Abraham and Abimalech (v. 1-18)
Abraham and Sarah were travelling and rested in Gerar. Abraham told everyone that Sarah was his sister and so Abimelech took her as his wife.
|Pic from Amazon|
Abraham’s concern was probably not because Sarah looked like a young beauty at 90 years of age. We can surmise that she was reasonably attractive at that age, but more importantly she was connected to one of the richest and most influential men of the region. In that day, a harem was more of a political statement than a romantic statement.But wasn't the person she was connected to Abraham? If Abemelech didn't know Abraham and Sarah were married then he wouldn't know she was connected to him. Guzik also says
This is the same lie Abraham told back in Genesis 12:10-13. He shows that it is all too easy to slip back into sinful habits. Abraham stumbles in a place he stumbled before. Instead of trusting God to keep his family together, he devised his own plan to do it. His plan will fail completely.This actually reminds me a lot of what I heard growing up. They were constantly talking about falling back into sin and so forth. Is that the intended message here? Don't fall back into sin?
So why is he really doing it? Is he a coward, or greedy? Last time his wife got taken away and banged for a while by some other guy, but at the end he wound up getting a bunch of valuable stuff for his trouble, maybe the whole thing is a scam.
God came to Abemelech in a dream and threatened him for taking another man's wife. Abemelech said that he was innocent, he was told she was his sister and so he thought he was taking a single woman as his wife. God says that he knew Abemelech was innocent, and that is why he kept them from having sex and sinning. God then commanded Abemelech to return Sarah to Abraham.
Why did God threaten him then? If he knew that Abemelech was innocent, why not just explain to him what happened? Or better yet, go talk to Abraham and tell him not to try this stupid scam again.
When Abemelech woke up, he told his servants what happened and went right to Abraham to set things right. He asked him why he lied. Abraham said he was afraid because there is no fear of God in this place. He lied so no one would kill him for his wife. He also said it wasn't really a lie because he and Sarah are half-siblings.
So Abraham did this because he was afraid that Abemelech was not Godly and therefore would act poorly, and yet, just like the last time this scam was used, Abraham is the only person really acting poorly in this situation. (actually, God is acting pretty poorly as well)
Abimelech returned Sarah and gave Abraham sheep, oxen, servants and 1000 pieces of silver and told them they could dwell in the land as long as they pleased. Abraham then prayed to God, who healed Abimalech's wife and female slaves so they could once again bear children. Because when this all had started God had made them infertile because of Sarah.
How is that an appropriate thing for God to do? God has made all of the women around Abimelech infertile because he was fooled by Sarah and Abraham, at least he fixed everything at the end.
Lastly, this story ended the same way it did last time, Abraham got a bunch of stuff from the king he had lied to. That's why I kept calling it a scam. Pull this crap once and maybe we can believe Abraham is just a coward and an idiot, twice and I think we have to call him a con artist.
For the verses of note post:
Genesis 20:6,18 God punished Abemelech's women even though he knew he was innocent
"Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart...For the LORD had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife."
Genesis 20:14 Abraham has lots of slaves (look at other translations)
"Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him."