Genesis 20 – More wife deception, victim = King of Gerar

Abraham journeys away from the oaks of Mamre towards the land of the south and ends up in Gerar. Not really sure *why* he sojourned, possibly due to the recent events in Sodom and Gomorrah?

Not sure why he had to do this, it does not say out of fear for his life as it was previously with the Pharaoh, but this time he tells Abimelech, king of Gerar that Sarah is his wife. Guess what happens next:

  • Abimelech takes her, but does not go near her
  • God comes in a dream to Abimelech and tells him “you’re a dead man” because Sarah is someones wife
  • Abimelech explains the lie of Abraham and Sarah to him, and in his heart and innocence did he do all this
  • God says he knows, that it was HE that withheld Abimelech from sinning and it was HE who made it so he wouldn’t touch her

Genesis 20:7 (God to Abimelech) Now therefore restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her no, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

This is the first time we’ve seen Abraham be called a prophet.

In an echo of the deception put upon the Pharaoh, Abimelech calls Abraham out and asks him why he would do such a thing. Abraham says he feared for his life because of his wife. It is also at this point that Abraham admits that Sarah, his wife, is his half sister.

Reminder Sarah is well up in age, so why would Abraham worry about it now? Wouldn’t the king of Gerar have his choice of much younger women? So what exactly was he doing by taking her?

Questions remain:

  • After all that Jehovah has done for Abraham, all the covenants, all the manipulation, the promises, and destruction, why would Abraham still walk in fear for his life?
  • Is Abraham really a prophet? Or was it a sham to convince Abimelech that it was Abraham, and not God, who would be healing his family, thus elevating Abraham higher than usual?

So, for being deceived by Abraham, and not actually doing anything wrong, as even God admitted, Abimelech suffers a death threat from God, his wife and female slaves all go barren, and he ends up paying Sarah 1,000 pieces of silver to right his “wrong.” Sure enough, Abraham prays for Abimelech and his wife and female slaves are healed and can once again bare children.

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