Genesis 26:7 MEANING

Genesis 26:7
(7) He said, She is my sister.--We have already seen that Abraham at Gerar showed no consciousness of having done wrong in denying his wife (Genesis 20:2); and we now find Isaac imitating his example with even less reason for his conduct. The circumstances are, however, different. It is the people who inquire about Isaac's relation to Rebekah, and though she was "fair to look upon," yet no annoyance followed upon his denial of her. The king after "a long time" detects their intimacy; but there are no presents, and no marks of respect to Rebekah, and no friendship. It is only after long quarrels, during which Isaac is obliged to withdraw to a long distance from Gerar, that finally peace is made between them.

Verse 7. - And the men of the place (i.e. the inhabitants of Gerar) asked him (literally, asked, or made inquiries; probably first at each other, though ultimately the interrogations might reach Isaac himself) of his wife (being in all likelihood fascinated by her beauty); and he said, - falling into the same infirmity as Abraham (Genesis 12:13; Genesis 20:2) - She is my sister: - which was certainly an equivocation, since, although sometimes used to designate a female relative generally (vide Genesis 24:60), the term "sister" was here designed to suggest that Rebekah was his own sister, born of the same parents. In propagating this deception Isaac appears to have been actuated by a similar motive to that which impelled his father - for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he (sc. to himself, the words describing the good man's secret apprehensions), the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; - the historian adding, as the explanation of his fears - because she was fair to look upon (vide Genesis 24:16).

26:6-11 There is nothing in Isaac's denial of his wife to be imitated, nor even excused. The temptation of Isaac is the same as that which overcame his father, and that in two instances. This rendered his conduct the greater sin. The falls of those who are gone before us are so many rocks on which others have split; and the recording of them is like placing buoys to save future mariners. This Abimelech was not the same that lived in Abraham's days, but both acted rightly. The sins of professors shame them before those that are not themselves religious.And the men of the place asked him of his wife,.... The inhabitants of Gerar inquired of Isaac who she was, whether she was his wife or not, or in what relation she stood in to him; this was not a mere civil inquiry, but what arose from the prevalence of lust in them towards her; and yet it was under some restraint, they being not so abandoned to their lusts as to exercise them upon any; not upon a man's wife, the sin of adultery being detestable to them, though that of fornication was made no account of by them:

and he said, she is my sister; herein imitating his father Abraham in his infirmity and unbelief, who in the same place had made such an answer to a like question concerning Sarah, Genesis 20:1; and which if Isaac knew of, as probably he did, one would wonder that he should fall into the same evil, and especially when he had not so much to say to support his assertion as Abraham had; for Rebekah was not so near akin to him as Sarah was to Abraham; and though cousins might be called sisters, yet this was mere dissimulation to call his wife sister, and was done with an intention to deceive, and therefore not justifiable:

for he feared to say, she is my wife; which was the real truth; but the fear of men, which brings a snare, led him to this, and from which good men are not always free:

lest, said he, that is, within himself, in his own mind; and so the Targum of Jonathan, he thought in his heart:

the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; that they might marry her, one or other of them; for, it seems, they had not so great a sense of the sin of murder, as of adultery:

because she was fair to look upon; which he feared would be a temptation to them, and stir up their impure desires after her, in order to gratify which he was afraid they would kill him; Rebekah retaining her beauty still, though she had been married in all probability forty years or more, see Genesis 24:16.

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