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Genesis 20

20
Abraham at Gerar.#Abraham again passes off his wife Sarah as his sister to escape trouble in a foreign land (cf. 12:10–13:1, the J source). The story appears to be from a different source (according to some, E) and deals with the ethical questions of the incident. Gn 26:6–11 is yet another retelling of the story, but with Isaac and Rebekah as characters instead of Abraham and Sarah. 1From there Abraham journeyed on to the region of the Negeb, where he settled between Kadesh and Shur.#Kadesh and Shur: Kadesh-barnea was a major oasis on the southernmost border of Canaan, and Shur was probably the “way to Shur,” the road to Egypt. Gerar was a royal city in the area, but has not been identified with certainty. While he resided in Gerar as an alien, 2Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah. 3But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him: You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she has a husband. 4Abimelech, who had not approached her, said: “O Lord, would you kill an innocent man? 5Was he not the one who told me, ‘She is my sister’? She herself also stated, ‘He is my brother.’ I acted with pure heart and with clean hands.” 6#Abimelech is exonerated of blame, but by that fact not cleared of the consequences of his act. He is still under the sentence of death for abducting another man’s wife; the consequences result from the deed not the intention. God answered him in the dream: Yes, I know you did it with a pure heart. In fact, it was I who kept you from sinning against me; that is why I did not let you touch her. 7So now, return the man’s wife so that he may intercede for you, since he is a prophet,#Prophet: only here is Abraham explicitly called “prophet,” Hebrew nabi (cf. Ps 105:15). that you may live. If you do not return her, you can be sure that you and all who are yours will die.
8Early the next morning Abimelech called all his servants and informed them of everything that had happened, and the men were filled with fear. 9Then Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him: “What have you done to us! What wrong did I do to you that you would have brought such great guilt on me and my kingdom? You have treated me in an intolerable way. 10What did you have in mind,” Abimelech asked him, “that you would do such a thing?” 11Abraham answered, “I thought there would be no fear of God#Fear of God is the traditional though unsatisfactory rendering of Hebrew yir’at YHWH, literally, “revering Yahweh.” The phrase refers neither to the emotion of fear nor to religious reverence of a general kind. Rather it refers to adherence to a single deity (in a polytheistic culture), honoring that deity with prayers, rituals, and obedience. The phrase occurs again in 26:24; 43:23; and 50:19. It is very common in the wisdom literature of the Bible. in this place, and so they would kill me on account of my wife. 12Besides, she really is my sister,#My sister: marrying one’s half sister was prohibited later in Israel’s history. but only my father’s daughter, not my mother’s; and so she became my wife. 13When God sent me wandering from my father’s house, I asked her: ‘Would you do me this favor? In whatever place we come to, say: He is my brother.’”#Gn 12:13.
14Then Abimelech took flocks and herds and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham; and he restored his wife Sarah to him. 15Then Abimelech said, “Here, my land is at your disposal; settle wherever you please.” 16To Sarah he said: “I hereby give your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This will preserve your honor before all who are with you and will exonerate you before everyone.” 17Abraham then interceded with God, and God restored health to Abimelech, to his wife, and his maidservants, so that they bore children; 18for the Lord had closed every womb in Abimelech’s household on account of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

Genesis 20

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1Abraham removed from thence to the south country, and dwelt between Cedes and Sur, and sojourned in Gerara.
2And he said of Sara his wife: She is my sister. So Abimelech the king of Gerara sent, and took her.
3And God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and he said to him: Lo, thou shalt die for the woman thou hast taken; for she hath a husband.
4Now Abimelech had not touched her, and he said: Lord, wilt thou slay a nation, that is ignorant and just?
5Did not he say to me: She is my sister; and she say: He is my brother? In the simplicity of my heart, and cleanness of my hands, have I done this.
6And God said to him: And I know that thou didst it with a sincere heart: and therefore I withheld thee from sinning against me, and I suffered thee not to touch her.
7Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet. And he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: but if thou wilt not restore her, know that thou shalt surely die, thou and all that are thine.
8And Abimelech forthwith rising up in the night called all his servants: and spoke all these words in their hearing. And all the men were exceedingly afraid.
9And Abimelech called also for Abraham, and said to him: What hast thou done to us? What have we offended thee in, that thou hast brought upon me and upon my kingdom a great sin? Thou hast done to us what thou oughtest not to do.
10And again he expostulated with him, and said: What sawest thou, that thou hast done this?
11Abraham answered: I thought with myself, saying: Perhaps there is not the fear of God in this place; and they will kill me for the sake of my wife.
12Howbeit, otherwise also she is truly my sister, the daughter of my father, and not the daughter of my mother, and I took her to wife.
13And after God brought me out of my father's house, I said to her: Thou shalt do me this kindness: In every place, to which we shall come, thou shalt say that I am thy brother.
14And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and servants and handmaids, and gave to Abraham: and restored to him Sara, his wife.
15And said: The land is before you; dwell wheresoever it shall please thee.
16And to Sara he said: Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver. This shall serve thee for a covering of thy eyes to all that are with thee, and whithersoever thou shalt go: and remember thou wast taken.
17And when Abraham prayed, God healed Abimelech and his wife, and his handmaids: and they bore children:
18For the Lord had closed up every womb of the house of Abimelech, on account of Sara, Abraham's wife.