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Genesis 20

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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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1Afterward Abraham departed thence toward the South countrey and dwelled betweene Cadesh and Shur, and soiourned in Gerar. 2And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. Then Abimelech King of Gerar sent and tooke Sarah. 3But God came to Abimelech in a dreame by night, and said to him, Beholde, thou art but dead, because of the woman, which thou hast taken: for she is a mans wife. 4(Notwithstanding Abimelech had not yet come neere her) And he said, Lord, wilt thou slay euen the righteous nation? 5Said not he vnto me, She is my sister? yea, and she her selfe said, He is my brother: with an vpright minde, and innocent handes haue I done this. 6And God saide vnto him by a dreame, I knowe that thou diddest this euen with an vpright minde, and I kept thee also that thou shouldest not sinne against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touche her. 7Now then deliuer the man his wife againe: for he is a Prophet, and he shall pray for thee that thou mayest liue: but if thou deliuer her not againe, be sure that thou shalt die the death, thou, and all that thou hast. 8Then Abimelech rising vp early in ye morning, called all his seruants, and tolde all these things vnto them, and the men were sore afraid. 9Afterward Abimelech called Abraham, and said vnto him, What hast thou done vnto vs? and what haue I offeded thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdome this great sinne? thou hast done things vnto me that ought not to be done. 10So Abimelech said vnto Abraham, What sawest thou that thou hast done this thing? 11Then Abraham answered, Because I thought thus, Surely the feare of God is not in this place, and they will slay me for my wiues sake. 12Yet in very deede she is my sister: for she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she is my wife. 13Nowe when God caused me to wander out of my fathers house, I said then to her, This is thy kindnes that thou shalt shewe vnto me in all places where we come, Say thou of me, He is my brother. 14Then tooke Abimelech sheepe and beeues, and men seruants, and women seruants, and gaue them vnto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. 15And Abimelech saide, Beholde, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. 16Likewise to Sarah he said, Beholde, I haue giuen thy brother a thousand pieces of siluer: behold, he is the vaile of thine eyes to all that are with thee, and to all others: and she was thus reproued. 17Then Abraham prayed vnto God, and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his women seruants: and they bare children. 18For the Lord had shut vp euery wombe of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abrahams wife.