Genesis 26:13
and he became richer and richer, until he was exceedingly wealthy.
Line Upon Line, in God's TeachingR.A. Redford Genesis 26

Thus Esau despised his birthright. Strange and sad that truths so important as those bearing on eternal life, even where believed, often exercise so slight influence. Yet so it is. How many like to hear the gospel in its fullness, and to be warned against neglecting it, yet in their lives show little of its power (Ezekiel 33:32). How many live, content to know truth, forgetting that all our daily life tells for good or ill on our eternal life, and that opportunities are passing away. How many, believing that in every being there is a soul to be saved or lost, can yet see multitudes living in ungodliness without effort or even prayer for their recovery (cf. Luke 19:41). Is not the spirit of Esau in these? He is called (Hebrews 12:16) a "profane person." Yet no crime or great fault is laid to his charge. There is an attractiveness in his character. We see in him an impulsive, thoughtless man; not what would be called a bad son; his father's favorite; having some regard to his parent's wishes (Genesis 28:8, 9); but swayed by passing things, and without self-denial. Hungry and weary with the chase, he craved the food he saw (cf. Matthew 4:3). But the price? His birthright, the claim to a special benediction, the domestic priesthood (cf. Exodus 22:29), were as nothing. He did not realize their value (cf. Hebrews 11:1). The present was everything (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32). The pleasant, genial, headlong man is pronounced "profane." Observe -

I. THE GRADUAL EFFECT OF SELF-INDULGENCE (cf. Matthew 19:24). The birthright despised not through sudden temptation or any marked step of sin, but by worldly interests taking up the thoughts. Customs and maxims of the world tend to neglecting the birthright (cf. Matthew 6:83). This is no ideal danger. No sharp line to tell when danger begins. Things perfectly allowable, even laudable, may choke spiritual life. Even in good work the mind may be so engrossed in the work itself that communion with God fades. There is need of habitual self-denial (John 6:38); of keeping guard over the tendencies of daily life; of definite aims, not passing wishes; of making personal communion with God an essential part of each day's work.

II. THE DEADENING EFFECT IN RELATION TO REPENTANCE. "Time enough, is a fatal mistake (Acts 24:25; 2 Corinthians 6:2). So far as we know Esau never repented. Even when Jacob received the blessing he was sorry, but there was no real change, no confession of error. Self was still the ruling power.

III. THE CALL TO CONSIDER OUR BIRTHRIGHT (Romans 8:17; 1 John 3:2). Not merely a future blessing. Thinking of it thus leads to its being left out of view. Now there is reconciliation, peace, spirit of adoption, the Spirit's witness in our hearts, freedom of access in prayer, and promises to be realized in growing likeness to Christ and communion with him. Few would deliberately postpone to the end of life the claiming their birthright and making sure of it, the work of repentance and faith, and the casting away what has hindered. But many without set purpose do delay. Each time the call is put away is a victory for the tempter. - M.

Isaac sowed .... and the Lord blessed him.
In this narrative it is Isaac the prosperous man who comes to view. Examine the sources and circumstances of his remarkable, unequalled prosperity.

I. ISAAC HAD A GOOD FATHER. Happy the son whose father was chosen partner with God in a divine covenant, and twice blessed the son whose father had this testimony that he pleased God in the fulfilment of such a covenant, Not only great favour rests upon the head of such a father, but the richest blessings are pledged to his posterity.

II. ISAAC HAD TRAITS OF HIS OWN TO WHICH HIS PROSPERITY WAS LARGELY INDEBTED. His very name indicates that he was "a son of laughter and joy." True to his name, his nature was of the sunny and hopeful type. The value of this disposition in the successful conduct of life is simply incalculable. It is more than capital, for capital will perish. It is more than friends, for friends die. It is more than success, for it outlives success. When everything is gone, the man who has hope has all he needs. Thus Isaac went from well to well. He was envied at Gerar, and he moved to Esek. Esek was captured by the enemy. He hopefully journeyed to Sitnah, and dug again. But Sitnah was claimed. Should he give up now? No; all these choked wells were leading him to the broader valleys of Rehoboth, where was "room" — room for his still multiplying flocks and growing wealth.

III. The third secret of Isaac's prosperity was HIS EXTREME PEACEABLENESS. The spirit of the beatitudes dwelt in this man more than in any other man of his times.

IV. But there remains a fourth and final element to be noticed in the prosperity of Isaac. I have said that he had a good father behind him, a brave heart within him, a good will to men about him; but he put the crown upon his success by owning and seeking THE FAVOUR OF GOD ABOVE HIM.

(J. B. Clark.)

I. HIS PROSPERITY WAS EVIDENTLY DUE TO THE DIVINE BLESSING. His prosperity was wonderful. "Thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold," is the range of fertility in that land. Thus the yield of Isaac's land reaches the highest degree of productiveness.

1. Such was the position of the sacred historian. He who relates this story, after describing the prosperity of this man, adds, "And the Lord blessed him" (ver. 12).

