"Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth. And Abimelech said to Isaac, 'Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we'" (Gen. 26:15,16). Isaac was willing to be a peacemaker and relocate his family, servants, flocks, and great wealth. He moved his camp to the valley of Gerar. This was not far enough, however, for him to avoid all problems. Upon moving he would have to quickly find a suitable source for water for his flocks and people. He dug again a couple of wells that had been dug in Abraham's day but since had been filled in by the Philistines. The herdsman of Gerar argued over two wells they dug, so they moved again. Finally, they dug a well that no one wanted to quarrel over! "So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, 'For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land'" (26:22).
From there, Isaac went to Beersheba. God appeared to him, saying - "I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham's sake" (26:24). Isaac worshiped God and his servants dug another well. Isaac's blessings were the result of his relationship to the great man of faith, Abraham. God was blessing Isaac for Abraham's sake.
"Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol the commander of his army. And Isaac said to them, 'Why have you have come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?' But they said, 'We have certainly seen that the LORD is with you. So we said, "Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD"'" (26:26-29).
It appears that they are growing more and more afraid of Isaac and his increasing strength. So they seek a covenant with him. Although they had not treated him as a friend (by sending him away and taking his wells), they had not been violent toward him. Isaac desires peace and makes a feast for them. They make an oath early the next morning and Isaac then sends them on their way.
The chapter closes with some disturbing information about Isaac's oldest son - "When Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah" (26:34,35). It was bad enough to marry one Canaanite woman, but two?! Abraham took care to ensure that Isaac would not marry a Canaanite woman. It appears that Isaac did not take the same care with Esau, unless his oldest son simply rebelled against his father's wisdom (which is quite possible). A lesson that can be learned here is simple: If we fail to train our children to marry wisely, we too will have grief! Christian parents should train their children from their youth to seek first the kingdom of God in all things--especially in the selection of a mate (cf. Matt. 6:33).