Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 26:19-22

19 And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.

20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.

21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.

22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

The herdmen who fought to take away Isaac’s well cannot be justified in their actions. Notice that they waited until he was done doing all of the work before they tried to make their claim, which shows that their motives were selfish and deceitful.

Then Isaac again dug a well and the herdmen again wrested it from him. But again, Isaac did not dwell on the matter. Instead, he left that hotly contested area and dug a third well in a new area. Finally, there was no dispute over this one, so he named it Rehoboth, which means “broad places,” because at last he had found room enough to live in.

The story of the herdmen stealing Isaac’s wells rankles me. It is in our nature to want punishment for the unjust, to see them be held accountable and pay back what they have taken. We hate to see the unfair win.

But in the long run they do not. Truly, the lazy and the indolent are their own worst punishment. Whatever happened to these herdmen who cheated to get ahead? Evidently they then led such insignificant lives that we never hear of them again, either in scripture or any other historical record. But Isaac, the one who “lost” the struggle and meekly moved onward? His fame has continued for millennia.

In the long run, it pays to be honorable.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 25:7-10

7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;

10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

Here we have the end of Abraham’s story. 175 years, many of them spent in tents beneath the stars, but with numerous travels in between. For years he waited for his promised son, and in the end he sired not one, but two, great nations. He raised a mighty household, fought in battle, and was a digger of wells. His death brought back together his two first sons, Isaac and Ishmael, who laid him to rest with his wife, Sarah, in the cave he purchased for them.

Looking back at his story what stands out to me is that Abraham was steady and flexible at the same time, like a strong reed. His experiences required a great deal of shifting and adapting, moving with life as it rose and fell, yet through all that change he also maintained a steady faith in Jehovah, and followed God’s instructions to the letter. He was bold enough to campaign to God that Sodom and Gomorrah should be spared for the sake of the righteous, but also willing to acquiesce in the event that those righteous could not be found.

Another quality that stands out is Abraham’s great trust that things would work out. When he and Lot parted ways he accepted the worse portion of land. When Lot was again captured by armies he gave battle to them. When instructed to set Ishmael and his mother free he did so. When tasked with sacrificing his own son he complied. None of these were pleasant tasks, things that anyone would naturally want to do, things that one would expect to find success in. But he did them all anyway, and as he had been promised, all of them worked out for his good.

The third quality that stands out to me is Abraham’s deep sense of duty. All throughout his story we see examples of him giving his God, his family, and his neighbor what each of them is due. He treated them all with courtesy, even when he had received offense from them or their household, as in the case of Abimelech’s servants. Two scenes that particularly show Abraham’s good manners is how he receives the three heavenly messengers before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and how he negotiates with Ephron to buy the burying place for Sarah.

Abraham made a deep influence on the lives of those who knew him, but his heritage at this point was very small. The righteous nation God had promised would not manifest for a few generations more, but when it did it would be built upon the foundation that he so faithfully laid down.

Spiritual Analysis- Genesis 19:17-22

17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:

19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:

20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.

22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

Even in the midst of being driven from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot requested a change of plans, asking that he be permitted to dwell in a nearby city rather than the mountains above. God acquiesced, allowing Lot the preferred refuge.

And here we see a great contrast between Lot’s fate and Abraham’s. When these two first parted ways Lot chose for himself the seemingly better land: the well-watered plain of Jordan, leaving Abraham to camp under the stars in Canaan. But now Lot is being driven from his home, about to watch the land he chose burned by fire and brimstone, and fleeing to a refuge that is nothing more than a footnote. Meanwhile Abraham has been given a new name, promised the entirety of Canaan, and will be the father of a righteous nation. Where Abraham has a legacy that lasts to this day, Lot has been all but forgotten.

Whether this was all because of Lot’s own folly, or simply because the Lord had a different destiny for him, I cannot say. The biblical record on him is far too brief to have a complete picture of the man.