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C O U R S E 
The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future
Dr. Jacob L. Wright, Emory University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Genesis Chapter 26: Isaac, Abimelek and Rebekah
Notes taken on April 15, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
Genesis chapter 26
the story of Isaac
the son of Abraham, the father of Jacob
the story tells of Isaac living in the Philistine land of Gerar
to the west of Judah
a foreign territory
Isaac has a very attractive wife named Rebekah
one day his neighbors come and ask him about Rebekah
instead of telling them the truth that she is his wife, says she is his sister
he lies because he fears that the Philistine men living in Gerar would kill him and take his wife
one day Abimelek, king of the Philistines, looks out his window and sees Isaac caressing Rebekah
the way Isaac is carrying on with Rebekah is not what one would expect from a brother
there's a play on the words Isaac (Yitzchak) and playing/fondling (metzachek)
the king demands an explanation
Isaac says he thought he might die because of her
the king suggests that if one of his men had slept with Isaac's wife, then his whole domain would have been guilty and vulnerable to some divine retribution
so the king issues a decree: whoever touches Isaac or his wife shall be put to death
Isaac then prospers among the Philistines
becomes too wealthy
the king finally asks him to move on
everywhere Isaac goes, he has enviable good fortune
discovers water sources
provokes jealousy
Isaac finally ends up in the south in the arid region of Beersheba
King Abimelek comes to visit him
Isaac expect hostility from him
Abimelek actually blesses him
Isaac invites him to a feast
they exchange oaths of peace
later Isaac and his men find a water source
the name of a well is "beer" and so Isaac names the place "Beersheba" which is a play on the words referring to the treaty that he had just made with Abimelek
significance of this story
we can imagine the descendants of Isaac would have taken great pride in retelling this
the mother of our nation's history was so beautiful that they would have killed someone if anyone in the kingdom touched her
political agenda
this region, Beersheba, belongs to us
the history of this town goes back a long way
even the king himself came to this town to pay tribute to our ancestor and made an oath with him
this well that was struck on that same day
is shows that Isaac's clan has a claim to this territory