Geology made Egypt drought resistant. A saltwater delta turns into the Nile, flowing south it creates a robust ecosystem that is all but famine-proof. Northern California is much the same. The Pacific Ocean flows deep into the state with the waters creating the Sacramento delta, which then gives birth to a vast ecosystem perfect for farming.
Despite the famine, God did not want Isaac in Egypt, so he stayed put.
LIKE FATHER. LIKE SON
Isaac ventured to Gerar, and just like dad, allowed his wife to be known as his sister. And just like God, the family is again saved from disaster.
Verse 8 says Isaac was “laughing with his wife.” The word for laughing is a version of Isaac’s name, since his name means laughter, it seems like a way of saying Isaac is being Isaac.
The King James Bible says Isaac and Rebekah were sporting, an old English phrase about flirting or foreplay, which was exactly what was going on. The NIV gets it right, the word caressing is used to show the kind of marital interaction Isaac and Rebekah were enjoying.
When asked about his relationship with Rebekah, Isaac tells the truth about his lie, and Abimelech warns his people to leave them alone.
Then a miracle took place, in drought conditions, Isaac sowed into the land and reaped a bounty. Against impossible odds he wins big, becoming very wealthy.
With no modern plumbing, life revolved around wells and other kinds of fresh bodies of water.
It was common for tribal people to argue about water rights, and those kinds of political arguments exist even to this day. Isaac moved away from the fight, believing God would lead him to a water source no one would fight about.
God visited him at night and gave Isaac the same blessing as his father, mentioning Abraham by name. Abimelech finally woke up to the permanent blessing on Isaac and made peace with him.
A new well is found, they named it Beersheba, which means Well of Oath, or Well of Seven.
The last verse in the chapter is chilling, Esau marries with the intent of making life bitter for his parents, but life will only get more bitter for him, for Momma’s boy Jacob is about to steal Esau’s blessing.