At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army said to Abraham, “God is with you in all that you do. Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.” And Abraham said, “I will swear.”
When Abraham reproved Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized, Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today.” So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock apart. And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?” He said, “These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that this may be a witness for me that I dug this well.” Therefore that place was called Beersheba, because there both of them swore an oath. So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army rose up and returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned many days in the land of the Philistines.
Comment: I sometimes think that we assume that all the difficulties of living come with modernity. But folks, those some thousands of years ago had to walk wisely, as we do. Abimelech and Abraham as seen over the past few days were on solid covenantal terms. Therefore Abraham set his workers to dig a well for his flocks. Without referring to King Abimelech, the king’s people seized the wells. Wells are precious when herding in desert areas. So Abraham hastens to Abimelech’s palace and faces him with the situation. When seen previously Abimelech had acted very honourably and he does so again. Abraham’s gift to Abimelech was very generous. If ewes are young, and these were we can expect them to produce lambs for about seven years. Assuming half the lambs are males and half ewes at the end of the year there will 3 0r 4 for the table and the next year not seven but 10 or 11 lambs. The next year 5 or 6 for the table and 6or 5 to be added to the ewes – that is the next year 15-17 lambs and so on. Soon Abimelech will have another decent little flock. The deal is sealed and Abraham goes on using the well. It is a bargain when both sides are happy!
Prayer: Help us to be ‘straight’ and guide us to deal with ‘straight’ partners.