Abraham and Abimelech
1Abraham travelled south to the Negev desert. He lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a time he stayed in Gerar. 2While he was there, Abraham told people that his wife, Sarah, was his sister. Because of this, the king of Gerar took Sarah so that she would become his wife. The king's name was Abimelech.
3But God appeared to Abimelech in a dream. He said to Abimelech, ‘Now you will die! The woman that you have taken to be your wife is already a married woman.’
4But Abimelech had not yet touched Sarah. He said to God, ‘Lord, I have not done anything wrong. Surely you will not destroy me and my people. 5Abraham told me that Sarah was his sister. And she herself said, “I am his sister.” So I am not guilty! I did not think that I was doing a bad thing.’
6God spoke to Abimelech again in a dream. He said, ‘That is true. You did not think that you were doing something wrong. I know that. So I did not let you touch her. I stopped you from doing anything wrong against me. 7You must now give her back to her husband. He is a prophet and he will pray for you. Because of that, you will not die. But if you do not give her back, you and all your people will surely die.’
8Early the next morning, Abimelech called together his officers. He told them what had happened. When the officers heard about it, they were very afraid. 9Abimelech called Abraham to come to him. He said to Abraham, ‘Why have you done this bad thing against us? I have not done anything wrong against you. Now you have made me and the people in my kingdom guilty of a very bad thing. Nobody should ever do the things that you have done to me.’ 10Abimelech asked Abraham, ‘What caused you to do this?’
11Abraham replied, ‘I did it because I was afraid. I thought, “The people here do not respect God. They will kill me in order to take my wife from me.” #20:11 Verses 1-11 are like Genesis 12:11-20. Again, Abraham does not think that God will keep him safe. 12And also, she really is my sister. She is the daughter of my father. But she is not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife. 13God told me to leave my father's house and to travel. At that time I said to Sarah, “This is how you can show that you love me. Everywhere we go, tell people that I am your brother.” ’
14Then Abimelech brought sheep and cows to give to Abraham. He also gave to Abraham male and female servants. And he gave Sarah back to Abraham. 15Abimelech said, ‘Look! See my land all round you. Go and live anywhere that you want to live.’
16Abimelech said to Sarah, ‘I have given 1,000 pieces of silver to your brother. This is to show everyone that you yourself did nothing wrong. It will pay you for any trouble that you have received.’ #20:16 Abimelech is very kind. He calls Abraham Sarah's brother, just like Abraham had said. He shows that people in that place did respect God. So Abraham had been wrong to be afraid.
17Then Abraham prayed to God. As a result, God made Abimelech become well again. He also made Abimelech's wife and his female slaves become well, so that they could have children again. 18The Lord had made them unable to have children. He did this because of what happened to Abraham's wife, Sarah.