Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 8

Bible text(s)

Isaac Lives at Gerar

1There was another famine in the land besides the earlier one during the time of Abraham. Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, at Gerar. 2The LORD had appeared to Isaac and had said, “Do not go to Egypt; stay in this land, where I tell you to stay. 3Live here, and I will be with you and bless you. I am going to give all this territory to you and to your descendants. I will keep the promise I made to your father Abraham. 4I will give you as many descendants as there are stars in the sky, and I will give them all this territory. All the nations will ask me to bless them as I have blessed your descendants. 5I will bless you, because Abraham obeyed me and kept all my laws and commands.”

6So Isaac lived at Gerar. 7When the men there asked about his wife, he said that she was his sister. He would not admit that she was his wife, because he was afraid that the men there would kill him to get Rebecca, who was very beautiful. 8When Isaac had been there for some time, King Abimelech looked down from his window and saw Isaac and Rebecca making love. 9Abimelech sent for Isaac and said, “So she is your wife! Why did you say she was your sister?”

He answered, “I thought I would be killed if I said she was my wife.”

10“What have you done to us?” Abimelech said. “One of my men might easily have slept with your wife, and you would have been responsible for our guilt.” 11Abimelech warned all the people: “Anyone who ill-treats this man or his wife will be put to death.”

12Isaac sowed seed in that land, and that year he harvested a hundred times as much as he had sown, because the LORD blessed him. 13He continued to prosper and became a very rich man. 14Because he had many herds of sheep and cattle and many servants, the Philistines were jealous of him. 15So they filled in all the wells which the servants of his father Abraham had dug while Abraham was alive.

16Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Leave our country. You have become more powerful than we are.” 17So Isaac left and set up his camp in the Valley of Gerar, where he stayed for some time. 18He dug once again the wells which had been dug during the time of Abraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham's death. Isaac gave the wells the same names that his father had given them.

19Isaac's servants dug a well in the valley and found water. 20The shepherds of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac's shepherds and said, “This water belongs to us.” So Isaac named the well “Quarrel”.

21Isaac's servants dug another well, and there was a quarrel about that one also, so he named it “Enmity”. 22He moved away from there and dug another well. There was no dispute about this one, so he named it “Freedom”. He said, “Now the LORD has given us freedom to live in the land, and we will be prosperous here.”

23Isaac left and went to Beersheba. 24That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid; I am with you. I will bless you and give you many descendants because of my promise to my servant Abraham.” 25Isaac built an altar there and worshipped the LORD. Then he set up his camp there, and his servants dug another well.

The Agreement between Isaac and Abimelech

26Abimelech came from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army to see Isaac. 27So Isaac asked, “Why have you now come to see me, when you were so unfriendly to me before and made me leave your country?”

28They answered, “Now we know that the LORD is with you, and we think that there should be a solemn agreement between us. We want you to promise 29that you will not harm us, just as we did not harm you. We were kind to you and let you leave peacefully. Now it is clear that the LORD has blessed you.” 30Isaac prepared a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31Early next morning each man made his promise and sealed it with a vow. Isaac said goodbye to them, and they parted as friends.

32On that day Isaac's servants came and told him about the well which they had dug. They said, “We have found water.” 33He named the well “Vow”. That is how the city of Beersheba got its name.

Esau's Foreign Wives

34When Esau was forty years old, he married two Hittite women, Judith the daughter of Beeri, and Basemath the daughter of Elon. 35They made life miserable for Isaac and Rebecca.

Isaac Blesses Jacob

1Isaac was now old and had become blind. He sent for his elder son Esau and said to him, “My son!”

“Yes,” he answered.

2Isaac said, “You see that I am old and may die soon. 3Take your bow and arrows, go out into the country, and kill an animal for me. 4Cook me some of that tasty food that I like, and bring it to me. After I have eaten it, I will give you my final blessing before I die.”

5While Isaac was talking to Esau, Rebecca was listening. So when Esau went out to hunt, 6she said to Jacob, “I have just heard your father say to Esau, 7‘Bring me an animal and cook it for me. After I have eaten it, I will give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.’ 8Now, my son,” Rebecca continued, “listen to me and do what I say. 9Go to the flock and pick out two fat young goats, so that I can cook them and make some of that food your father likes so much. 10You can take it to him to eat, and he will give you his blessing before he dies.”

