We have been introduced to Abimelech back in chapter twenty. He recognized, the hard way, that Abraham's God was very powerful and would protect Abraham. Abimelech was superior to Abraham militarily and politically, but he feared Abraham's God.
I. Abimelech's Plea. v22-24
A. His motives are obvious.
1. When God spoke to Abimelech in a dream, He told him several things about Abraham.
2. He told him that Abraham was a prophet.
3. Also that he would pray for him and that he would live.
B. Abimelech judged others by himself.
1. He knew how he would treat those who would be his rivals.
2. He feared Abraham because of his God.
3. He pleas for Abraham to deal with him and his children in honesty and in kindness.
4. He reminds Abraham that he had dealt kindly with him.
5. Remember that he was only react- ing out of fear because God said he was a dead man if he didn't do as God had commanded.
C. Abraham agrees to Abimelech's request.
II. Abimelech's Pledge. v25-31
A. Abraham's reproof.
1. He had dug a well, which was a valuable possession in such a dry and thirsty land.
2. Abimelech's servants had taken the well with force and Abraham had backed off from the confrontation.
3. Now Abraham brings the subject up since Abimelech wants to be treated kindly and honestly.
4. Abimelech denies any knowledge of the incident.
B. Abraham's covenant.
1. Abraham gave sheep and oxen as a show of friendship.
2. He set aside seven lambs to serve as the price of the well.
3. Abimelech's acceptance indicated that he was acknowledging the fact that the well was Abraham's.
4. They called the place Beer-sheba which means "well of the seven" or "well of the oath".
III. Abimelech's Parting. v32-34
A. Abimelech and his military advisor returned to the land of the Philistines.
1. They had accomplished their goals.
2. They had a covenant with Abraham which would protect them from any possible future attacks.
3. They surrendered a well that wasn't theirs in the first place and received Abraham's gifts as well.
B. Abraham worshipped the Lord at Beer-sheba.
1. He planted a grove as a memorial to what had taken place there.
2. This is not to be misunderstood as a grove of idols, it was most likely a tree to mark the occasion.
C. Abraham sojourned many days.
1. We are not told how long, but these days were peaceful days.
2. During this time Isaac grew to a young man.
3. And God was preparing Abraham for the greatest test of his faith.