Genesis 21


Verse 1-5, And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.


I.    God's promise is fulfilled.

A.     It took a long time as far as man was concerned.

1.       Compare Gen. 12:1-4 and 21:5 - 25 years had gone by.

2.       16:1 - After 11 years had gone by (16:16) Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands.

B.     God's timetable is right on schedule.

1.       Jesus Christ came exactly on schedule.

2.       II Peter 3:9,10 - The return of the Lord will happen exactly on schedule.

C.     If folks aren't saved when we think they ought to be or if things don't happen when we think they ought to happen -- this doesn't mean it won't happen.  God is still in control.

D.     Isaac was conceived and born at the set time appointed by God.

1.       Heb. 11:11 - Sarah conceived and delivered Isaac by the strength of faith, not the natural strength of the body.  The body's strength had failed because of age.

2.       She believed the promise in God's set time.  Not before.

3.       Note the time span between the promise given to Sarah and the fulfillment of the promise.

4.       The time span between a lost sinner hearing the Word and God saving him is called "conviction".

E.      It should be noted that verse 1 states that God visited Sarah, not Abraham.

1.       The promises of Genesis 3:15 is to the woman, not to the man.

2.       It is not a miracle that Abraham was able to conceive seed at the age of 100.

3.       As has been noted by my study Old Testament Survey, Abraham was born when his father was 130 years old.

4.       The miracle is that Sarah was able to conceive a child, when she was past the age of bearing children, and bear that child to full term delivery at the age of 90.


II.    Abraham and Isaac.

A.     17:19 - God told Abraham what to name the baby.

1.       Man could probably thought of a fancier name for such a child as this.

2.       We ought to always follow the commands of God.

B.     Isaac means "laughter".

C.     Significance of the name.

1.       Isaac and Jesus will be laughed at in derision.

a.      Gen. 17:17 - Abraham laughed in unbelief.

b.      Gen. 18:12 - Sarah laughed in unbelief.

c.      Gen. 21:9 - Ishmael mocked (laughed) at Isaac.

d.      Jesus was made fun of when he was upon the earth and is still being made fun of today.

2.       Isaac and Jesus will be the source of our joy and laughter.

a.      21:8 - It was with great joy that Abraham made a feast on the day Isaac was weaned.

b.      21:6,7 - Sarah laughed with joy.

c.      21:6 - All that hear will laugh with joy that God's promise is fulfilled.

3.       Note that all laughed in derision before they laughed in joy.

a.      Eph. 2:1-3 and Titus 3:3 - states that all people are exactly alike and without the grace of God upon us, we would all go to hell.

b.      After we are saved, we are full of laughter and joy at God's faithfulness.

4.       Many of God's people are laughed at by the world.  Let us be like Christ.


III.    Abraham circumcised Isaac according to God's command.  17:12

A.     Everybody must follow the same rules laid down by God.

B.     This confirmed that Isaac was also a part of the covenant.  See note on chapter 17:9-14.


Verse 6-8 - Sarah's rejoicing.            And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.


I.    God made her laugh - the best kind.

A.     Luke 1:46,47 - Mary rejoicing about her son, Jesus.

1.       A rejoicing from the spirit outward.

2.       Laughter as a result of God fulfilling His Word.

B.     The fulfillment of this promise had been long awaited for, making it all the more joyful.  So is salvation to the lost person.

C.     This is a kind of joy you can't help but share.

1.       Luke 1:36-38 - Anna told everybody about Christ being born.

2.       John 1:40-45 - Andrew told Simon Peter about Christ and Philip told Nathanael.

3.       When we're saved we can't help but tell others about Christ.

4.       When God gives us blessings or answers our prayers, we can't help but tell others.


II.    Sarah gives God all the glory.

A.     She can hardly believe she has had a son and is physically able to nurse the child.

1.       It's hard to believe that Christ has finally saved us and given us the necessary knowledge to help others grow in the Lord.

2.       She is also able to continue nursing Isaac until the time of weaning.

B.     If a man had given the promise, it could not have been believed, but since God gave the promise, it is the cause of great rejoicing.