11But Jacob said to his mother, “You know that Esau is a hairy man, but I have smooth skin. 12Perhaps my father will touch me and find out that I am deceiving him; in this way I will bring a curse on myself instead of a blessing.”

13His mother answered, “Let any curse against you fall on me, my son; just do as I say, and go and get the goats for me.” 14So he went to get them and brought them to her, and she cooked the kind of food that his father liked. 15Then she took Esau's best clothes, which she kept in the house, and put them on Jacob. 16She put the skins of the goats on his arms and on the hairless part of his neck. 17She handed him the tasty food, together with the bread she had baked.

18Then Jacob went to his father and said, “Father!”

“Yes,” he answered. “Which of my sons are you?”

19Jacob answered, “I am your elder son Esau; I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of the meat that I have brought you, so that you can give me your blessing.”

20Isaac said, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

Jacob answered, “The LORD your God helped me to find it.”

21Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come closer so that I can touch you. Are you really Esau?” 22Jacob moved closer to his father, who felt him and said, “Your voice sounds like Jacob's voice, but your arms feel like Esau's arms.” 23He did not recognize Jacob, because his arms were hairy like Esau's. He was about to give him his blessing, 24but asked again, “Are you really Esau?”

“I am,” he answered.

25Isaac said, “Bring me some of the meat. After I have eaten it, I will give you my blessing.” Jacob brought it to him, and he also brought him some wine to drink. 26Then his father said to him, “Come closer and kiss me, my son.” 27As he came up to kiss him, Isaac smelt his clothes — so he gave him his blessing. He said, “The pleasant smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed. 28May God give you dew from heaven and make your fields fertile! May he give you plenty of corn and wine! 29May nations be your servants, and may peoples bow down before you. May you rule over all your relatives, and may your mother's descendants bow down before you. May those who curse you be cursed, and may those who bless you be blessed.”

Esau Begs for Isaac's Blessing

30Isaac finished giving his blessing, and as soon as Jacob left, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31He also cooked some tasty food and took it to his father. He said, “Please, father, sit up and eat some of the meat that I have brought you, so that you can give me your blessing.”

32“Who are you?” Isaac asked.

“Your elder son Esau,” he answered.

33Isaac began to tremble and shake all over, and he asked, “Who was it, then, who killed an animal and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came. I gave him my final blessing, and so it is his for ever.”

34When Esau heard this, he cried out loudly and bitterly and said, “Give me your blessing also, father!”

35Isaac answered, “Your brother came and deceived me. He has taken away your blessing.”

36Esau said, “This is the second time that he has cheated me. No wonder his name is Jacob. He took my rights as the firstborn son, and now he has taken away my blessing. Haven't you saved a blessing for me?”

37Isaac answered, “I have already made him master over you, and I have made all his relatives his slaves. I have given him corn and wine. Now there is nothing that I can do for you, my son!”

38Esau continued to plead with his father: “Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me too, father!” He began to cry.

39Then Isaac said to him,

“No dew from heaven for you,

No fertile fields for you.

40You will live by your sword,

But be your brother's slave.

Yet when you rebel,

You will break away from his control.”

41Esau hated Jacob, because his father had given Jacob the blessing. He thought, “The time to mourn my father's death is near; then I will kill Jacob.”

42But when Rebecca heard about Esau's plan, she sent for Jacob and said, “Listen, your brother Esau is planning to get even with you and kill you. 43Now, my son, do what I say. Go at once to my brother Laban in Haran, 44and stay with him for a while, until your brother's anger cools down 45and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send someone to bring you back. Why should I lose both my sons on the same day?”

Isaac Sends Jacob to Laban

46Rebecca said to Isaac, “I am sick and tired of Esau's foreign wives. If Jacob also marries one of these Hittite women, I might as well die.”

1Isaac called Jacob, greeted him, and said to him, “Don't marry a Canaanite woman. 2Go instead to Mesopotamia, to the home of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry one of the young women there, one of your uncle Laban's daughters. 3May Almighty God bless your marriage and give you many children, so that you will become the father of many nations! 4May he bless you and your descendants as he blessed Abraham, and may you take possession of this land, in which you have lived and which God gave to Abraham!” 5Isaac sent Jacob away to Mesopotamia, to Laban, who was the son of Bethuel the Aramean and the brother of Rebecca, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Esau Takes Another Wife

6Esau learnt that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Mesopotamia to find a wife. He also learnt that when Isaac blessed him, he commanded him not to marry a Canaanite woman. 7He found out that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Mesopotamia. 8Esau then understood that his father Isaac did not approve of Canaanite women. 9So he went to Ishmael son of Abraham and married his daughter Mahalath, who was the sister of Nebaioth.

