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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Genesis 26



Verses 20-22

Genesis 26:20-22, Genesis 26:33

These four names are the names of four wells of springing water, dug in a valley, to feed families and flocks. Esek means strife; Sitnah, hatred; Rehoboth, room; and Shebah, oath. Have you not been at them all?

I. When you began life you found people trying to put you down by saying that the well was theirs, and that you were crowding yourself upon their grounds. If they did not try to put you down, you tried to put them down. The well is there in life,—strife, contention, debate,—you must find it in your life somewhere.

II. If you drive people off the ground, they may strive with you no more. They will hate you: your name will be the signal for abuse. First you are opposed, then you are hated, so you call it Sitnah—hatred—the second well. Human nature is so far astray that it tends to hatred in all men's lives; they either receive it or give it: it is human nature, and human nature cannot permanently conceal itself.

III. Then you come to the third stage, if you are not killed. Some find a grave at Esek, others die at Sitnah, and are buried beside the waters of hatred. But perhaps you have heavenly elements enough to get beyond the second stage. You are hated, but you keep digging away, and at last room is made for you—room, Rehoboth. You are recognised, you are looked for, and missed if you do not come.

IV. If you have got to Rehoboth, is there anything to hinder you from going on? The next step is easy: confidence—rest. Be not discouraged: move on honestly, laboriously, religiously. Go on: that is your duty in two words. Life is full of difficulty. It is through tribulation that you get into any kingdom worth anything. In Christ we are called to strife. His words are: "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Parker, The Fountain, April 28th, 1881.

Reference: Genesis 26:17-33.—Parker, vol. i., p. 254.

Verse 34-35

Genesis 26:34-35

I. Esau was forty years old when he married. A sin is aggravated, sometimes, by the age of the sinner. Some men learn nothing by age: they are forty years old on the books of the registrar; they are no age at all in the books of wisdom.

II. Esau's wives were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah. Sin has consequences. Actions are not solitary and uninfluential; they have relations to other actions and to influences simply innumerable and incalculable.

III. A sin does not confine itself to one line of punishment. Esau went against the law of his country and his people in marrying Canaanitish women. What was the punishment? Endless, ubiquitous, complete: (1) Esau was alienated from his family; (2) he was a rebel against the laws of organised society; (3) he forfeited his hereditary rights.

The law of the land was: To marry a Canaanitish woman is to lose your primogeniture. Esau supplanted himself. Find out the roots and beginnings of things, and you will always discover that a man is his own supplanter, his own enemy.

Parker, vol. i., p. 261.

References: Gen 27—Expositor, 2nd series, vol. viii., p. 67; R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. i., p. 456; F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 85; M. Dods, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, p. 61; Parker, vol. i., p. 268. Genesis 27:1-4.—F. W. Robertson, Sermons, 4th series, p. 123. Genesis 27:1-41.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 96. Genesis 27:13.—E. Cooper, Fifty-two Family Sermons, p. 247. Genesis 27:28.—New Manual of Sunday School Addresses, p. 16.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Genesis 26:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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