III.    The boyhood of Isaac - compared to the boyhood of Christ.

A.     Very little is told of his boyhood.

1.       Verse 8 - and he grew.

2.       Verse 8 - and he was weaned.

3.       Chapter 22 - The sacrifice of Isaac.

B.     The boyhood of Christ - told only in the book of Luke.

1.       Luke 1:40 - the child grew.

2.       Luke 1:41-52 - Jesus parents "lose" Him at Jerusalem.  This compares to Gen. 22 in a total giving of oneself to the Lord.


Verse 9-11, And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.


I.    Sarah was an eyewitness.

A.     The time.

1.       We don't know when this mocking took place.

2.       Some think at the feast Abraham made on the day Isaac as weaned.

B.     It's probably true that the mocking had been going on for some time and Sarah heard about it and finally caught Ishmael in the act.


II.    Ishmael is the cause of his being cast out.

A.     People go to hell because they refuse Christ.

1.       Matt. 13:15 - These people closed their heart, ears, and eyes.

2.       Acts 13:46 - Ye put it (salvation) from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life.

B.     When older children (Ishmael is 16-17 years old) are playing, they should be very careful not to make fun of younger children.

C.     God watches children at play and takes note of all things they do.

D.     Ishmael is the cause of his mother being cast out.

1.       Ishmael at 16 or 17 years old receives exactly the same punishment as his mother (treated like an adult).

2.       It is the parents responsibility to make their children mind and be courteous to others - both those older and younger.

3.       Parents will be held accountable for their children's actions when that child is under the authority of their parents.

a.      There is no such scriptural thing as a child reaching the "magic age of 18", still living in their parents home and rebelling against their instructions.

b.      The parent is no longer responsibility when children move out on their own.

E.      Gal. 4:29 - What is really happening is the Son of the Flesh is persecuting the Son of the Spirit.

1.       Law and grace are at the same time.

2.       Ishmael and Isaac lived at the same time.

3.       The "laws" of law and grace have always been together.

F.      When a church excludes somebody from their fellowship, the church is not the cause of them being excluded any more than Sarah is the "cause" of Ishmael being cast out.


III.    Hagar is an Egyptian.

A.     God does not bless this kind of marriage.

1.       God does not bless mixed religion marriages today.

2.       God does recognize the marriage and the children of that marriage.

B.     Ishmael is not Sarah's son.

1.       She had no natural parental love for the boy even though he was the product of her scheming to fulfill God's plan.

2.       As a matter of fact, she now displayed a hatred for Ishmael.  She had her own son and did not want him to be an heir with Isaac.  (counted as a son of Abraham.)

C.     It would seem that Sarah should have more compassion on her husband's eldest son, but the scripture must be fulfilled that talks about law and grace.

1.       Compare the "tone of voice" between Gen. 21:10 and Gal. 4:29,30.

2.       The "tone of voice" of Gen. 21:10 seems to be with a feeling of hate for Ishmael and Hagar.

3.       The "tone of voice" of Gal. 4:29,30 seems to be with no hatred, but in a prophetic sense.

D.     In relation to church discipline it is sometimes very grievous to exclude our family members, but let us always obey God's commands.


Verse 12, 13, Abraham's comfort.  And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.


I.    The comfort that really settled Abraham came from the Lord.

A.     Of all the problems we have, true comfort comes from the Lord.

B.     Comfort didn't come from people.

1.       People were causing the problem.

2.       Many times people don't understand our problems.

3.       Many times people do understand our heartaches, but there are no words of comfort they can give us.

C.     God always sees our heartaches.

1.       It is not recorded that Abraham prayed to God for comfort.

2.       It was God's desire for Abraham to be comforted because of his sons.

D.     Abraham finds comfort in the words of God.

1.       Many times we try to find comfort in things other than the Word of God.

a.      Other people.

b.      Our possessions.

c.      Drown our sorrow in drink.

d.      Become a work-a-holic.

2.       Today we can find comfort and help in times of trouble if we will read and study the Bible.

a.      Read the promises of God and trust God to do like He said.

b.      Pray that God will "help our unbelief".

E.      Our comfort in church discipline must come from a knowledge that we are obeying the commands of God.  This knowledge comes from the Bible.


