

27 - And Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and you have sent me away from you?”

28 - And they said, “We certainly see that Yahweh has been with you, so we said, ‘Now there should be an oath between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you,

29 - ‘So that you will not do evil to us, since we have not done harm to you, and since we have only done good to you, and we have sent you away in peace. You are now being blessed of Yahweh.’”

When God does a work, He does it to where even a man’s enemies cannot help but observe it is of the Lord. Notice their familiarity with the name ‘Yahweh’, the personal name of God. It was obvious to each of them that this Isaac maintained a personal relationship with the God of the universe. When others notice the same in each of us, talk about an open door for sharing the Gospel!

30 - Then he made for them a feast, and they ate and drank.

31 - And they rose early in the morning, and they swore each man to his brother; then Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

As above when I was reminded of a song lyric, at this juncture I am reminded of a verse of scripture. Proverbs 16:7 tells us, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” As with practically all the rest of the Word of God, it was true then and it can be true today. All we need do is commit our ways to be pleasing to the Lord and let Him be concerned with the rest.

32 - Now it came to be on the same day, that the servants of Isaac came and told him on account of the well that they had dug. And they said to him, “We have found water.”

33 - And he called it ‘Sheba’; therefore the name of the city [is] Beer-sheba up to this day.

And the Lord pours out His blessing (pun possibly intended) on Isaac once more, meaning further and greater provision on he, his family, and his flocks.

34 - When Esau became forty years old, then he took to wife Judith, the daughter of Beeri of Heth, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon of Heth.

35 - And they were bitterness of spirit to Isaac and Rebecca.

Parents who were so concerned with desiring God’s best before they were husband-and-wife, much less parents, are now suffering greatly at the decision of their son to unite in marriage with the daughters of Heth. Isaac and Rebecca’s hearts were breaking that their son’s choice of pagan women, as Barnes puts it, “manifested his tolerance at least of the carnal, and his indifference to the spiritual.” No wonder the writer of Hebrews speaks of Esau as a “fornicator” and “a profane man” (Hebrews 12:16). Once we hit the slippery slope, spiritually speaking, it’s a long way down. Someone will respond by saying something to the effect of, “Well maybe so, but it’s hurting no one but me.” Perhaps Esau thought the same thing, yet those who loved him most grieved the most over his decision.

Someone once said, “Be careful who you marry and who you sign on the dotted line with.” The failure of those to adhere to such wisdom can only anticipate danger and heartbreak in the days and years ahead. Seek the Lord's wisdom and never be disappointed.


1Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record, 401-402.

2Ibid, 408.

3David Guzik quoted from

4Jon Courson, Jon Courson's Application Commentary, Volume One: Genesis-Job
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005), 128.

5Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and 
    Unabridged in One Volume
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991), 60.