“He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.”  So that place was called Beersheba,d because the two men swore an oath there.  After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God. And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.”  Gen. 21:30-33

The majority of narrative for this portion of scripture is over until we move on to Abraham’s next trial – the binding of Isaac.  Some final notes on the last few verses of Genesis 21:

Verses 30-31 – Beersheba seems to mean the “Well of Seven” (referring to the seven sheep) , or the “Well of Oath”. (Plaut)  Beersheba is at the edge of the desert, and here Abraham transitions from a nomadic lifestyle to a more settled lifestyle (Louis Isaac Rabinowitz, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 3 1969, pg. 13s)

Verse 32 – A reference is made to “the land of the Philistines”, however it appears the Philistines were not living there until the 12th century BC – long after our narrative takes place – even after the time of Moses, the purported writer of Genesis. Modern scholars have no problem with a theory of multiple authorship of the Torah, and as such see this as a later insertion into the text. (Plaut)

Verse 33 – Abraham plants a “Tamarisk” tree. Due to the Hebrew used, it is uncertain what kind of actual tree was planted.

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