B'resheet (Gen) 20
1Avraham traveled from there toward the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. While living as an alien in G’rar, 2Avraham was saying of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister”; so Avimelekh king of G’rar sent and took Sarah. 3But God came to Avimelekh in a dream one night and said to him, “You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, since she is someone’s wife.” 4Now Avimelekh had not come near her; so he said, “Lord, will you kill even an upright nation? 5Didn’t he himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In doing this, my heart has been pure and my hands innocent.” 6God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in doing this, your heart has been pure; and I too have kept you from sinning against me. This is why I didn’t let you touch her. 7Therefore, return the man’s wife to him now. He is a prophet, and he will pray for you, so that you will live. But if you don’t return her, know that you will certainly die — you and all who belong to you.”
8Avimelekh got up early in the morning, called all his servants and told them these things; and the men became very afraid. 9Then Avimelekh called Avraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I sinned against you to cause you to bring on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done things to me that are just not done.” 10Avimelekh went on, asking Avraham, “Whatever could have caused you to do such a thing?” 11Avraham replied, “It was because I thought, ‘There could not possibly be any fear of God in this place, so they will kill me in order to get my wife.’ 12But she actually is also my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother, and so she became my wife. 13When God had me leave my father’s house, I told her, ‘Do me this favor: wherever we go, say about me, “He is my brother.”’”
14Avimelekh took sheep, cattle, and male and female slaves, and gave them to Avraham; and he returned to him Sarah his wife. 15Then Avimelekh said, “Look, my country lies before you; live where you like.” 16To Sarah he said, “Here, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. That will allay the suspicions of everyone who is with you. Before everyone you are cleared.” 17Avraham prayed to God, and God healed Avimelekh and his wife and slave-girls, so that they could have children. 18For Adonai had made every woman in Avimelekh’s household infertile on account of Sarah Avraham’s wife.
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1-2a Abraham traveled from there south to the Negev and settled down between Kadesh and Shur. While he was camping in Gerar, Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She’s my sister.”
2b-3 So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her. But God came to Abimelech in a dream that night and told him, “You’re as good as dead—that woman you took, she’s a married woman.”
4-5Now Abimelech had not yet slept with her, hadn’t so much as touched her. He said, “Master, would you kill an innocent man? Didn’t he tell me, ‘She’s my sister’? And didn’t she herself say, ‘He’s my brother’? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong when I did this.”
6-7God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know your intentions were pure, that’s why I kept you from sinning against me; I was the one who kept you from going to bed with her. So now give the man’s wife back to him. He’s a prophet and will pray for you—pray for your life. If you don’t give her back, know that it’s certain death both for you and everyone in your family.”
8-9Abimelech was up first thing in the morning. He called all his house servants together and told them the whole story. They were shocked. Then Abimelech called in Abraham and said, “What have you done to us? What have I ever done to you that you would bring on me and my kingdom this huge offense? What you’ve done to me ought never to have been done.”
10Abimelech went on to Abraham, “Whatever were you thinking of when you did this thing?”
11-13Abraham said, “I just assumed that there was no fear of God in this place and that they’d kill me to get my wife. Besides, the truth is that she is my half sister; she’s my father’s daughter but not my mother’s. When God sent me out as a wanderer from my father’s home, I told her, ‘Do me a favor; wherever we go, tell people that I’m your brother.’”
14-15Then Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham, and along with her sent sheep and cattle and servants, both male and female. He said, “My land is open to you; live wherever you wish.”
16And to Sarah he said, “I’ve given your brother a thousand pieces of silver—that clears you of even a shadow of suspicion before the eyes of the world. You’re vindicated.”
17-18Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his maidservants, and they started having babies again. For God had shut down every womb in Abimelech’s household on account of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
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THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of NavPress. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.