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Is Isaac’s failure with Abimelech a mix-up from Chapter 20 and 26?

Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. Genesis 20:1-2

When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.” When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.” Genesis 26:7-9

At first glance, it appears someone has messed up the stories, substituting Isaac for Abraham. These could be two different kings with the same name (one comes from a region called Gerar and the other is the king of the Philistines). They could also be father and son.

But maybe these stories are supposed to appear similar.

Isaac is definitely his father’s son. Isaac may have heard about this incident (he had not been born when it happened) and quickly defaulted, in a moment of panic, to the sin of his father to get out of a tricky situation.

The tricking of Abimelech had a positive outcome with Abraham: it brought blessing and peace to Abraham. Maybe Isaac, a little cunning himself, decided to pull the same trick to get the same results. Maybe he caressed Rebekah in public to get the same reaction from the king. Maybe he dug the wells to stake his claim, forcing Gerar into a peace treaty.

God could have inspired the same motivation in Isaac to judge the pagan Philistines. The more goods that come to Isaac, the more judgment on this godless nation. God used the same incident, two times, to show these nations that they just don’t learn from their mistakes.