II.    God told Abraham what He would do with Isaac and Ishmael and Hagar.

A.     Isaac.

1.       Repeating 17:19,21 - The covenant will be with Isaac.

2.       Isaac is to be the # 1 son.

B.     Ishmael.

1.       Repeating 17:20 - Ishmael shall become a great nation.

2.       This comforted Abraham because he knew Ishmael would not die when he was cast out of his house.

3.       Abraham believed again that Ishmael would beget twelve princes and multiply exceedingly.

4.       Verse 13 - God does not bless Ishmael because he is great, but because he is Abraham's son.

5.       This ought to make fathers think, and try to obey God for God will bless our children if we do what He said.

C.     Hagar - Abraham was also concerned about Hagar for she was also his wife (16:3).

1.       Polygamy may seem to work for a while, but sooner or later jealously takes over.  (Remember the story of Jacob and Leah and Rachel.)

2.       I think God was more interested in Ishmael than he was in Hagar.  Verse 17 - God heard the voice of the lad, apparently He didn't hear the voice of Hagar.

D.     May God help us to remember what He has told us.

1.       Within four years (Gen. 17:21 & 21:8) Abraham forgot the promise that God would take care of both Isaac and Ishmael.  (16:9-14 - Hagar also forgot - See comments on verses 15-21.

2.       We do exactly the same thing today.  We are so filled up with the world that we don't have time to remember God's promises.


Verse 14, Abraham's obedience.  And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.


I.    Abraham obeyed God, not Sarah.

A.     the wife is subject to the husband, not the husband to the wife.

B.     The commands and suggestions given to us by others are not to be followed unless confirmed by God.  Note:  This is also true (especially) of a pastor and his church.  Church members may give suggestions and offer help as to the direction the church goes, but the final word is from the pastor at God's command.

C.     Abraham probably wasn't anxious to cast out Ishmael and Hagar, but obeyed God's command to the letter.

1.       Sometimes God wants us to do things we had rather not do, but we ought to always do it.

2.       It is not our part to put our personal desires ahead of God's commands.

3.       There is only trouble and hurt when we disobey God.

4.       The hurt and trouble we try to avoid on ourselves are cast upon others.

5.       The consequences of our disobedience or obedience is carried on for years and years.

D.     We may not be anxious to exclude our loved ones from church, but let us obey God.


II.    Abraham provided what he could.

A.     It is always good to supply those things necessary for life to those going away from us.

B.     Abraham did not give her so much as to make it a burden for her to carry.

C.     He supplied her with essentials for life.

1.       Bread and water.

2.       She may not live in luxury, but she would live.

D.     Ishmael (age 16 or 17) carried a part of the bounty.

1.       It's always good for children to do their share.

2.       It's a relief to parents when children willingly do their part.


III.    Wandering in the wilderness.

A.     The wandering (as she is probably lost) cannot be blamed on Abraham.

B.     It is always best when starting out on a strange journey to get proper directions, or ask directions along the way.

C.     This is what happens to the saved excluded church members.  He's not accepted in the world because he's saved and not accepted in the church because he's worldly.


Verse 15-21 - Blessings in the wilderness.  And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. {16} And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. {17} And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. {18} Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. {19} And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. {20} And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. {21} And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

Luke 15:11-32 - the elder and younger son - a waking up away from God.

I.    God gives blessings when lest expected.

A.     All the food and water is gone and their strength is fast fading.

1.       There is no evidence they will find relief and live.

2.       They are both near death.

B.     Neither of them deserves the blessings they'll receive.

1.       They were cast out because of mocking the promised seed.

2.       We also don't deserve the blessings of God.

a.      Salvation.

b.      The privilege of service.

c.      The hope of the resurrection.

d.      Forever learning about God.

C.     Salvation comes to the lost when they finally realize there is no hope for them at all.

1.       Then they recognize before God they deserve to go to hell, God will save.

2.       This is walking by faith, not by sight.


II.    They separated.

A.     Hagar put Ishmael under one of the scrubs.

1.       In the shade, he would live longer than in the sun.

2.       When one is facing death, there is still a desire to suffer and live.

a.      Saved people ought to be willing to die and be with the Lord.

b.      Lost people have nothing but hell to look forward to and so greatly desire to stay in this world.

