(Gen 20:1 NASB) Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.
Gen 20:1: This account is similar to the one in Egypt when Pharaoh took Sarah in chapter 12. Abraham stayed in Gerar.
Apparently, gathering women for the king’s harem was a common practice. Abraham was once again prepared with his same story.
(Gen 20:2 NASB) And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
Gen 20:2: Abraham tells Abimelech’s men that Sarah is his sister. It would appear that Abraham’s life would have been in danger again had he said otherwise. The fact that they had no children gave this claim much credence.
There is one very confusing point here. Why did they want Sarah? She was 90 years old at the time. It doesn’t seem that she would be much of a catch at that age. It is possible that when Elohim restored her fertility, He restored her beauty also.
(Gen 20:3 NASB) But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.”
Gen 20:3: Now we know where the expression “You are a dead man” came from. Elohim states that Abimelech is in rebellion against Him and that he will pay.
(Gen 20:4 NASB) Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, wilt Thou slay a nation, even though blameless?
(Gen 20:5 NASB) “Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”
Gen 20:5: Abimelech give two excuses. He says that he did not have sexual relations with that woman, and he says that information on her being married was withheld from him.
His comment is very interesting, “In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this (the forcible abduction of a married woman).
(Gen 20:6 NASB) Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.
(Gen 20:7 NASB) “Now therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
Gen 20:7: Elohim agrees that Abimelech did not intentionally abduct a married woman. He thought he had only abducted a single woman. Therefore, Elohim did prevent him from sinning against Him.
Also, this is the first use of the title “prophet” in Scripture. It is the Hebrew word nabiy’ (naw-bee’) meaning “to proclaim, speak as an intermediary.” If this is the case, it would help explain the “prophesying” that is spoken of in the Brit Hadasha (New Testament) such as 1 Cor. 14:3-4. Prophesying in this case would mean to pray for others in an intercessory manner.
Abimelech is told that if Abraham will pray for him, he will live. Do not underestimate the prayers of a righteous man. James spoke of this same fact (James 5:16). Why did James say this? He was merely summarizing what he knew happened in the Tanakh (Ex. 8:28-29, 32:13-14, Joshua 10:12-13, 1 Sam. 12:18, 1 Kings 13:4-6, etc…).
As in almost the entire Brit Hadasha (New Testament), the writers are not speaking of new revelation. They are merely teaching Torah and Tanakh.
(Gen 20:8 NASB) So Abimelech arose early in the morning and called all his servants and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were greatly frightened.
(Gen 20:9 NASB) Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.”
(Gen 20:10 NASB) And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What have you encountered, that you have done this thing?”
Gen 20:10: Once again, Abimelech blames Abraham for his sin. He asks Abraham why he didn’t tell the truth about this woman that he abducted.
(Gen 20:11 NASB) And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place; and they will kill me because of my wife.
(Gen 20:12 NASB) “Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife;
Gen 20:12: Abraham’s father, Terah, had at least two wives. Abraham’s mother was Yona and Sarah’s mother was Tehevita.
(Gen 20:13 NASB) and it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is the kindness which you will show to me: everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”‘”
Gen 20:13: Abraham told her to tell them this half-truth everywhere they went just in case they wanted to kill him for being her husband.
(Gen 20:14 NASB) Abimelech then took sheep and oxen and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored his wife Sarah to him.
(Gen 20:15 NASB) And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; settle wherever you please.”
Gen 20:15: Abimelech loaded Abraham up with sheep, oxen, and servants. The he gave his wife back to him.
(Gen 20:16 NASB) And to Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; behold, it is your vindication before all who are with you, and before all men you are cleared.”
Gen 20:16: Abimelech gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver. I imagine there was a little sarcasm directed toward Sarah when he called Abraham “your brother.”
(Gen 20:17 NASB) And Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children.
(Gen 20:18 NASB) For the LORD had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
Gen 20:18: Because of the sin of Abimelech, his entire house was going to suffer. But because Abraham’s prayer was heard by Elohim, He healed the household of Abimelech.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas