Welling up

Isaac farmed a piece of land in that country, reaping a hundredfold the very same year. His sheep and livestock were so great in number, and his household had multiplied such that the Philistines were once again jealous of a foreigner’s wealth and success. (In the days of Abraham, they had clogged all the wells dug by his father’s servants to deter him from success.)

So Abimelech said, “You’re too mighty. You have to leave.”

Isaac left Gerar proper and settled in the valley. Isaac dug out the wells that had been filled in by the Philistines in his father’s day, and he restored the names his father had given them.

Isaac’s servants discovered a particular well in the valley, and the shepherds contested its ownership. He named the well Esek, “Strife.” Isaac’s servants dug another well, and again the local herders fought with him. He named that one Sitnah, “Hatred.”

Finally, Isaac dug another one that wasn’t such a point of contention. “Now this area is big enough for the both of us,” he said. “We’ll be prosperous here.” He called the well Rehoboth, “Wide, Open.”

After this, he went to Beersheeba, where his father and Abimelech had made their promise to one another. The first night he arrived there, God appeared to him, saying, “I’m the God of your father. Don’t be afraid because I’m with you, and I’ll bless you. I’ll make your descendants multiply for your father’s sake.”

Isaac built an altar, called on the name of God, and settled there. Isaac’s servants dug a well at that spot.

Abimelech paid Isaac a visit with his adviser Ahuzzath and his army commander Phicol.

“Why are you here?” Isaac asked. “You’ve made it clear you hate me by sending me away.”

Abimelech said, “It’s obvious that God is with you, so let’s promise we won’t harm each other in any way. We’ve never touched you, and we sent you away in peace.”

Isaac prepared a great feast that night, and they dined. In the morning the king and his entourage left in peace. That same day, Isaac’s servants reported that they found water while digging yet another well.

Isaac called it Shibah, “Oath,” and that city was named Beersheba as well.

Inspiration: Genesis 26

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