B.     The purpose of separating.

1.       Hagar evidently thought the child would die before she would and didn't want to sit by helplessly and watch him.

2.       Hagar had forgotten the promise God gave her in Gen. 16:7-14.

3.       We are just like she is; forgetting the promises of God and failing to:

a.      Please Him.

b.      Be an encouragement to others.

c.      Be a witness to the lost of His goodness.

C.     The curse of separating.

1.       They didn't believe Isaac was anything special, therefore Ishmael mocked him, thus they are in this trouble.

2.       If either of them had remembered God's promises they could encourage the other.

3.       The promise of 16:7-14 had only a temporary meaning to them.  They didn't claim the promise for all their lives.

D.     Churches are like this today.

1.       Saved church members often fail to remember the promises of God, but have no trouble remembering how somebody has done them wrong.

2.       Churches fail to have the victory over sin and get lost in the world system and lay down and get ready to die.

a.      Churches need to take I John 4:4 literally.

b.      Church ought to get proper directions from the Bible and stay with them.

c.      Church members ought to encourage each other, not separate themselves when trouble comes.


III.    They both prepared to die.

A.     Hagar settled down to die, with weeping.

B.     Ishmael used his voice.

1.       There is no record that Ishmael wept.

2.       There is no record that he reminded God of the promise of 16:7-17.

3.       There is no record of what Ishmael said or groaned.

4.       I doubt that Ishmael prayed to God for deliverance.

a.      He, or his mother, was not religious.

b.      Hagar didn't remember the promise of 16:7-14.  It's doubtful Ishmael even knew about the promise.


IV.    Deliverance.

A.     God hears the voice of the lad.

1.       God heard the voice of Hagar for He hears all things.

2.       The Bible records that God heard Ishmael because the promise of 16:7-14 is to him, not Hagar.

B.     I wonder if the angel of verse 17 is the same angel of 16:7?

C.     A review of the promise of 16:7-14.

D.     God opened her eyes to the water.  He didn't open Ishmael's eyes because Hagar is in authority.  God always opens eyes of those in authority before others.  In a church, God shows the pastor first, then the pastor shows the members. (The majority of the time.)

1.       It was there all the time.

2.       If God hadn't opened her eyes, she would never have seen the water.

3.       Lost people cannot "see" salvation even if they're looking right at it.

4.       God must open their eyes so they can "see".


V.    Fulfilling the promise.  Note human responsibility of verse 18.

A.     Dwelt in the wilderness.  A fit place for a wild man. (16:12).

B.     Those lost people live in a wilderness even if they dwell in a city.

C.     An archer - Esau was a hunter.

D.     Wife out of Egypt.

1.       Because his other was an Egyptian.

2.       Followed mothers advice even in selecting a mate.  A good thing to do.


Verse 22-24, And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: {23} Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. {24} And Abraham said, I will swear.


I.    "At that time".

A.     Evidently the time that Abraham that Abraham cast out Hagar and Ishmael.

1.       When God instructs us to do something that bothers us, He will give us something to give us joy.

2.       I Cor. 10:13 - The principle of the verse applies.

B.     Abimelech and Phichol (representing the city of Gerar) realized that God was especially with Abraham.

1.       The events of the time were probably well known.

a.      You couldn't keep it a secret when a 100 year old man and a 90 years old woman had a baby.

b.      It would be especially evident to Abimelech that God gave Isaac, since God closed and opened the wombs in his house.

c.      You couldn't keep the casting out of Hagar and Ishmael a secret.

2.       These events would give Abraham opportunity to tell about his and Sarah's name change and the promise God had given to them through Isaac.

3.       Abraham's prosperity would be another factor that would make people sit up and take notice.

C.     The actions of Abraham in chapter 20.

1.       Among "natural" people (total unforgiving sinners) these mistakes (sins) of the past would not be forgotten or forgiven.

