The Book of Genesis, Chapter 20

This chapter is about Abraham & Abimelech. Abraham is at it again. He & Sarah get into trouble for misrepresenting their relationship. This is the last time that he does this though. Because in chapter 23 Sarah dies. I hope you enjoy the read.

Abraham moved into the region of the Negev & lived between Kadesh & Shur. (Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1893) says that Shur is “a part, probably, of the Arabian desert, on the north-eastern border of Egypt, giving its name to a wilderness extending from Egypt toward Philistia (Gen. 16:7; 20:1; 25:18; Ex. 15:22) & Kadesh or Qadesh (in classical Hebrew Hebrew: קָדֵשׁ‎‎, from the root קדש “holy”) is a place-name that occurs several times in the Hebrew Bible, describing a site or sites located south of, or at the southern border of, Canaan and the Kingdom of Judah.) For a while he stayed in Gerar (Gerar (Hebrew: גְּרָר‎‎ Gərār, “lodging-place”) was a Philistine town and district in what is today south central Israel, mentioned in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary the Biblical valley of Gerar (Genesis 26:17) was probably the modern Wadi el-Jerdr.).

There Abraham said to Sarah, “She’s my sister.” Abimelech, the king of Gerar, sent for Sarah & took her. But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night. God said to Abimelech, “You’re as good as dead because of Sarah, the woman you’ve taken. She’s a married woman.” Now Abimelech hadn’t gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did Abraham not tell me that Sarah was his sister? And she said he’s my brother? I’ve done this with clean hands & a clear conscience.”

God says, “Yeah, yeah, you’re right. They did say that. So I’ve kept you from sinning against me. That’s why I didn’t let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife to hm. Because he’s a prophet, & he’ll pray for you. You’ll live. If you don’t return her, you may be sure that you & yours will die.”

Early the next morning, Abimelech summoned all his officials, & when he told them all that had happened, they were very afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham in & said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you’ve brought such guilt upon me & my kingdom? You’ve done things to me that should not be done. What’s your reason for doing this?” Abraham says, “I said to myself, ‘There’s surely no fear of God in this place. They’ll kill me because of Sarah. (Now mind you, Sarah is like 90-100 years old by now.) Besides, Sarah really is my sister. The daughter of my dad, but not my mom. (So Abraham married, & had sex with, his half-sister) She became my wife. When God had me move from my father’s household, I said to Sarah, ‘This is how you can show your love for me: Everywhere we go, say about me, ‘This is my brother.'”

Abimelech brought sheep, cattle, & slaves & gave them to Abraham. Abimelech returned Sarah to Abraham. Then Abimelech says to Abraham, “My land is before you. Live wherever you like.” Abimelech says to Sarah, after talking to Abraham, “I’m getting your brother 1,000 shekels (about 25 pounds) of silver. (So pretty much a pay-off. If you think about it, this is how Abraham really got rich. He did this to Pharaoh & now Abimelech. Both of these kings gave Abraham loads of stuff! All over a half truths.) This is to cover any offense against you before all who are with you. You’re completely vindicated.”

Abraham prayed to God. God healed Abimelech, his wife, & his slave girls so they could have kids again. (So this is what God meant when he told Abimelech that he would die. His lineage would die. In those days, that was as good as being actually dead yourself.) For God had closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Sarah.

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