Genesis 21:22-34 Abraham’s Covenant with Abimelech

Genesis 21:22-34 Abraham’s Covenant with Abimelech CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

In this lesson, we will study some interesting truths concerning the following four facts: 1) Abraham’s considerable material wealth; 2) Abraham’s covenant with Abimelech; 3) Abraham’s well; and, 4) Abraham’s grove.


Abraham’s Wealth (21:22)

In the Old Testament, the better a man’s relationship with God, the more prosperous he was (in other words his “salvation” was connected with material blessings).  And this prosperity was not only noticeable to every one around him; everyone knew that “God was with him,” (v. 22).  Look at the following examples:


  • Gen. 26:28 – Abimelech saw that the Lord was with Isaac (Gen. 26:12-14);
  • Gen. 39:3 – Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph (Gen. 41:38-40);
  • Gen. 39:21-23 – The keeper of the prison saw that the Lord was with Joseph;
  • 1 Sam. 3:19-20 – All Israel knew that the Lord was with Samuel;
  • 2 Chr. 1:1 – All the kings of the earth knew that the Lord was with Solomon (2 Chr. 9:23, 1 Ki. 10:7-9).


Job and his friends knew this principle, and that’s one of the reasons that Job had such a hard time understanding why he was being persecuted (Job 8:6; 22:23-25).  And, of course, when the trial was over, God doubled Job’s wealth (Job 42:10) as a sign of His blessing.


Now, in the New Testament, things were a lot different.  Prosperity was no longer the sign of God’s blessings bestowed upon a man who was in good fellowship with him.  Jesus and Paul were two of the finest examples of men in excellent fellowship with the Father and neither of them ever possessed much wealth (Lk. 9:58; Jn. 19:23-24; Phil. 4:11-12).


Consequently, when the Lord told the disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it was for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Lk. 18:25), they were shocked and asked “Who then can be saved?”   The wealth of the Laodicean church in Rev. 3:17 was certainly not God’s material blessing, for they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.  They made God sick (Rev. 3:16).  What a contrast to the Old Testament.
Abraham’s Covenant (21:23-32)

This covenant is the first covenant between a Jew and a Gentile.  It is a covenant of peace, like a “peace treaty.”  It foreshadows subsequent covenants of “peace” with Gentiles.  Every one of them gets broken.  These eventually lead to a “peaceful” covenant with the Antichrist right before Armageddon, the greatest war the world has yet to see.


Here are some examples:

Covenant made Jew Gentile Cov’t broken
Gen. 26:26-31 Isaac Abimelech Jud. 3:31; 14:4
Gen. 31:44-53 Jacob Laban 2 Sam. 8:5-6
Josh. 9:3-19 Joshua Gibeonites 2 Sam. 21:1
1 Ki. 20:34 Ahab Benhadad 1 Ki. 22:1, 35
Dan. 9:27 ?? Antichrist Dan. 9:27


Abraham’s Well (21:30-32)

Beersheba means “the well of the oath.”  Abimelech allowed Abraham to dwell in this land and covenanted to protect Abraham’s interest in this well from violent theft (v. 25).  This land subsequently became part of the possession of the children of Israel when they moved into Canaan (Josh. 15:21, 28; 2 Sam. 3:10).


Abraham’s Grove (21:33-34)

When Abraham called on the name of the Lord in Beersheba, he planted a grove.  While this was acceptable to the Lord in Abraham’s day, it was later prohibited (Deut. 16:21, under the law).  That’s because groves became connected with the worship of false gods (Jud. 16:25-30; 1 Ki. 15:13, 16:33; 2 Ki. 17:16).  As with so many things that start out right, they wind up bad.  The justification for continuing to do them is, “Well, Abraham did it so why can’t we?”  Well, for one thing, Abraham was calling “on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God,” (v.34), and they were calling on false gods!!