2.       It is the very leaders offended against in chapter 20 that see God's grace upon Abraham.

a.      This shows us that true lasting forgiveness is possible. (for us toward those that sin against us.)

b.      20:11 - Abraham thought the fear of God wasn't in that place, but they give evidence of the grace of God in their heart.

c.      The people of Gerar (represented by Abimelech and Phichol) have a desire in their heart to have the people of God around them.  When they find someone who God is blessing they do all in their power to be with them.  This is the way saved people ought to be.

3.       We ought to learn to see the grace of God upon people and to change our minds and attitudes toward them.

4.       If Isaac was weaned at 2 or 3 years old (as was customary) then Abraham had time to "live down" his pst sin.

a.      We ought to always try to live so people can believe we have really changed from our past lives.

b.      We never know what influence our trying to serve God has on other people.

D.     Abimelech and Phichol.

1.       This passage gives us further insight into Abimelech and his reign.

2.       He had a long and prosperous reign, probably in part because of the way he rules the city.

3.       He has a fear of God - 20:8 (sore afraid).

4.       Constantly and consistently sought those who God blessed - whether he particularity agreed with them or not. 21:23, 26:26-30.

5.       Did nothing major on his own, but made major decisions with advisors.

a.      20:8 - Concerning the curse when Sarah was taken.

b.      21:22 - Made the pact with Abraham in witness of a trusted friend and th head of the military.

c.      26:26 - Made the pact with Isaac in witness of head of military and one (he had more) of his friends.

6.       Abimelech apparently didn't let power go to his head, and lived in such a way that he had friends of those he ruled over.

a.      All people in authority ought to remember this.

b.      Pastors ought to have friends of their congregations whom they rule over.

c.      Some pastors believe they cannot be friends with their congregations.

d.      I believe this is a mistake.


II.    Abimelech's offer.

A.     Why did Abimelech make such an offer?

1.       "At that time" - verse 22 - When the story started getting around, Abimelech knew that God was going to give a kingdom  (1. people, 2. land, 3. authority, and 4. and throne.) to Abraham., Isaac, and their descendants.

2.       He knew it was impossible to fight against God, and didn't want to, for he also feared God.

3.       So he made this treaty in order to protect himself and his family.

4.       He might lose the kingship - which was okay - but he didn't want to lose his life.

B.     Swear unto me by God.

1.       Destroys Jehovah Witness not swearing in court, or saying the pledge of Allegiance, or any of that.

2.       Abimelech knew that Abraham would do what he swore before God.

C.     To deal with Abimelech and his sons as before God.

1.       Abimelech is not only looking for the well being of his reign in Gerar, but also for his sons' reign.

2.       This shows us the king of Gerar was established by family.

D.     As I have dealt with you.

1.       Abimelech is not afraid to ask Abraham to treat him like he has treated him:

2.       Matt. 7:12 - Abimelech is following the "Golden Rule" - fulfilling the law and the prophets.  He is doing this by grace through faith in the coming Christ.

3.       This gives us a pretty good indication Abimelech was saved.

4.       We do need to remember that more people than Abraham and Sarah were saved.

a.      God had chosen Abraham and Sarah for special blessings and labor.

b.      God has chosen some of the saved and placed them in the church - a place of special blessings and labor.

c.      It is today as it was in Abraham's day - God has chosen many people to salvation, and has chosen some of that group to serve Him in a special way.

E.      To deal with the land correctly.

1.       Note the love Abimelech has for the people and land he is ruling over.

2.       This is a mark of a God called ruler, whether it is a king, president, or the pastor of a church.

a.      A lot of kinds and presidents are in office only to seek personal gain.  They are politicians, not statesmen.

b.      Many pastors are not seeking the well being of their flock.


III.    Abraham agrees.

A.     Abraham can make this agreement to Abimelech and his sons without compromising God's promise to him.

1.       Abraham knew he was a sojourner and did not expect himself to be king.

2.       Abimelech also knew Abraham was a sojourner (verse 23) and wouldn't even try to take over Gerar.

3.       This treaty did not assure Abimelech of his throne, but of not being dealt with falsely.

B.     Abraham can make this agreement about the land.

1.       All he has to do is follow God's commands to do good to the land.

2.       If there is any "taking over" by Abraham; Abimelech, his sons, and grandsons, would be taken care of.

C.     Ps 133:1 - How good for brethren to dwell together in unity.

D.     I believe God would have those in authority be in agreement, and together on God's word.

1.       Abimelech was willing to step down as king and let Abraham be king if it is God's will.

2.       A pastor ought to be willing to step down and let another be pastor if it is God's will.

a.      Tell the story of the church who dismissed their pastor and he wouldn't leave, but instead on continuing being pastor.  They had to lock the church door to keep him out.

