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Genesis 20

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Chapter 20
Abraham and Abimelech
1Abraham travelled south to the Negev desert. He lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a time he stayed in Gerar. 2While he was there, Abraham told people that his wife, Sarah, was his sister. Because of this, the king of Gerar took Sarah so that she would become his wife. The king's name was Abimelech.
3But God appeared to Abimelech in a dream. He said to Abimelech, ‘Now you will die! The woman that you have taken to be your wife is already a married woman.’
4But Abimelech had not yet touched Sarah. He said to God, ‘Lord, I have not done anything wrong. Surely you will not destroy me and my people. 5Abraham told me that Sarah was his sister. And she herself said, “I am his sister.” So I am not guilty! I did not think that I was doing a bad thing.’
6God spoke to Abimelech again in a dream. He said, ‘That is true. You did not think that you were doing something wrong. I know that. So I did not let you touch her. I stopped you from doing anything wrong against me. 7You must now give her back to her husband. He is a prophet and he will pray for you. Because of that, you will not die. But if you do not give her back, you and all your people will surely die.’
8Early the next morning, Abimelech called together his officers. He told them what had happened. When the officers heard about it, they were very afraid. 9Abimelech called Abraham to come to him. He said to Abraham, ‘Why have you done this bad thing against us? I have not done anything wrong against you. Now you have made me and the people in my kingdom guilty of a very bad thing. Nobody should ever do the things that you have done to me.’ 10Abimelech asked Abraham, ‘What caused you to do this?’
11Abraham replied, ‘I did it because I was afraid. I thought, “The people here do not respect God. They will kill me so that they can take my wife from me.” #20:11 Verses 1-11 are like Genesis 12:11-20. Again, Abraham does not think that God will keep him safe. 12And also, she really is my sister. She is the daughter of my father. But she is not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife. 13God told me to leave my father's house and to travel. At that time I said to Sarah, “This is how you can show that you love me. Everywhere we go, tell people that I am your brother.” ’
14Then Abimelech brought sheep and cows to give to Abraham. He also gave to Abraham male and female servants. And he gave Sarah back to Abraham. 15Abimelech said, ‘Look! See my land all round you. Go and live anywhere that you want to live.’
16Abimelech said to Sarah, ‘I have given 1,000 pieces of silver to your brother. #20:16 Abimelech is very kind. He calls Abraham Sarah's brother, just like Abraham had said. He shows that people in that place did respect God. So Abraham had been wrong to be afraid. This is to show everyone that you yourself did nothing wrong. It will pay you for any trouble that you have received.’
17Then Abraham prayed to God. As a result, God made Abimelech become well again. He also made Abimelech's wife and his female slaves become well, so that they could have children again. 18The Lord had made them unable to have children. He did this because of what happened to Abraham's wife, Sarah.
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1Abraham traveled towards the Negev, staying between Kadesh and Shur. After that he moved on to live in Gerar. 2During his time there, when Abraham told people about his wife Sarah, he said, “She's my sister.” So Abimelech,#20:2. “Abimelech” means “my father is the king,” or “my father is Molech,” a Canaanite god. This may well have been a formal title rather than a personal name (see also 26:8). king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her to become one of his wives.#20:2. “To become one of his wives”: supplied for clarity.
3But God appeared to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “Listen! You're going to die because the woman you've taken is already married—she has a husband.”
4Abimelech hadn't touched Sarah, and he asked, “Lord, do you kill good people? 5Didn't Abraham tell me himself, ‘She's my sister,’ and didn't Sarah also say, ‘He's my brother’? I did this in all innocence—my conscience is clear!”
6God told him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this in all innocence, so I prevented you from sinning against me. That's why I didn't let you touch her. 7Send the man's wife back to him. He's a prophet. He will pray for you, and you will live. But if you don't send her back to him, you should know for sure that you and all your family will die.”
8Abimelech got up early in the morning and called all his servants together. He explained everything that had happened, and they were all terrified. 9Then Abimelech summoned Abraham and asked him “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you should treat me like this, bringing this terrible sin on me and my kingdom? You've done things to me that no one should ever do!”
10Then Abimelech asked Abraham “What were you thinking when you did this?”
11“Well, I thought to myself, ‘Nobody respects God in this place. They'll kill me just to get my wife,’” Abraham replied. 12“Anyway, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father but not my mother, and I married her. 13Since my God made me move far away from my family home, I told her, ‘If you really love me, then wherever you go with me you must tell people: He's my brother.’”
14Then Abimelech gave Abraham gifts of sheep, cattle, and male and female slaves, and returned his wife Sarah to him. 15Abimelech told him, “Look over my land. You can choose to live anywhere you like.” 16Abimelech also told Sarah, “Notice that I'm giving your brother a thousand pieces of silver. This is to compensate you for the wrong done to you in the eyes of everyone with you, and to make sure that your name is publicly cleared.”
17Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female slaves, so that they could have children again. 18For the Lord had made all the women unable to have children because Abraham's wife, Sarah, had been taken.#20:18. “Was taken”: supplied for clarity.