Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 20

20
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.
20
Abraham and Abimelech
1 Abraham journeyed from there to the Negev#tn Or “the South [country]”; Heb “the land of the Negev.”sn Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan. region and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he lived as a temporary resident#tn Heb “and he sojourned.” in Gerar, 2 Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her.
3 But God appeared#tn Heb “came.” to Abimelech in a dream at night and said to him, “You are as good as dead#tn Heb “Look, you [are] dead.” The Hebrew construction uses the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with a second person pronominal particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with by the participle. It is a highly rhetorical expression. because of the woman you have taken, for she is someone else’s wife.”#tn Heb “and she is owned by an owner.” The disjunctive clause is causal or explanatory in this case.
4 Now Abimelech had not gone near her. He said, “Lord,#tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay). would you really slaughter an innocent nation?#tn Apparently Abimelech assumes that God’s judgment will fall on his entire nation. Some, finding the reference to a nation problematic, prefer to emend the text and read, “Would you really kill someone who is innocent?” See E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB), 149. 5 Did Abraham#tn Heb “he”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity. not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said,#tn Heb “and she, even she.” ‘He is my brother.’ I have done this with a clear conscience#tn Heb “with the integrity of my heart.” and with innocent hands!”
6 Then in the dream God replied to him, “Yes, I know that you have done this with a clear conscience.#tn Heb “with the integrity of your heart.” That is why I have kept you#tn Heb “and I, even I, kept you.” from sinning against me and why#tn Heb “therefore.” I did not allow you to touch her. 7 But now give back the man’s wife. Indeed#tn Or “for,” if the particle is understood as causal (as many English translations do) rather than asseverative. he is a prophet#sn For a discussion of the term prophet see N. Walker, “What is a Nabhi?” ZAW 73 (1961): 99-100. and he will pray for you; thus you will live.#tn After the preceding jussive (or imperfect), the imperative with vav conjunctive here indicates result.sn He will pray for you that you may live. Abraham was known as a man of God whose prayer would be effectual. Ironically and sadly, he was also known as a liar. But if you don’t give her back,#tn Heb “if there is not you returning.” The suffix on the particle becomes the subject of the negated clause. know that you will surely die#tn The imperfect is preceded by the infinitive absolute to make the warning emphatic. along with all who belong to you.”
8 Early in the morning#tn Heb “And Abimelech rose early in the morning and he summoned.” Abimelech summoned#tn The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the preposition לְ (lamed) means “to summon.” all his servants. When he told them about all these things,#tn Heb “And he spoke all these things in their ears.” they#tn Heb “the men.” This has been replaced by the pronoun “they” in the translation for stylistic reasons. were terrified. 9 Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? What sin did I commit against you that would cause you to bring such great guilt on me and my kingdom?#tn Heb “How did I sin against you that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin?” The expression “great sin” refers to adultery. For discussion of the cultural background of the passage, see J. J. Rabinowitz, “The Great Sin in Ancient Egyptian Marriage Contracts,” JNES 18 (1959): 73, and W. L. Moran, “The Scandal of the ‘Great Sin’ at Ugarit,” JNES 18 (1959): 280-81. You have done things to me that should not be done!”#tn Heb “Deeds which should not be done you have done to me.” The imperfect has an obligatory nuance here. 10 Then Abimelech asked#tn Heb “And Abimelech said to.” Abraham, “What prompted you to do this thing?”#tn Heb “What did you see that you did this thing?” The question implies that Abraham had some motive for deceiving Abimelech.
11 Abraham replied, “Because I thought,#tn Heb “Because I said.” ‘Surely no one fears God in this place. They will kill me because of#tn Heb “over the matter of.” my wife.’ 12 What’s more,#tn Heb “but also.” she is indeed my sister, my father’s daughter, but not my mother’s daughter. She became my wife. 13 When God made me wander#tn The Hebrew verb is plural. This may be a case of grammatical agreement with the name for God, which is plural in form. However, when this plural name refers to the one true God, accompanying predicates are usually singular in form. Perhaps Abraham is accommodating his speech to Abimelech’s polytheistic perspective. (See GKC 463 §145.i.) If so, one should translate, “when the gods made me wander.” from my father’s house, I told her, ‘This is what you can do to show your loyalty to me:#tn Heb “This is your loyal deed which you can do for me.” Every place we go, say about me, “He is my brother.”’”
14 So Abimelech gave#tn Heb “took and gave.” sheep, cattle, and male and female servants to Abraham. He also gave his wife Sarah back to him. 15 Then Abimelech said, “Look, my land is before you; live wherever you please.”#tn Heb “In the [place that is] good in your eyes live!”
16 To Sarah he said, “Look, I have given a thousand pieces of silver#sn A thousand pieces [Heb “shekels”] of silver. The standards for weighing money varied considerably in the ancient Near East, but the generally accepted weight for the shekel is 11.5 grams (0.4 ounce). This makes the weight of silver here 11.5 kilograms, or 400 ounces (about 25 pounds). to your ‘brother.’#sn To your ‘brother.’ Note the way that the king refers to Abraham. Was he being sarcastic? It was surely a rebuke to Sarah. What is amazing is how patient this king was. It is proof that the fear of God was in that place, contrary to what Abraham believed (see v. 11). This is compensation for you so that you will stand vindicated before all who are with you.”#tn Heb “Look, it is for you a covering of the eyes, for all who are with you, and with all, and you are set right.” The exact meaning of the statement is unclear. Apparently it means that the gift of money somehow exonerates her in other people’s eyes. They will not look on her as compromised (see G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 2:74).
17 Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, as well as his wife and female slaves so that they were able to have children. 18 For the Lord#tn In the Hebrew text the clause begins with “because.” had caused infertility to strike every woman#tn Heb had completely closed up every womb.” In the Hebrew text infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.sn The Lord had closed up every womb. This fact indicates that Sarah was in Abimelech’s household for weeks or months before the dream revelation was given (20:6-7). No one in his household could have children after Sarah arrived on the scene. in the household of Abimelech because he took#tn Heb “because of.” The words “he took” are supplied in the translation for clarity. Sarah, Abraham’s wife.