Parshat Vayeitzei begins: "And Jacob went out of Be'er Sheba, and he went to Charan."1

Keying on the fact that be’er sheba can mean “well of oath” or “well of seven,” the Midrash2 tells us he left in order that Abimelech (king of the Philistines) wouldn't be able to ask him to take the same oath his grandfather and father took, and cause his children's joy to wait seven generations.

What does this mean?

Abraham and Isaac made peace agreements with Abimelech, both in the form of an oath. The Midrash3 tells us that the consequence of those oaths was that the Jewish people's entry into the land of Israel was pushed off for seven generations. Abraham's oath pushed it off until the generation of Moses, and Isaac's oath added another generation, until Joshua, who conquered the land, and was the seventh generation from Isaac.4

It seems that Abraham and Isaac weren't afraid to take an oath and make a peace agreement with Abimelech, even though it would push off the entry into the land. Why was Jacob the only one afraid to take an oath of peace with Abimelech?