b.      Tell the story of the church that dismissed their pastor and he kept on trying to pastor even after the church selected another pastor.  Half of the church met in the basement, and half of the church met upstairs.

c.      I Cor. 14:33 - Satan is the author of confusion.

d.      I Cor. 14:40 - Let all things be done decently and in order.


Verse 25-32, And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. {26} And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day. {27} And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. {28} And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. {29} And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? {30} And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. {31} Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them. {32} Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.


I.    Abraham reproving Abimelech.

A.     This is probably brought on by the treaty in verse 22-24.

1.       Abraham had this problem over the well and knew it would interfere with keeping the treaty.

2.       Abraham knew the thought of the stolen well would influence him against Abimelech and his sons.

3.       We need to realize that we have trouble dealing justly with those folks that have done us dirty.

4.       The only way for us to treat them justly is to get rid of our problem.

B.     The servant reproving his king.

1.       Note the kind of leader Abimelech was in that he would listen to the complaints of his subjects.

2.       Note the kind of servant Abraham was in that he truthfully and in the right attitude reproved his king.

3.       Note that this rebuke was not done in public, but in private.

4.       Any reproof given to a leader (pastor or not) should not be done in public.

a.      This puts the leader on the defensive and

b.      He will have a hard time listening.

c.      Other people will hear and form an opinion without knowing all of the facts.

d.      People will form into sides, which leads to division.

e.      So if the leader is to be rebuked, and you sincerely mean it for his own well being, you will reprove him in private, where both of you will have ample opportunity to freely, fairly, and justly present your thoughts.

f.       This way, an agreement can be reached without causing division, and will help the entire church body to grow together - all of them following the pastor God has placed over them.

C.     Abraham's attitude.

1.       He didn't "jump down Abimelech's throat", but rather "reproved" him.  He didn't show anger.

2.       We don't know when the event took place, but Abraham probably had time to let a very mad feeling take him over, but he didn't yield to this feeling.  That would be following Satan.

D.     If Abraham knew about Abimelech's servants stealing the well, why did he agree to the treaty in verse 22-24 without bring up the problem?

1.       I believe he had respect for his king.  Church members ought to have this kind of respect for their pastor.

2.       I believe he saw that Abimelech was trying to be honest with him.

3.       I believe Abraham remembered a few years back when he had got Abimelech in trouble (chapter 20),

a.      Knowing that he was a sinner taught him to be more patient with other men, who are also sinners.

b.      We will learn to be more patient with people when we realize how we are sinners.

4.       It's always good to listen to what somebody else has to say before we bring accusations against them.

5.       A clause in the treaty ("according to the kindness that I have done unto thee"), gave Abraham an out.

a.      If Abimelech had fairly treated Abraham, he could justly expect him to treat him right.

b.      If Abimelech had worked behind Abraham's back, he could expect him to work behind his back.

E.      This gives us evidence of the forgiving attitude of Abraham, toward those that gave done him wrong. (in the taking away of the well.)

1.       Some people would have been unable to make the covenant in verse 22-24 with the thought of the stolen well on their minds.

a.      They cannot believe Abimelech would hold up his end of the bargain.

b.      They are suspicious of Abimelech because of what is in their own hearts.

c.      They would figure that somehow Abimelech would use this covenant to his advantage and to hurt Abraham.

d.      That's what they would do.

e.      They would exclaim loudly (and probably angrily), "You expect me to make a covenant with you after your servants stole my well!!"

f.       That would end all further conversation.

2.       Abraham could make the covenant knowing his well had been stolen.

a.      He would trust him in spite of what he knew.

b.      He wouldn't be suspicious of Abimelech because Abraham wouldn't try to trick anyone.

c.      He was honest in his heart and expected everybody else to be honest.

d.      This is in spite of the fact that he had deceived Abimelech in chapter 20.

e.      Abraham had fully forgiven himself (because God had forgiven him) and that situation was forgotten.  (Abimelech had forgotten it too.)

