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Genesis 20

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1And Abraham departed thence towards the south country, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned at Gerar. 2And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. And Abimelech the king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
3But God#GodHebrew: Elohim came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, because of the woman that thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. 4But Abimelech had not come near her. And he said, Lord, wilt thou also kill a righteous nation? 5Did he not say to me, She is my sister? and she, even she said, He is my brother. In the integrity of my heart and in the innocency of my hands have I done this. 6And God#GodHebrew: Elohim said to him in a dream, I also knew that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart, and I, too, have withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore have I not suffered thee to touch her. 7And now, restore the man's wife; for he is a prophet, and will pray for thee, that thou mayest live. And if thou do not restore her, know that thou shalt certainly die, thou and all that is thine.
8And Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and spoke all these words in their ears; and the men were greatly afraid. 9And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, What hast thou done to us? And in what have I sinned against thee, that thou hast brought on me, and on my kingdom, a great sin? Thou hast done to me deeds that ought not to be done. 10And Abimelech said to Abraham, What hast thou seen that thou hast done this? 11And Abraham said, Because I said, Surely the fear of God#GodHebrew: Elohim is not in this place, and they will kill me for my wife's sake. 12But she is also truly my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13And it came to pass when God#GodHebrew: Elohim caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, Let this be thy kindness which thou shalt shew to me: at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.
14And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and bondmen and bondwomen, and gave them to Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. 15And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it is good in thine eyes. 16And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver; behold, let that be to thee a covering of the eyes, in respect of all that are with thee, and with all; and she was reproved. 17And Abraham prayed to God#GodHebrew: Elohim and God#GodHebrew: Elohim healed Abimelech, and his wife and his handmaids, and they bore children. 18For Jehovah had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah Abraham's wife.
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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.