OU TORAHDedicated by the Jacobs and Chill Families in Memory of Harold and Pearl Jacobs
Dora Bas Rivka Silver O'H
"As long as you're here, eat something..."
Avimelech and his general, Fichol, made a pact with Avraham. They acknowledged that G-d was with him and Avimelech asked that Avraham not deal falsely with him, his children or his grandchildren. (This was not an eternal pact, but it had a pretty good run.) Avraham agreed, then he confronted Avimelech about the matter of a well, which Avimelech's workers had seized by force. Avimelech assured Avraham that this was the first he had heard of it.
Avraham gave Avimelech sheep and cattle as a sign of their pact, but he put seven ewes aside. Avimelech asked why and Avraham informed him that these sheep were being given to Avimelech as a testimony that Avraham had dug the well. The place was therefore called Be'er-Sheva, meaning "the well of seven."
Avraham had an eishel in Be'er-Sheva, and he lived there for a good long time. (What's an eishel? The Talmud in Sotah 10a records two opinions: an orchard and an inn. In either event, it was a place where Avraham accommodated travelers. Rashi there tells us that "eishel" is an abbreviation for achilah, shesiyah, levaya - food, drink and an escort - the three principle things a host provides for his guests.)