Treaty of Beer[sheba]
We just have a short passage to get through before we get to the really good stuff,
God telling Abraham to kill his son.
Remember that Abraham just had his son Isaac who was his first son with Sarah, his wife. Sarah was jealous of the other son Abraham had, Ishmael (who was born of Sarah’s maidservant), and told Abraham to send Ishmael away. Abraham was really torn on the matter, but God told him to send Ishmael away and so Abraham did it. Unfortunately, this next passage is off topic and irrelevant but I don’t want to skip over anything. That would make me just as bad as Christians who conveniently skip over passages in the Bible that they find uncomfortable. So here we go:
"At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, ‘God is with you in everything you do. Now swear to me here before God that you will no deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you are living as an alien the same kindness I have shown to you.’" —Genesis 21:22&23
Remember King Abimelech? He was the king that Abraham lied to. The one that wanted to take Sarah, whom he thought was Abraham’s sister, as his wife. Fortunately, God intervened and threatened Abimelech (who had no idea he had done anything wrong) with death if he did not return Sarah to Abraham. Then Abimelech gave Abraham a bunch of stuff and begged Abraham to ask God to forgive Abimelech.
Now that God has threatened Abimelech with death, Abimelech is rightly afraid. He is concerned with what this God may do to him and he pleads with Abraham to protect him. Abimelech is a little worried that Abraham will lie to him again and he wants some reassurance.
"Abraham said, ‘I swear it.’ Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized. But Abimelech said, ‘I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.’" —Genesis 21:24-26
Apparently Abraham was upset because his servants dug him a well that he was particularly fond of and then Abimelech’s servants said that it was theirs and took control over it (credit to him: in that time and in that place, water was REALLY important).
Abimelech, being the good and just king that he has shown to be before, doesn’t jump to any conclusions and confesses that there isn’t anything he can do about it so long after the incident.
"So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a treaty." —Genesis 21:27
These animals were part of treaty-making ceremonies in that time.
"Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, and Abimelech asked Abraham, ‘What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?’ He replied, ‘Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.’" —Genesis 21:28-30
Abraham presented the lambs to Abimelech as a token that he was telling the truth.
"So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there." —Genesis 21:31
'Beersheba' means 'well of seven' or 'well of the oath' (both seem to fit the context: seven ewe lambs, making an oath).
"After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines." —Genesis 21:32
Here is a map of where the ‘land of the Philistines’ is located (I apologize, Israel and Judah are both ‘Israel’, I will explain that when we come to it):
The land of the Philistines is in red, you can see Beersheba in southern Judah.
"Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time." —Genesis 21:33&34
Tamarisk trees thrive in desert conditions without water and provide lots of good shade.
In the next study we will cover God’s challenge to Abraham, will he pass the test?!?
- anatheistbiblestudy posted this