22 ¶ And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: 23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. 24 And Abraham said, I will swear. 25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away. 26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day. 27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. 28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? 30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. 31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them. 32 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.
33 ¶ And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.
This good king, perhaps on an inspection tour with his general, stated that he understood that God was with Abraham as he could see how God protected Abraham and blessed him. However, he had reason enough not to completely trust Abraham. So, he wanted to make an agreement that would protect his dynasty from any plans Abraham might have. He wanted Abraham’s promise and Abraham gave it to him. Abraham and Abimelech’s servants had a violent disagreement about a well Abraham had dug and an agreement was made to settle the issue as Abraham convinced Abimelech that the well was his own. The place where this covenant was made, in the land that Abimelech had given to Abraham, was named Beersheba, either after the wilderness of Beersheba in which Hagar was cast, or perhaps both names were added after, as Strong says Beersheba means, “well of the sevenfold oath.”
For men who tended sheep and cattle a well of water was a very important resource and important social and political events revolved around a well. We see examples of this in Genesis 29 and in Exodus 2, as here.
Where people think this occurred was the scene of one of the last great and successful cavalry charges in history during World War One in 1917.
Phichol may have been a title rather than a person’s individual name. Of course, people are often known by their titles, as in your doctor or a person holding a political office, or, as in, “the general said...”
Remember, as mentioned previously, that Abimelech is the name of a Philistine king or means king in that language just as Pharaoh is not a personal name but a title.
Genesis 20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
And later, we will be shown;
Genesis 26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
The Philistines, as a plural, is also Philistim.
Genesis 10:6 ¶ And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.…13 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 14 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.
Casluhim is the son of Mizraim, who is the son of Ham. The nursery, in a manner of speaking, where Isaac was brought forth, like the Hebrews later, will be in a land ruled by Ham’s descendants, as Mizraim was the founder of Egypt.
Genesis 50:11 And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.
Strong’s dictionary, and I am not saying that it is the only authority, but Strong’s says that Abelmizraim is translated from, “a meadow of Egypt,” as Mizraim was the name for Egypt. We get the word Egypt from the Greek word, Aigyptos, and the Latin, Aegyptus, for the Roman province of Egypt. But, we can be certain that the country was named after its founder at first, Mizraim. Mizraim is also inscribed in the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and is in the Armana tablets so it is, of course, of much older date than the word, Egypt.
Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for quite a while. What happens next is one of the most profoundly meaningful passage in terms of prophecy in the entire Old Testament.