Right before Abram enters Egypt, he begins to fear for his life because of Sarai, his wife. He believes because of her beauty, they will take her and kill him. So they conspire to tell the Egyptians that they are brother/sister so that Abram will not be killed.
Why does Abram not call upon Jehovah for protection? After all, Jehovah said he would bless Abram and his seed. Those who bless Abram will be blessed, and those who curse Abram will be cursed. Where’s the faith? Let’s see what happens:
The Egyptians via the princes of the Pharaoh bring her to the Pharaoh’s house.
Genesis 12:16 – And he (Pharaoh) dealt WELL with Abram for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels.
Sounds like good treatment to me, possibly a blessing to Abram? So what happens next:
12:17 And Jehovah plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.
Abram and Sarai lie to the Egyptians, the Pharaoh treats them very well, and Jehovah plagues not just the Pharaoh but his house. Ok, that’s not meshing with what we were told Jehovah would do to those who treated Abram well.
Pharaoh summons Abram, somehow figuring out the plague of his house was due to Abram and Sarai’s lie and ask him why he lied to him. And in an episode that could really have gotten out of hand, Pharaoh simply asks Abram to take his wife and leave, even putting men in charge of assisting Abram with all of his belongings. I’ve got to say, Pharaoh isn’t the bad guy in this situation.
So now we see that lying and deception are accepted, even defended by Jehovah. One could say the reason Pharaoh treated them so well was to not incur further wrath, but the fact that he was treating them well BEFORE he was plagued shows that Pharaoh had good intentions.
Growing up I was told that lying was the work of the Devil, was the Devil behind Abram’s lie? So far, as of Genesis 13, there is no mention of the Devil as being behind the acts of man.