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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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1And Abraham journeyeth from thence toward the land of the south, and dwelleth between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourneth in Gerar;
2and Abraham saith concerning Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister;’ and Abimelech king of Gerar sendeth and taketh Sarah.
3And God cometh in unto Abimelech in a dream of the night, and saith to him, ‘Lo, thou [art] a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken — and she married to a husband.’
4And Abimelech hath not drawn near unto her, and he saith, ‘Lord, also a righteous nation dost thou slay?
5hath not he himself said to me, She [is] my sister! and she, even she herself, said, He [is] my brother; in the integrity of my heart, and in the innocency of my hands, I have done this.’
6And God saith unto him in the dream, ‘Yea, I — I have known that in the integrity of thy heart thou hast done this, and I withhold thee, even I, from sinning against Me, therefore I have not suffered thee to come against her;
7and now send back the man's wife, for he [is] inspired, and he doth pray for thee, and live thou; and if thou do not send back, know that dying thou dost die, thou, and all that thou hast.’
8And Abimelech riseth early in the morning, and calleth for all his servants, and speaketh all these words in their ears; and the men fear exceedingly;
9and Abimelech calleth for Abraham, and saith to him, ‘What hast thou done to us? and what have I sinned against thee, that thou hast brought upon me, and upon my kingdom, a great sin? works which are not done thou hast done with me.’
10Abimelech also saith unto Abraham, ‘What hast thou seen that thou hast done this thing?’
11And Abraham saith, ‘Because I said, ‘Surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they have slain me for the sake of my wife;
12and also, truly she is my sister, daughter of my father, only not daughter of my mother, and she becometh my wife;
13and it cometh to pass, when God hath caused me to wander from my father's house, that I say to her, This [is] thy kindness which thou dost with me: at every place whither we come, say of me, He [is] my brother.’
14And Abimelech taketh sheep and oxen, and servants and handmaids, and giveth to Abraham, and sendeth back to him Sarah his wife;
15and Abimelech saith, ‘Lo, my land [is] before thee, where it is good in thine eyes, dwell;’
16and to Sarah he hath said, ‘Lo, I have given a thousand silverlings to thy brother; lo, it is to thee a covering of eyes, to all who are with thee;’ and by all this she is reasoned with.
17And Abraham prayeth unto God, and God healeth Abimelech and his wife, and his handmaids, and they bear:
18for Jehovah restraining had restrained every womb of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.