Jacob's Dream at Bethel

10Jacob left Beersheba and started towards Haran. 11At sunset he came to a holy place and camped there. He lay down to sleep, resting his head on a stone. 12He dreamt that he saw a stairway reaching from earth to heaven, with angels going up and coming down on it. 13And there was the LORD standing beside him. “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham and Isaac,” he said. “I will give to you and to your descendants this land on which you are lying. 14They will be as numerous as the specks of dust on the earth. They will extend their territory in all directions, and through you and your descendants I will bless all the nations. 15Remember, I will be with you and protect you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done all that I have promised you.”

16Jacob woke up and said, “The LORD is here! He is in this place, and I didn't know it!” 17He was afraid and said, “What a terrifying place this is! It must be the house of God; it must be the gate that opens into heaven.”

18Jacob got up early next morning, took the stone that was under his head, and set it up as a memorial. Then he poured olive oil on it to dedicate it to God. 19He named the place Bethel. (The town there was once known as Luz.) 20Then Jacob made a vow to the LORD: “If you will be with me and protect me on the journey I am making and give me food and clothing, 21and if I return safely to my father's home, then you will be my God. 22This memorial stone which I have set up will be the place where you are worshipped, and I will give you a tenth of everything you give me.”

Jacob Arrives at Laban's Home

1Jacob continued on his way and went towards the land of the East. 2Suddenly he came upon a well out in the fields with three flocks of sheep lying round it. The flocks were watered from this well, which had a large stone over the opening. 3Whenever all the flocks came together there, the shepherds would roll the stone back and water them. Then they would put the stone back in place.

4Jacob asked the shepherds, “My friends, where are you from?”

“From Haran,” they answered.

5He asked, “Do you know Laban, grandson of Nahor?”

“Yes, we do,” they answered.

6“Is he well?” he asked.

“He is well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock.”

7Jacob said, “Since it is still broad daylight and not yet time to bring the flocks in, why don't you water them and take them back to pasture?”

8They answered, “We can't do that until all the flocks are here and the stone has been rolled back; then we will water the flocks.”

9While Jacob was still talking to them, Rachel arrived with the flock. 10When Jacob saw Rachel with his uncle Laban's flock, he went to the well, rolled the stone back, and watered the sheep. 11Then he kissed her and began to cry for joy. 12He told her, “I am your father's relative, the son of Rebecca.”

She ran to tell her father; 13and when he heard the news about his nephew Jacob, he ran to meet him, hugged him and kissed him, and brought him into the house. When Jacob told Laban everything that had happened, 14Laban said, “Yes, indeed, you are my own flesh and blood.” Jacob stayed there a whole month.

Jacob Serves Laban for Rachel and Leah

15Laban said to Jacob, “You shouldn't work for me for nothing just because you are my relative. How much pay do you want?” 16Laban had two daughters; the elder was named Leah, and the younger Rachel. 17Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful.

18Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he said, “I will work seven years for you, if you will let me marry Rachel.”

19Laban answered, “I would rather give her to you than to anyone else; stay here with me.” 20Jacob worked seven years so that he could have Rachel, and the time seemed like only a few days to him, because he loved her.

21Then Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up; let me marry your daughter.” 22So Laban gave a wedding feast and invited everyone. 23But that night, instead of Rachel, he took Leah to Jacob, and Jacob had intercourse with her. 24(Laban gave his slave woman Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.) 25Not until the next morning did Jacob discover that it was Leah. He went to Laban and said, “Why did you do this to me? I worked to get Rachel. Why have you tricked me?”

26Laban answered, “It is not the custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the elder. 27Wait until the week's marriage celebrations are over, and I will give you Rachel, if you will work for me another seven years.”

28Jacob agreed, and when the week of marriage celebrations was over, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. 29(Laban gave his slave woman Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) 30Jacob had intercourse with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Then he worked for Laban another seven years.

Genesis 26:1-29:30GNBOpen in Bible reader
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