F.      We need to note that Abraham had suffered a wrong, yet did not have excessive anger because of it.

1.       Excessive anger is caused by continually dwelling on the matter until it gets much bigger than it really is.

2.       We need to have this kind of attitude.  We can have it if we practice not being angry.


II.    Violently taken away.

A.     Doesn't it seem strange that Abraham's men lost the battle for the well when they defeated four great kings in chapter 14?

1.       In they chapter, they went out prepared for war.

2.       In this chapter, they are prepared for keeping the flock.

B.     The well was taken in a struggle.

1.       Even though Abraham's men were unprepared, they did their best to defend Abraham's well.  This shows their love for Abraham, and their care for his goods.

2.       We, as God's servants, would do good to stand for the truths of God's word.

a.      Even if we are unprepared for the battle, we would do better to fight, than to run.

b.      Even if the enemy comes upon us and we are unprepared, we would be better off to fight with what we have than to run and not fight at all.

C.     I believe Abraham decided to suffer the loss of the well, and persuaded his men to stop fighting over it and dig a new well.  At least this is what happened.

1.       This shows that although he was rich in cattle and herds, and in much need of water in this desert land, he gave up this well rather than cause a lot of trouble.

2.       I Cor. 6:1-4 - Abraham dare not take his case before the courts (although he was completely right), but suffered the loss and at a very appropriate time, broached th subject to Abimelech himself.

3.       But remember that even then, Abraham didn't seek the well to be restored to him, but only desired that the present well be confirmed in his hand.

4.       Note also the obedience of Abraham's servants to obey him.

a.      They were the ones who had to dig a new well, yet readily obeyed their masters command.

b.      They have not changed much since:

5.       Gen. 14:14 - Fighting against the four kinds.

6.       Gen. 17:23 - Being circumcised according to God's command through Abraham.

7.       Gen. 18:19 - God said Abraham would command his household and his servants right.

8.       Eph. 6:5 - The servants were following the commands laid down by Paul.


III.    Abimelech's reply.

A.     He didn't know anything about it.  This doesn't mean Abimelech is a bad leader.

1.       Often times the leader doesn't know.

2.       Church pastors are often the very last people to find out what meanness their church members are up to.

3.       Often people won't tell the person in charge because:

a.      They are being honest and don't want to be considered a gossip.

b.      They may be afraid the leader will expose the sin and force them to stand behind him.

4.       Often people will tell something, but won't tell who did it, so there is nothing that can be done.

B.     Abimelech's innocency.

1.       He seems to have been surprised at the news.

2.       There is also a tone of disappointment that:

a.      His people had treated Abraham like that.

b.      That Abraham hadn't told him before now.


IV.    Abraham's actions - He believed Abimelech - (took him at his word).

A.     Did not want the well back.

1.       He was a sojourner on this earth and did not put too much stake in earthly possessions.

2.       He was going to let "old" troubles lay - "Let sleeping dogs lie".

3.       Abimelech would have given the well back if Abraham had required it.

B.     Abraham didn't blame Abimelech for his servants faults.

1.       Kings and presidents shouldn't be blamed for the faults of their followers.

2.       Pastors shouldn't be blamed for sin in the church unless they excuse it or justify it.

C.     Abraham wanted Abimelech's word that the well at Beersheba was his.

1.       The gift of the sheep and oxen would be a constant confirmation to Abraham, Abimelech and all those that took care of his flocks.

2.       The presence of the sheep and oxen would reveal to the thieves of the first well that they were discovered and Abimelech is in agreement that this well was indeed Abraham's.

3.       This did not put a great fear in the thieves heart, however.

a.      They were not punished individually and so got away with their crime, and probably went on to more crime.

b.      Gen. 26:15 - The Philistines had filled the wells of Abraham.  26:18 - Isaac dug them out again.

c.      Gen. 26:19,20 - Battle over a new well in the Valley of Gerar, named Esek.

d.      Gen. 26:21 - Battle for the well called Sitnah.

e.      Gen. 26:22 - Finally found room at the well called Rehoboth.

