Genesis 20

Abraham repeats the "She's my sister" lie
(This time with king Abimelech)

(20:1-2)

Cf. Gen. 12:13-20 - Abe's first "She's my sister" lie,
Gen. 26:7 - Isaac's "She's my sister lie"

20:1 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.

20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.

Abraham and Sarah travel to the south country of Gerar.

When they arrive, Abraham tells the king of Gerar, Abimelech, that Sarah is his sister. [1]

The King, of course, immediately takes Sarah into his harem.

God threatens to kill Abimelech and his people.
(For believing Abraham's lie)
(20:3-11)

20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.

God came to Abimelech in a dream that night, and said,

You are a dead man. [2]

Because the woman you have taken is another man's wife.

20:4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, LORD, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?

But Abimelech (who hadn't come near Sarah), said,

God, will you kill a righteous nation?

20:5 Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.

Didn't Abraham say to me, "She is my sister"? And she herself said, "He is my brother."

20:6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

God said (in the same dream),

Yeah, I know you didn't do anything wrong In fact I stopped you from sinning against me by touching her. [3]

20:7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine

Give Sarah back to Abraham. He'll pray for you, and I won't kill you.

If you don't, I'll kill you and all your people.

20:8 Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.

The next morning, Abimelech told everyone about his dream, and they were sore afraid.

20:9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.

20:10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?

Abimelech called Abraham, and said,

Why did you lie to me about your wife?

20:11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.

Abraham said,
Because I thought you'd kill me to get my wife.
Abraham says it was only a half lie.
(Sarah is his half-sister.)
20:12-16

20:12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

20:13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

Abraham said to king Abimelech,

She is my sister[4]; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

Is incest forbidden?

I asked Sarah to tell people she is my sister, when we are away from home.

20:14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.

To compensate for the crime he never committed, Abimelech gives Abraham sheep, oxen, and slaves.

20:15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.

Abimelech also gave Abraham his land, saying,

Here is my land. Dwell wherever you please.

20:16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.

And to Sarah, Abimelech said,

I've given your brother (Abraham) 1000 pieces of silver.

God opens all the wombs in Abimelech's kingdom.
(He closed them to punish him for believing Abe's lie.)
(20:17-18)

20:17 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.

Abraham prayed to God and healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his female slaves, so that they all bare children.

20:18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.

God had "closed all the wombs" in Abimelech's house, because he believed Abe's lie.
Are we punished for the sins of others?