“Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. Isaac went to Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines. Yahweh appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt. Settle in the land that I will show you. Reside in this land as an alien, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will multiply your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and will give to your offspring all these lands. All the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”
Now a famine came upon the land, apparently this happened quite a bit. So Isaac went to Gerar where King Abimelech of the Philistines, had concluded an alliance with Abraham in chapter 21. Anyway, this is friendly territory, south of Gaza. Yahweh told Isaac not to go to Egypt, but to go to the Philistines so that he could be an alien resident with lots of great land and people as was promised to Abraham, his father.
“Then Isaac dwelt in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, ‘She is my sister.’ He was afraid to say, ‘My wife, thinking, ‘or else the men of the place might kill me for the sake of Rebekah, because she is attractive in appearance.’ When Isaac had been there a long time, King Abimelech of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw him fondling his wife Rebekah. So Abimelech called for Isaac, and said, ‘So she is your wife! Why then did you say, `She is my sister’? Isaac said to him, ‘Because I thought I might die because of her.’ Abimelech said, ‘What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.’ So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, ‘Whoever touches this man or his wife shall be put to death.’ Isaac sowed seed in that land, and in the same year reaped a hundredfold. Yahweh blessed him, and he became rich. He prospered more and more, until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds, and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him.”
Isaac told the same lie as his father, when he said that Rebekah was his sister and not his wife, fearing for his own life. However, one day King Abimelech saw Isaac foundling Rebekah and called him in to find out what was going on. He admonished Isaac by saying you could have brought great guilt to us if one of my people had slept with her. Finally, Abimelech issued a decree that no one should touch Isaac or his wife Rebekah. Isaac sowed seed that rendered a hundredfold. As he became rich and prospered with flocks, herds, and a great household, the Philistines began to envy him.