The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Genesis
When a famine came upon the land again, like the famine which had visited it in Abraham’s time, Isaac was for leaving it; and he had reached the court of Abimelech, king of the Philistines, in Gerara,
when the Lord appeared to him and said, No, do not take refuge in Egypt; thou art to remain in the land of my choice.
Dwell in that land, though it be alien soil, and I will be with thee and bless thee; I mean to give all this land to thee and to thy race after thee, in fulfilment of the oath I took to thy father Abraham.
I will make that race plentiful as the stars in heaven, and grant the whole of this land to thy descendants; in thy posterity all the nations of the world shall find a blessing.
Such reward shall Abraham have for obeying me, for keeping every command and charge I gave him, following observance and decree of mine.
So Isaac remained where he was, at Gerara.
And now, when certain of the inhabitants asked him about his wife, he told them, She is my sister; he was afraid to own that she was his wedded wife, thinking they might be tempted by her beauty to kill him.
And one day, when he had already spent a long time in the country, the Philistine king, Abimelech, looked out of a window and saw Isaac and his wife in dalliance together.
Whereupon he summoned him, and said, It is plain enough, now, that she is thy wife, why didst thou pretend she was thy sister? I was afraid, he answered, that she might be the cause of my death.
What is this trick thou hast played on us? said Abimelech. One of my people might easily have dishonoured thy wife, and so thou wouldst have led us into grievous guilt. Then he issued his command to all his people,
If anyone touches this man’s wife, his life must pay for it.
In this country, Isaac began growing crops; and in that first year they yielded a hundredfold; such was the Lord’s blessing on him.
Thus he became rich, and went on prospering more and more, until he rose to great influence;
flocks of sheep were his, and herds of cattle, and a great retinue. And now the Philistines, out of envy,
stopped up all the wells which the servants of his father Abraham had dug there, filling them in with earth.
At last Abimelech himself said to Isaac, Separate from us; thou hast become altogether too powerful for us.
So he went to live in the valley of Gerara.
Here he opened afresh other wells, dug by his father Abraham’s servants, and stopped up long since by the Philistines, when Abraham died; calling them by the old names his father had given them.
While they were thus digging in the valley, they came upon running water;
but here, too, the herdsmen of Gerara disputed the rights of Isaac’s herdsmen, and claimed the water as their own. So he called the well, in memory of what had happened, the False Claim.
Then they dug another, and this, too, was a cause of contention, so he called this well the Feud.
And at last, when he had gone further on and dug another well, over which they did not dispute with him, he called it Freedom; Now at last, he said, the Lord has given us freedom to spread over the land.
From there he went to Bersabee;
and here, the same night, he had a vision of the Lord, who said to him, I am the God of thy father Abraham; fear nothing, I am with thee. I mean to bless thee, and give increase to thy posterity, in reward of Abraham’s true service.
So he built an altar, and invoked the Lord’s name, and pitched his tent there, and bade his servants dig a well.
When Abimelech came from Gerara to visit him there, with Ochozath, his counsellor, and Phicol, the commander of his army,
Isaac asked them, What means your visit? Here is a man you have treated as an enemy, and driven him away from you.
But they answered, We have seen how all this while the Lord is with thee; and our thought was, It is time there was an oath between us. Let us make a covenant
that thou wilt do us no wrong; we never laid hands on thee, never did thee anything but good; we parted from thee peaceably, and the Lord’s blessing was thine.
So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank with him;
then, when they rose up in the morning, they bound themselves by oath each to the other, and so Isaac took leave of them, and they went home in peace.
It was on that very day that Isaac’s servants came to him and brought word of the latest well they had been digging; We have found water, they told him.
So he called it Abundance;✻ that is how the city came to be called Bersabee, as it is to this day.
Esau, who was by this time forty years old, married two wives, Judith the daughter of Beëri, the Hethite, and Basemath, the daughter of another Hethite, Elon.
Both of these distressed the hearts of Isaac and Rebecca.
The Holy Bible