By Mary Vee
Abraham is still living near Gerar, a city on the southwest side of the Promised Land. Abimelech is still king. The people who live in the area are called Philistines. Sound familiar?
One day King Abimelech called Phichol, the commander of his army, for a meeting. "Do you remember the man, Abraham, who came to live in our city several years ago?"
"Why yes, my liege. He's prospered here in our land. I've kept an eye on him. His cattle and sheep have increased tremendously, as well as the number of his servants."
"Yes, I've seen the same progress and it concerns me. Clearly his God is with him. What if his servants fight with our people and a war is started. Will his God destroy our people?"
"What would you have me do, my liege?"
"Let's pay him a visit."
They rode out to Abraham's camp and met with him outside his tent. Abimelech looked around the camp. "I've seen proof that your God is with you. You've prospered in our land. Promise me, you'll not cause any harm to me, my officials, or my family. Also promise to treat me as kindly as I've treated you for as long as you live here."
Abraham ran his fingers through his beard. "I promise. You've been very kind to me and I'm grateful. And for this reason, I'd like to tell you about a problem. Not too long ago my servants dug a well. Some of your servants attacked my men and stole the well. They've kept guards around the area to prevent us from taking any water."
"I don't know who's done this thing. This is the first time I've been told!" Abimelech turned to Phichol. "Did you know about this?"
"No, my liege."
Abraham signaled to his servant to bring sheep and oxen. Abraham took the animals and gave them to Abimelech. He set seven of the ewe lambs in front. "King Abimelech accept this gift as a covenant of my friendship. These lambs are set aside as a special gift to show I've dug the well we spoke about."
Abimelech smiled. "I'm thankful for this great gift and believe your word. Let's remain friends in this land. I'll see the well is returned to you."
Abimelech and Phichol returned to the palace. The next day Phichol received word that Abraham planted a new Tamarisk tree at the place they met. The note said Abraham named the tree Beersheba, which means "called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God".
Sometimes friends forget to be kind, sometimes friends need to forgive. Can you think of a time you needed to forgive a friend? Can you think of a time a friend needed to forgive you? How did Abraham's friendship with Abimelech turn out?