2. It was evident to Isaac himself. His prosperity, the rest he enjoyed from his enemies, and room to enlarge in, he ascribed all to God (ver. 22).

3. It was evident to his enemies. They were constrained to acknowledge that God was with him.

II. HIS PROSPERITY MADE HIM A MARK FOR ENVY. We are told that "the Philistines envied him." His prosperity was not without alloy. Every blessing of this world is accompanied by some disadvantage or evil. We have to pay a price for every earthly good.

III. HIS PROSPERITY SERVED TO DEVELOP THE VIRTUES OF HIS CHARACTER. Bacon has said that " Prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue." And human experience shows that such are the usual effects of "these conditions. But in the case of Isaac there were virtues that shined out in his prosperity.

1. The virtue of patience. The Philistines carried their envy into action. They stopped up the wells which he had inherited from his father (ver. 15). But he met all this envy by patience. When persecuted in one place he fled to another. He removed from well to well (vers. 18-22).(1) His patience was victorious. It won upon his enemies. The Philistines were at length wearied out. They came round, and asked for a treaty (vers. 28-30).(2) His patience won the Divine approval. The Lord appeared to him and renewed the old promises. He was assured of perpetual protection and guidance.

2. The virtue of forgiveness. He had suffered a grievous wrong, but he forgave it on the entreaty of Abimelech. This was not the easy virtue of a man who has no strong feelings and who is soon won over. It was principle, and not a weak feeling, that made him forgive.

3. The virtue of reverence. He set up an altar for the worship of God, and pitched his tent there as if he would dwell in the Lord's house (ver. 25). He bears a public testimony to the obligation of religion. Many a man forgets God with increasing prosperity, but it was not so with Isaac. With him it served to deepen the feeling of reverence and to strengthen every duty of piety.

(T. H. Leale.)


1. He was active and enterprising (vers. 12, 13).

2. His industry and enterprise under the blessing of God resulted in immense wealth.


1. As tried by society (vers. 14, 16, 19-21).

2. His bearing under these trials.(1) He bore envy and strife and hatred with perfect patience.(2) He separated himself from those around him rather than contend with them.(3) He recognized God's hand in all (ver. 22).(4) This example of Isaac, both in business and in society, is worthy of all commendation and imitation.


1. He was honoured with personal communications from God (ver. 24).(1) This proves that his conduct was approved by God.(2) This approval signified God's encouragement to him in view of future trials.

2. Isaac evinced his appreciation of these Divine promises and privileges by a renewed consecration of himself to God (ver. 25).Lessons:

1. Prosperity is as real a test of faith as adversity.

2. The test of prosperity is more severe than that of adversity.

3. Peace has ever been the choice of true believers.

4. Such a choice has ever met with the Divine approval.

5. Let Isaac's example be ours — in business, industrious and enterprizing; in society, peace-loving and yielding; in religion, ever prepared for communion with God, and ever yielding ourselves in consecration to God.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

I. ISAAC'S PATIENCE. An example of those who endure, instead of murmuring, rebelling, or despairing.


1. God directed Isaac.

2. God exhorted Isaac.

3. God encouraged Isaac.


1. "The man waxed great." He grew very prosperous, and his prosperity was continuous.

2. "The Lord blessed him." God's blessing makes rich, whether it be in temporal or in spiritual things.

3. The Lord made room for him (ver. 22).

4. The Lord made his enemies to be at peace with him.

(W. S. Smith, B. D.)

Abimelech, Ahuzzath, Bashemath, Basmath, Beeri, Elon, Esau, Isaac, Judith, Phichol, Rebekah
Beersheba, Egypt, Esek, Gerar, Rehoboth, Shibah, Sitnah, Valley of Gerar
Becoming, Continually, Continued, Forward, Gained, Greater, Grew, Grow, Increasing, Rich, Richer, Till, Waxed, Wealth, Wealthy
1. Isaac, because of famine, sojourns in Gerar, and the Lord blesses him.
7. He is reproved by Abimelech for denying his wife.
12. He grows rich, and the Philistines envy his prosperity.
18. He digs wells.
23. God appears to him at Beersheba, and blesses him;
26. and Abimelech makes a covenant with him.
34. Esau's wives.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 26:1-14

     5503   rich, the

Genesis 26:12-13

     8701   affluence
     8780   materialism, and sin

Genesis 26:12-14

     8733   envy

Genesis 26:12-22

     4296   wells

The First Apostle of Peace at any Price
'Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"Thou Art Now the Blessed of the Lord. "
"Thou art now the blessed of the Lord."--Genesis 26:29. THESE words truly describe the position of many whom I address at this time. There are hundreds here upon whom my eye can rest, and to any one of whom I might point with this finger, or rather, to whom I might extend this hand, to give a hearty shake, and say, "Thou art now the blessed of the Lord." I need not say it in the same spirit, nor for the same reason, that the Philistines did. They had behaved basely towards Isaac, and now that he
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

