Read Genesis 26
Focus on verse 7
There is a saying “the apple does not fall far from the tree” describing how sons inherit the likeness – and perhaps also some of the shortcomings – of their fathers.
If I could have been a Philistine fly on the wall of Abimelech’s house in the days of Abraham and Isaac, I suspect I might would wonder what it is about those Hebrews that they always lie about their wives? I may also begin to feel sorry for this Abimelech fellow who nearly gets burned twice – once by dad and then by son…I am not surprised that he seems a little leery of the “she’s my sister” line at this point.
When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. (v. 7)
This time he manages to catch the lie before any of the Philistines decided to try taking Rebekah as a wife, but it seems obvious that Abimelech is still very aware of the consequences that occurred in the last go around with Abram and Sarah, and he has no interest in a repeat performance.
What is perhaps a little surprising is that he allows Isaac to stick around as long as he does, asking him to leave only when it begins to become obvious that the Philistines are outnumbered. Apparently this began to make some of them feel threatened, and perhaps just a little jealous of the wealth and prosperity of Isaac’s clan. It is apparently obvious to Abimelech that the God of Isaac was more powerful than the gods of the Philistines, so rather than risk a conflict that he could not win, he opted for a treaty and a little distance between them.
The God that watched over Abraham and Isaac is the same God that later in history fulfills His promise to Abraham to bless all nations through his offspring by providing a way through Christ for us to have a relationship with Him so that we also might be blessed not just in this life, but for all eternity.