There was a famine in the land, so Isaac went to Gerar. God came down and said, “Don’t go to Egypt. I’ll tell you where to live. All these lands will belong to you and your many, many offspring. I liked your dad, so I’m keeping my promises to him.”
So Isaac settled in Gerar, and he and Rebekah did the sister-wife thing that worked out so well for Abraham and Sarah all the time. But the Philistines saw them laughing together and figured brothers and sisters never laugh together, so Isaac and Rebekah must be husband and wife. King Abimelech said, “Why would you say she was your sister? One of us could have raped her thinking it was all good because she’s just your sister, but then we would have felt totally guilty because she’s really your wife. Why do you people always try to do this to us?” Then he told all his people to just leave Isaac and Rebekah alone.
Isaac became rich in Gerar and all the Philistines envied him. King Abimelech finally told Isaac to get out of town because he was so much mightier than everyone else. So Isaac took his toys and went to the Valley of Gerar. There, he dug the same wells his father had dug which had now been filled with dirt. When one of them struck water, the people of Gerar claimed it for their own. So Isaac dug another well, and again the people fought him over it. They didn’t care about his third well, so he decided that one was his favorite.
After a while, Isaac took the family up to Beersheba. God came down and said, “Hey, Isaac. Just wanted to remind you that I’m here and I blessed your father and I’m going to bless you and all your offspring.” Isaac said, “Shoot, I haven’t built an altar to you in a while. Sorry about that.” He built an altar, pitched a tent and called it home.
King Abimelech took his adviser, Ahuzzath, and his army commander, Phicol, and they all went to see Isaac. Isaac said, “Uh, hi, I thought you hated me. What do you want?” They said, “Well, it’s like this. We know you’ve been blessed by God, so we wanted to make sure we could be friends. You know, you don’t kill us in exchange for us sucking up to you? What do you say?” Isaac said that was just fine and they all had a feast that night.
When Esau was forty, he married a woman named Judith and apparently also a woman named Basemath. They were both Hittite women, and this upset Isaac and Rebekah. We don’t like the Hittites.