Genesis 26:1 Isaac settled in Gerar, the same place his father Abraham settled where he had dealings with King Abimelech with the whole “Sarah is my sister” saga. Abimelech is most likely a dynasty or title (like Pharaoh). The King Abimelech that Isaac encounters is most likely the son or grandson of the King Abimelech that Abraham had dealings.
Genesis 26:2-4 The Lord appeared to Isaac and told him to settle in Gerar and not to go to Egypt. Most likely the Egyptians had not forgotten about the plagues sent from God when Pharaoh took Sarah. Isaac would definitely not be welcomed in Egypt. The Lord repeated His promises to Isaac that He promised previously to Abraham.
Genesis 26:5 Charge, commandments, statutes, and laws? Though the ‘law’ was not given until God gave them to Moses at Mount Sinai, Moses wrote this book and read it to the children of Israel. The point is that Abraham’s obedience to God was unreserved.
Genesis 26:6-7 Apparently, Abraham failed to tell his son Isaac about his dealings with King Abimelech when it came to Sarah “Sarah is my sister” saga, possibly out of shame, but because of this, Abraham missed an opportunity to pass on the lessons learned from his mistakes.
Genesis 26:8-11 King Abimelech may have known that Isaac was Abraham’s son, and after hearing of Isaac’s proclamation that Rebekah was just his sister, and then seeing them carrying on and behaving like a husband and wife, confronted Isaac about his lie. Rebekah was in no way his sister. Abraham at least told a half-truth. King Abimelech, probably remembering the covenant his father or grandfather made with Abraham and the seriousness of the curse that could come upon him and his people, warned his people not to touch Rebekah on pain of death or this was simply just the hand of God directing Abimelech’s thinking to ensure that Isaac’s seed was preserved.
Genesis 26:12-16 The Lord prospered Isaac in Gerar so much that the Philistines wanted to drive Isaac out of their land.
Genesis 26:17-22 The Philistines kept plugging up the water wells with dirt to force Isaac to move further away. Every time Isaac’s servants dug a new well, the Philistines would claim it. Again, the purpose was to keep pushing Isaac further away. Eventually, Isaac was further enough away that they were not bothered anymore.
Notes: History shows us, even when the Jews lived in Germany, Poland, etc. during the 1940’s, that whenever they prospered (And they did), the natives would become envious and want to drive them out. During the reign of Adolf Hitler, this led to the attempt of exterminating the Jews known to us today as the Holocaust. Even today, Israel’s surrounding neighbors are constantly claiming the land that Israel sits on and continues to want to drive them out. Nothing has changed in thousands of years.
Genesis 26:23-25 Isaac settled in Beersheba and the Lord appeared to him repeating the promises He made to Abraham. Isaac, like his father Abraham, built and altar and worshipped the Lord. Isaac emulated his father’s faith, but regardless of what Isaac would or would not do, God would fulfill His promises made to Abraham based on what Abraham faith and righteousness.
Notes: This is good news for us, for we are declared righteous, not based on us, but on what Jesus did for us. The Lord most likely appeared to Isaac at this time to calm his anxiety at facing envy, quarrels, and hostility by the Philistine people.
Genesis 26:26:29 Though King Abimelech allowed his people to push Isaac away; he realized that the Lord continued to bless Isaac regardless. The king decided to make a covenant with Isaac out of concern for his own safety and welfare to avoid any curse that could come from Lord upon him or his people.
Genesis 26:34 The narrative now turns to Esau. He marries two women of the Hittites (Remember, the Hittites are descendants of Heth, son of Canaan, son of Ham, son of Noah). Not only did Esau despise his birthright, but also he despised his parents by marrying outside the family, foreigners, those outside the covenant and promise. Esau’s action had deliberately ignored the standard set by Abraham for Isaac. Esau proved to be a thorn in Isaac and Rebekah’s side.
Notes: For Christians, to marry a non-Christian, especially against the advice of their Christian parents would be acting with the same rebellion as Esau. The marriage would prove to be not only a thorn in the side of the Christian parents, but have a negative impact on the Christian child, hindering their Christian growth or worse, leading them away from the Lord and His blessings and not to mention the negative impact on their children.