Family ties. Laban took responsibility for his sister Rebekah (24:29-51). Apparently their father, who was still alive, was unable to do so.
Two biblical firsts. The burial of Sarah (23:19) is the first biblical record of a burial. Abraham’s purchase of the burial plot is also the first biblical record of a business transaction.
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? 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 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)!
Taking servants as wives. It was common in ancient cultures for a married man to take a servant as a wife (16:2). But this was contrary to God’s original design for marriage (2:24).
Non-Levite Priests? Melchizedek (14:17–21) and Jesus Christ are the only approved priests in the Bible who were not Levites. The NT book of Hebrews explains why this is important.
Abram believed the Lord, and that was the basis for God counting him as righteous. Such faith remains the basis for God’s justification of Christians in the NT (Gal. 2:16).
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).