Genesis 26: Like Father, Like Son

Just a reminder, you still have time to submit your Abraham Haiku and you may win an Abraham-themed prize!

I am using the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible for my study. I like it because it finds a happy medium between word-for-word translation and idea translation. But so far, my favorite thing about the NRSV is the following verse from Genesis 26. Compare and contrast with the NIV:

  • NIV: Abimelech king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah
  • NRSV: King Abimelech of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw him fondling his wife Rebekah.

And just for fun let’s have a look at MY translation:

  • King Abimelech looked out of the window and saw Isaac totally second-basing it with his wife Rebekah.

Yes, I think I have a future as a Bible Translator.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

In many ways, this chapter was Isaac reliving Abraham’s greatest hits. I made a list of all the things that the both of them do:

  1. Experience a famine
  2. Get a promise and huge blessing from God
  3. Lie that their wives are actually their sisters
  4. Get caught in said lie
  5. Piss Abimelech off with said lie
  6. Gain material prosperity
  7. Get in a scuffle with Abimelech’s people about well ownership
  8. Get a repeat of the promise from God
  9. Make a covenant with Abimelech
  10. Have a son who gets married

You might look at this as another case of history repeating itself. No progress has been made. All of this has happened before and all of it will happen again (10 points if you can name that reference!).

I choose to look at it a different way.

When everything seems like it is repeating, when we feel caught in a feedback loop making the same mistakes as those who came before us, God is still moving his promise forward.

He is still at work. He is still holding up his end of the bargain.

That is a difficult thing to remember and an important thing to remember. What are places you feel stuck in a cycle of failure? How does this story give you hope?

Well, well, well . . . well, well

A good chunk of chapter 26 is devoted to the time-honored schoolyard tradition of digging holes and filling them up . . . and then digging them again. We have a new record for the amount of shout-outs wells get in a single chapter: seven!

It seems Isaac is having a little trouble finding a spot on the giant sandbox where the other kids won’t wreck his stuff. And it is not until he finds a place where people leave him alone that he knows “the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

Land and Peace. Has anything really changed?

And the award goes to . . .

I gave out some awards a few posts back to people with awesome names. I would like to continue the proud tradition of awarding arbitrary accomplishment (the AAA if you will) and give out another one.

Today, AAA goes to Abimelech. I grant him the title:

Abimelech: Defender of Marriage!

That guy seems more committed to marriage than Abraham and Isaac combined! Bravo sir. Bravo.

Enjoy Resurrection Sunday tomorrow! See you all on Monday! What are you doing to celebrate resurrection? 


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