D.     The covenant pertaining to the wells (old and new) is in two parts.

1.       A general covenant concerning the details of the conversation.

2.       A specific covenant concerning the well called Beersheba.

E.      It's strange to us that there is only one contract (both parties don't have a copy) and that the one holding title to the well doesn't have any representation of the agreement at all.

1.       A man's word was his honor.

2.       Abraham was totally trusting Abimelech to keep the seven ewe lambs as a remembrance.

3.       Today both parties will get a copy of a signed contract, then lawyers will try to interpret the wording in order to void the contract.


V.    The leaving.

A.     They left friendly.

1.       They came together seeking closer friendship, received it, and went away friendlier.

2.       They were able to sit down together and work out their problems and become even closer.

a.      They were both able to trust each other, even though there were problems on both sides.

b.      When there is no trust on both sides, problems cannot be solved.

3.       This is the way God's children ought to be.

B.     Phichol was a witness to all these proceedings.

C.     Two men had a problem.

1.       Abimelech thought that Abraham (according to the promise given to him by God) would somehow take over the town of Gerar.

2.       Abraham thought that Abimelech had stolen the well from him.

D.     Both were wrong.

1.       Abraham had no intention of taking over any town, only trying to find a place to live peaceably for awhile.

2.       Abimelech did not know about the stolen well, nor did he have anything to do with it.

E.      They both met together peaceably.

1.       Abimelech presented his covenant, which was agreed to by Abraham.

2.       Abraham presented his problem, and upon finding a suitable answer, presented his covenant to Abimelech.

F.      They left peaceably.

1.       Abimelech left with assurance that Abraham would treat him, his sons, and grandsons right.

2.       Abimelech left with Abraham satisfied that the well at Beersheba belonged to him.

G.     The reason they could both work out their problems was because they both trusted and respected each other.

1.       Both believed what the other told them.

2.       It should be noted that Abimelech believed Abraham even though Abraham had "stretched the truth" before {chapter 20}.

3.       This reveals to us that it is possible to forgive and forget.

H.     If a problem of this sort isn't worked out, it may be because one party doesn't trust the other party.


Verse 33,34, And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. {34} And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.


I.    Grove.

A.     I do not believe Abraham planted a grove, or worshipped God in that grove.  I do not believe that the "modern" pagan groves are simply a misuse of an original "good intentions".  I believe they are completely of the devil - then and now.

B.     The Hebrew word "Eshel" (which means "Tamarisk") is found three times in the Old Testament.  In two places it indicates a single tree.  Using the principle, "Let the known interpret the unknown", I believe Abraham planted this single tree as a tribute to his God.

1.       I Sam. 22:6 - Saul was abiding under a tree in Gibeah waiting for an opportunity to kill David.

2.       I Sam. 31:13 - Saul was buried under a tree in Jabesh.

3.       Gen. 21:33 - Abraham planted a single tree in Beersheba as a memorial to God.

C.     Definition of "Tamarisk" - from Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary - any of a genus (Tamarix) of shrubs, or trees, typical of a family (Tamaricaceae, the tamarish family) of chiefly desert shrubs and trees having narrow entire leaves, and flowers with five stamens and a one celled ovary.  Several species yield a manna.

D.     There is a different Hebrew word translated "grove" (Asherah - meaning shrine).  This word is used 40 times in the Old Testament.

1.       This Hebrew word always describes a place where false worship is carried on.

2.       God always commands the destruction of these groves.

3.       For a list of these passages, see Youngs Analytical Concordance, page 439, the word "grove".


II.    Living in Beersheba - (The name Beersheba means "The well of the Oath".

A.     Abraham found a place of safety and acceptance.

B.     Worshipped God in Beersheba.

1.       I do not believe, as many do, that Abraham worshipped God in the grove.

2.       He worshipped God in Beersheba.

C.     Stayed there many years.

1.       The word "sojourned" tells us that even though he didn't move about continually, he was still "...looking for a city which hath foundations..." Heb. 11:10.

2.       How we need to learn to be like Abraham, living where God directs yet always looking to be with Him.