There are few subjects on which the Lord's own people are more astray than on the subject of giving. They profess to take the Bible as their own rule of faith and practice, and yet in the matter of Christian finance, the vast majority have utterly ignored its plain teachings and have tried every substitute the carnal mind could devise; therefore it is no wonder that the majority of Christian enterprises in the world today are handicapped and crippled through the lack of funds. Is our giving to be
Arthur W. Pink—Tithing

Whether Every Lie is a Sin?
Objection 1: It seems that not every lie is a sin. For it is evident that the evangelists did not sin in the writing of the Gospel. Yet they seem to have told something false: since their accounts of the words of Christ and of others often differ from one another: wherefore seemingly one of them must have given an untrue account. Therefore not every lie is a sin. Objection 2: Further, no one is rewarded by God for sin. But the midwives of Egypt were rewarded by God for a lie, for it is stated that
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The conduct of Father Abraham, although not approved of by Inspiration, but simply recorded (Gen. xxvi. 7), gave early Christians an opinion that the wicked may be justly foiled, by equivocation and deception, for the preservation of innocence or the life of the innocent. In such case the person deceived, they might argue, is not injured, but benefited (Gen. xxvi. 10), being saved from committing violence and murder. The Corinthian maiden was accustomed to be veiled (as Tertullian intimates), and
Hippolytus—The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus

An Obscured vision
(Preached at the opening of the Winona Lake Bible Conference.) TEXT: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."--Proverbs 29:18. It is not altogether an easy matter to secure a text for such an occasion as this; not because the texts are so few in number but rather because they are so many, for one has only to turn over the pages of the Bible in the most casual way to find them facing him at every reading. Feeling the need of advice for such a time as this, I asked a number of my friends who
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.
God's Darling, Psalms 8:5-8.--the plan for the new man--the Hebrew picture by itself--difference between God's plan and actual events--one purpose through breaking plans--the original plan--a starting point--getting inside. Fastening a Tether inside: the longest way around--the pedigree--the start. First Touches on the Canvas: the first touch, Genesis 3:15.--three groups of prediction--first group: to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3; to Isaac, Genesis 26:1-5; to Jacob, Genesis 28:10-15; through Jacob,
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

And to Holy David Indeed it Might More Justly be Said...
22. And to holy David indeed it might more justly be said, that he ought not to have been angry; no, not with one however ungrateful and rendering evil for good; yet if, as man, anger did steal over him, he ought not to have let it so prevail, that he should swear to do a thing which either by giving way to his rage he should do, or by breaking his oath leave undone. But to the other, set as he was amid the libidinous frenzy of the Sodomites, who would dare to say, "Although thy guests in thine own
St. Augustine—Against Lying

Covenanting Performed in Former Ages with Approbation from Above.
That the Lord gave special token of his approbation of the exercise of Covenanting, it belongs to this place to show. His approval of the duty was seen when he unfolded the promises of the Everlasting Covenant to his people, while they endeavoured to perform it; and his approval thereof is continually seen in his fulfilment to them of these promises. The special manifestations of his regard, made to them while attending to the service before him, belonged to one or other, or both, of those exhibitions
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Jesus Sets Out from Judæa for Galilee.
Subdivision B. At Jacob's Well, and at Sychar. ^D John IV. 5-42. ^d 5 So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 and Jacob's well was there. [Commentators long made the mistake of supposing that Shechem, now called Nablous, was the town here called Sychar. Sheckem lies a mile and a half west of Jacob's well, while the real Sychar, now called 'Askar, lies scarcely half a mile north of the well. It was a small town, loosely called
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Appendix ii. Philo of Alexandria and Rabbinic Theology.
(Ad. vol. i. p. 42, note 4.) In comparing the allegorical Canons of Philo with those of Jewish traditionalism, we think first of all of the seven exegetical canons which are ascribed to Hillel. These bear chiefly the character of logical deductions, and as such were largely applied in the Halakhah. These seven canons were next expanded by R. Ishmael (in the first century) into thirteen, by the analysis of one of them (the 5th) into six, and the addition of this sound exegetical rule, that where two
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Sundry Sharp Reproofs
This doctrine draws up a charge against several sorts: 1 Those that think themselves good Christians, yet have not learned this art of holy mourning. Luther calls mourning a rare herb'. Men have tears to shed for other things, but have none to spare for their sins. There are many murmurers, but few mourners. Most are like the stony ground which lacked moisture' (Luke 8:6). We have many cry out of hard times, but they are not sensible of hard hearts. Hot and dry is the worst temper of the body. Sure
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Section Chap. I. -iii.
The question which here above all engages our attention, and requires to be answered, is this: Whether that which is reported in these chapters did, or did not, actually and outwardly take place. The history of the inquiries connected with this question is found most fully in Marckius's "Diatribe de uxore fornicationum," Leyden, 1696, reprinted in the Commentary on the Minor Prophets by the same author. The various views may be divided into three classes. 1. It is maintained by very many interpreters,
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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