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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.

Bereshis 20

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1And Avraham journeyed from there toward the Negev region, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. 2And Avraham said of Sarah his isha, She is my achot; and Avimelech Melech Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 3But Elohim came to Avimelech in a chalom halailah, and said to him, See, thou art met (dead), for the isha which thou hast taken; for she is be'ulat ba'al (married of a husband). 4But Avimelech had not come near her; and he said, Adonoi, wilt Thou slay also a goy tzaddik? 5Said he not unto me, She is my achot? and she, even she herself said, He is achi: in the tohm (integrity, guilelessness) of my lev and with clean hands of my innocency have I done this. 6And HaElohim said unto him in a chalom, Yea, I have da'as that thou didst this in the tohm (integrity, guilelessness) of thy lev; for I also withheld thee from sinning against Me; therefore allowed I thee not to touch her. 7Now therefore restore the ish his isha; for he is a navi, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live; and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. 8Therefore Avimelech rose early in the boker, and called all his avadim, and told all these things in their ears; and the anashim were very afraid. 9Then Avimelech called Avraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and how have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my mamlechah (kingdom) a chata'ah gedolah (great sin)? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. 10And Avimelech said unto Avraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? 11And Avraham said, Because I thought, Surely the yirat Elohim is not in this place; and they will slay me on account of my isha. 12And yet indeed she is my achot; she is the bat avi, but not the bat immi; and she became my isha. 13And it came to pass, when Elohim caused me to wander from my bais avi, that I said unto her, This is thy chesed which thou shalt show unto me; at every place where we shall come, say of me, He is achi. 14And Avimelech took tzon, and oxen, and avadim, and shfachot, and gave them unto Avraham, and restored to him Sarah his isha. 15And Avimelech said, Hinei, my land is before thee; dwell where it pleaseth thee. 16And unto Sarah he said, Hinei, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of kesef; hinei, it is to thee a kesut einayim (covering of the eyes, exoneration), unto all that are with thee, and with all other; thus she was vindicated. 17So Avraham davened unto Elohim: and Elohim healed Avimelech, and his isha, and his maidservants so that they bore children. 18For Hashem had fast closed up kol rechem (every womb) of the bais Avimelech, on account of Sarah Avraham's isha.