In Bereishit 26:3 Hashem tells Yitzhak: "...and to your descendants I will give all these lands...".

In the next pasuk, Hashem says: "...and I will give to your descendants all these lands...".

Isn't this exactly what He told him one pasuk ago?

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    Just curious: is the focus of the question redundancy or proximity? Would it have been equally askable if the Torah simply recorded the same promise in two different places or if Hashem had promised it at two different times?
    – WAF
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 14:31
  • I have not looked at it, but from what I know of Torah poetry, I would not be surprised to find this being a 'seem' of two contrastable story lines which reflect eachother in reverse order. When I have time I'll try to see if this theory bares out.
    – avi
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 17:33

6 Answers 6


Perhaps it is part of a chiastic structure in the local area. Consider:

ויאמר אל תרד מצרימה שכן בארץ אשר אמר אליך: גור בארץ הזאת Commands

ואהיה עמך ואברכך General Blessing

כי לך ולזרעך אתן את כל הארצת האל The Land

והקמתי את השבעה אשר נשבעתי לאברהם אביך:‏ Promise to Avraham

והרביתי את זרעך ככוכבי השמים Promise to Avraham (cf. Breishit 22:16-17)

ונתתי לזרעך את כל הארצת האל The Land

והתברכו בזרעך כל גויי הארץ:‏ General Blessing

עקב אשר שמע אברהם בקלי וישמר משמרתי מצותי חקותי ותורתי:‏ Commands

and in English:

And He said: 'Go not down unto Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of. Sojourn in this land, Commands

and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; General Blessing

for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, The Land

and I will establish the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father; Promise to Avraham

and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, Promise to Avraham (cf. Breishit 22:16-17)

and will give unto thy seed all these lands; The Land

and by thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves; General Blessing

because that Abraham hearkened to My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.' Commands


Daas Sofrim explains that v. 3 is not Hashem's blessing, but rather an explanatory statement: "Remain in this land," He tells Yitzchak, "because it is the land that I will be giving to you and your children [and therefore this is where you belong]." Verse 4 is then Hashem adding a blessing (or rather, repeating the one He had previously given Avraham).

Daat Mikra suggests (and it looks like Malbim is saying something similar, although I don't quite understand him) that v. 3 is talking about the portions of Eretz Yisrael that the Avos themselves owned (and passed on to their children as a direct inheritance), while v. 4 refers to the (then future) conquest of the Land as a whole by the Jewish people.


From a straight pshat point of view, it sounds to me like passuk 3 is referring to the immediate future while passuk 4 is about the distant future. Passuk 3 is about what will happen both לְךָ and לְזַרְעֲךָ, presumably at a time when both Yizchak and his offspring are alive. In passuk 4, Hashem says וְנָתַתִּי לְזַרְעֲךָ אֵת כָּל-הָאֲרָצֹת, but only in the context of וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת-זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם. Yizchak only had two children. His zera would not multiply like the starts until much later. Another hint at this is that in passuk 3, Hashem outright says that he is going to bless Yizchak specifically (אֶהְיֶה עִמְּךָ וַאֲבָרְכֶךָּ). Passuk 4 however, is about a time when Yizchak will have long passed away, so it only mentions זַרְעֲךָ.

This is even better when combined with Double AA's answer about the chaiastic structure.


Rabbi Shlomo Kluger in his sefer Imrei Shefer explains that the reason for not only the repetition but also the fact that initially it says "to you and to your descendants" but later it says only "to your descendants", is because the teshuvah which they will do outside of Eretz Yisrael is not a complete teshuvah (he explains there why). But this teshuvah does at least effect the remembrance of the merit of the forefathers, and through this merit they will inherit Eretz Yisrael. But when they will be in Eretz Yisrael they will able to do a complete teshuvah, and thus they will inherit the land in their own merit.

Thus, initially Hashem says I will give the land "to you and to your descendants" - in your merit it will be given to your descendants, but later I will give it "to your descendants" alone - in their own merit.

Full text in English can be found here.


We often see repetition in the Tanach, sometimes it appears that even the entire storyline is repeated. This seems to be a more unique case in that the same exact words are used twice in a very small proximity. While one obvious and often use explanation is that the point must be important, but as you point out there must be more than that.

The first verse seems to be focused on Isaac, (I(Hashem) will be with you(Isaac), I will be with you, I will establish an oath with you). The second verse seems to be focused on the seeds, or his children, (I will multiply your seed, I will give your seed the land, and the nations will use your seed to bless themselves).

Another idea is that Isaac still need to be reassured that HIS seed would inherent the land, not his half-brother and therefore Hashem's repetition and stress throughout the two verses on YOUR seed can be understood as this reassurance.

As well, this entire chapter seems to quickly recap Abraham's life during Isaac's. Abraham had two covenants with Hashem (Brit and Covenant of the pieces) and here Isaac is given two covenants as well. The rest of the chapter has Isaac repeat Abraham's mistakes in Egypt. Does this duplication come here to show us the similarity between father and son?

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    Keep in mind that this Torah, not Nach. In Torah we learn from every word (even leter) that is either missing or redundant.
    – rony
    Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 8:50
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    Even in Nach it is important that each letter and word is analyzed. But you are correct, it does seem that I have not stressed this idea of each word/ letter being important, however Wouldn't these explanations continue with this idea? Differentiation between Isaac and his children; Hashem showing concern over Isaac's need for reassurance teaches us much about comparison; and recapping Avrahams's live certainly leaves open the need for more analysis of the father/son relationship. Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 13:54

So I went through this this shabbat, trying to find a way in which these two verses might be a seem between the stories going back in reverse order... however I was unable to find it.

There are a few parallels before and after this passage which could be used to explain the seem, but nothing that was clear and pashut to me. (For example, the fact that Avraham goes to Gerar, and that Yitzchak is about to go to Gerar, or that Sarai is Barren and that Rivkeh is Barren, also that Avraham has two sons, and a shift/confusion of birthright, and now Yaakov is about to buy the birthright from Esav... however these parallels are not in exactly the same mirrored order.)

However, what is obvious from the initial reading is that Gd is "quoting" to Issac, what he said to Avraham. (Thus the repetition). "I will bless you and your children, just as I said to Avraham, "I will bless you and your children."" However, if you go back to the passage of Avraham being promised that his children will be as numerous as the stars, and that his children will inherent the land, you find that the quote is not a direct quote. What Gd leaves out in his "quoting" of his previous promise, is the fact that his Children will be slaves to a foreign nation.

The lack of this detail of the promise (as apposed to the promise that mentions his children will be like the dust of the earth) might be what promotes various mefarshim to say that it is with Issac that the 400 years of slavery begin.

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