a. A potential problem. After Abimelech and Abraham make this verbal contract to show kindness toward each other, Abraham brings up something that might threaten that devotion to each other. Abraham explains that one of the wells that he has dug has been seized by Abimelech’s servants. Abimelech assures Abraham that he didn’t know how had seized the well which clearly means that he did not ask his servants to do this. He also points out that this is the first time that Abraham has mentioned this which means that Abimelech is not guilty of refusing to do anything about the situation. Abimelech also says that this is the first he has heard of it and so he is not guilty of allowing this to happen. Basically, what Abimelech is saying is that this situation with the well is not a point of contention because I had nothing to do with and if I knew about I would have corrected it. b. Cutting the covenant. Next we see Abraham bringing out some sheep and oxen and give them to Abimelech but there are seven ewe lambs that he sets aside. Now, what do you suppose happened to the other sheep and oxen? Do remember what happened in chapter 15? That is when God made the covenant with Abraham. Here we have another example of a covenant being cut. Abimelech would take the animals, cut them in half and the two men would walk between them. This agreement of mutual kindness is now more than a verbal oath but a covenant in blood. Violation of this would result in death. c. The earnest money. Abimelech notices the seven lambs that were set apart from the animals to be sacrificed. He asks Abraham, what’s with these other animals? What are those for? Abraham says that they are a gift to him as a witness that he dug the well. The seven lambs are a payment to Abimelech for the rights to use the well. Abimelech’s acceptance of the lambs is his acknowledgment of this contract. It was like earnest money. d. Naming the well. The scene ends with the naming of the location, Beersheba. Moses says that it was called this because both of them swore and oath. The name Beersheba is a play on words. The wrote word in Hebrew is the same for oath and the word seven. So this it could mean the well of oath or swearing or the well of seven, referring to the seven ewe lambs. Abraham probably had both ideas in mind when the name was chosen. Beersheba is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. It becomes the reference point for the south of Israel. That’s why you find the phrase, “From Dan to Beersheba,” meaning the whole land of Israel. Isaac would have a similar dispute over water years later at Beersheba. And it was a stop on Jacob’s journey into Egypt. At Beersheba, as he was leaving Canaan, he offered sacrifices to God. After the covenant was cut and the place named Abimelech and Phicol return back home.