Exit Parallel Mode
 

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

20
Abraham and Abimelek
1Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, ‘She is my sister.’ Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
3But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, ‘You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.’
4Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, ‘Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5Did he not say to me, “She is my sister,” and didn’t she also say, “He is my brother”? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.’
6Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. 7Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.’
8Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. 9Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, ‘What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.’ 10And Abimelek asked Abraham, ‘What was your reason for doing this?’
11Abraham replied, ‘I said to myself, “There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.” 12Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13And when God caused me to wander from my father’s household, I said to her, “This is how you can show your love to me: everywhere we go, say of me, ‘He is my brother.’ ” ’
14Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. 15And Abimelek said, ‘My land is before you; live wherever you like.’
16To Sarah he said, ‘I am giving your brother a thousand shekels#20:16 That is, about 12 kilograms of silver. This is to cover the offence against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.’
17Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, 18for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.