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Genesis 20

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Abraham tried to trick a big boss called Abimelek
1At one time, Abraham moved his camp south to the Negev desert, and he lived between the 2 towns called Kadesh and Shur. Then later, he moved his camp to a town called Gerar. 2While Abraham and Sarah were in Gerar, Abraham told everyone that his wife, Sarah, was his sister, not his wife. The big boss of Gerar was called Abimelek. He believed Abraham, so he sent somebody to get Sarah so that he could marry her.#Genesis 12:13; 26:7
3God was not happy that Abimelek was going to marry Sarah, so one night he gave Abimelek a dream, and in that dream, God told him, “You are going to die. You took Sarah to be your wife, but she is already married to Abraham.”
4Abimelek said, “But God, I haven’t married Sarah yet. I have not slept with her, like a man sleeps with his wife. Me and my people, we haven’t done anything wrong. Will you kill us for nothing? 5Abraham told me himself that Sarah was his sister. And she said that Abraham was her brother. I didn’t know that she was already married to him. I didn’t want to do anything wrong.”
6God kept talking to him in that dream. He said, “Yes, I know that you didn’t want to do anything wrong. You didn’t know that Sarah was a married woman. That’s why I did not let you touch her. I stopped you from doing a bad thing. 7So now, give Sarah back to Abraham. He is my special man, and he will pray for you, so that you will not die. But I’m telling you, if you don’t give her back to Abraham, I will kill you, and I will kill everyone that lives with you.”
8So early in the morning, Abimelek called a meeting for all his important workers. He told them everything that God said, and they were all very frightened. 9Then Abimelek sent somebody to get Abraham to come to that meeting. Abimelek said to Abraham, “Look, you have made trouble for me and my people. What did I do to you, so that you pay me back with this trouble? You have done a bad thing to us. 10Why did you do that? Why did you tell us that Sarah is your sister?”
11Abraham said, “I’m sorry. I thought that nobody here respected God, so I was frightened of you mob. I reckoned that you would kill me so that you can marry Sarah. 12But anyway, Sarah really is my sister. We have the same father, but different mothers.” You see, in Abraham’s culture, men could marry their half-sisters.
13Then Abraham said, “God told me to leave my father’s country, so we moved around from place to place, and I was frightened of the people. So I told Sarah, ‘Be good to me and tell everyone that you are my sister. Then I will be safe.’ ”
14Then Abimelek did what God told him to do. He gave Sarah back to Abraham, and he also gave him some sheep, and some goats, and some cows, and some bulls, and some workers, both men and women. 15And Abimelek said to Abraham, “Friend, look around at all my country. You can live anywhere you like in this country.” 16Then Abimelek said to Sarah, “I’m giving Abraham, your brother, a lot of money, to pay for the trouble I gave you. I’m giving him 1,000 pieces of silver money to show your mob, and everyone else, that you did nothing wrong.”
17-18Then Abraham prayed to God and asked him to make Abimelek and his mob better. You see, before, at the time when Abimelek got Sarah so that he could marry her, God made Abimelek sick and stopped all the women in Abimelek’s house from having babies. But then God talked to Abimelek, and Abimelek gave Sarah back to Abraham. So then Abraham prayed to God, and God made Abimelek better, and he made Abimelek’s wife better, and he made all the women that lived in Abimelek’s house better too, so that they had babies again.
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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.