The Meaning of Genesis 21:32 Explained

Genesis 21:32

KJV: Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

YLT: And they make a covenant in Beer-Sheba, and Abimelech riseth -- Phichol also, head of his host -- and they turn back unto the land of the Philistines;

Darby: And they made a covenant at Beer-sheba. And Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the captain of his host, and returned into the land of the Philistines.

ASV: So they made a covenant at Beer-sheba. And Abimelech rose up, and Phicol the captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

What does Genesis 21:32 Mean?

Context Summary

Genesis 21:22-34 - Abraham And Abimelech Covenant
Abimelech was impressed with Abraham's growing prosperity. He felt that it could not be explained on merely natural grounds. "God is with thee in all that thou doest." He sought, therefore, to secure the well-being of himself and his kingdom by forming an amicable treaty. Abraham immediately indicated that, while willing to meet him, they must first have a clear understanding about a certain injustice which he had suffered. As our Lord taught afterward, he showed Abimelech his fault as between them alone, Matthew 18:15. The matter was easily adjusted by the king's frank disavowal of his servants' action. In lieu of written documents the seven lambs would be a perpetual sign and token of Abraham's claim to the well, henceforth known as "the well of the oath." The tamarisk was the second of these natural title-deeds. Wherever the religious man dwells he should pray, and leave behind him trees and wells. [source]

Chapter Summary: Genesis 21

1  Isaac is born, and circumcised
6  Sarah's joy
8  Isaac is weaned
9  Hagar and Ishmael sent away
15  Hagar in distress
17  The angel relieves and comforts her
23  Abimelech's covenant with Abraham at Beersheba

What do the individual words in Genesis 21:32 mean?

Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba so rose Abimelech and Phichol the commander of his army and they returned to the land of the Philistines
וַיִּכְרְת֥וּ בְרִ֖ית בִּבְאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיָּ֣קָם אֲבִימֶ֗לֶךְ וּפִיכֹל֙ שַׂר־ צְבָא֔וֹ וַיָּשֻׁ֖בוּ אֶל־ אֶ֥רֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּֽים

וַיִּכְרְת֥וּ  Thus  they  made 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: כָּרַת  
Sense: to cut, cut off, cut down, cut off a body part, cut out, eliminate, kill, cut a covenant.
בְרִ֖ית  a  covenant 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: בְּרִית  
Sense: covenant, alliance, pledge.
בִּבְאֵ֣ר  at 
Parse: Preposition
שָׁ֑בַע  Beersheba 
Parse: Preposition, Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: בְּאֵר 
Sense: a city at the south edge of Israel.
וַיָּ֣קָם  so  rose 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: קוּם 
Sense: to rise, arise, stand, rise up, stand up.
אֲבִימֶ֗לֶךְ  Abimelech 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: אֲבִימֶלֶךְ  
Sense: king of Gerar in Abraham’s time.
וּפִיכֹל֙  and  Phichol 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: פִּיכֹל  
Sense: chief captain of the army of king Abimelech of the Philistines of Gerar in the days of Abraham and Isaac.
שַׂר־  the  commander 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: סָרַר 
Sense: prince, ruler, leader, chief, chieftain, official, captain.
צְבָא֔וֹ  of  his  army 
Parse: Noun, common singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: צָבָא 
Sense: that which goes forth, army, war, warfare, host.
וַיָּשֻׁ֖בוּ  and  they  returned 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: שׁוּב  
Sense: to return, turn back.
אֶ֥רֶץ  the  land 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct
Root: אֶרֶץ  
Sense: land, earth.
פְּלִשְׁתִּֽים  of  the  Philistines 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine plural
Root: פְּלִשְׁתִּי  
Sense: an inhabitant of Philistia; descendants of Mizraim who immigrated from Caphtor (Crete?) to the western seacoast of Canaan.