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Why fight over a well?

Why fight over a well? Wells are of great importance in the hot, dry climates around the world. Because lack of water was a constant threat, both military generals and civilian travelers would often plan their routes according to the location of wells. (See 21:25–31.)

What is the Negeb?

What is the Negeb? The Negeb (20:1) is a dry area of rolling hills in southern Israel. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived there. Hagar sought refuge in the Negeb. Later, it provided refuge for Israelites fleeing from invading armies.

The city gate

The city gate was a place where leaders made key decisions (Prov. 31:23; Lam. 5:14). Lot’s presence at the city gate (Gen. 19:1) shows that he had a position of importance in Sodom.


Isaac means “he laughs.” When Abraham and Sarah heard that they were going to have a son in their old age, they both laughed (17:17; 18:12). When Isaac was born, however, they and all their friends laughed with joy (21:6)!


Altars were tables or platforms used for presenting sacrifices to God. They could be built of stone, mud-brick, or dirt mounds. The first altar mentioned in the Bible is the one Noah built after the flood (8:20; see also 12:8).