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 so that they can take my wife from me.” #20:11 Verses 1-11 are like Genesis 12:11-20. 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. #20:16 Abimelech was very kind. He called Abraham ‘Sarah's brother’, just like Abraham had said. He showed that people in that place did respect God. So Abraham had been wrong to be afraid. This is to show everyone that you yourself did nothing wrong. It will pay you for any trouble that you have received.’
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.
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Abraham Goes to Gerar
1Abraham left that place and traveled to the Negev. He settled in the city of Gerar, between Kadesh and Shur. While in Gerar, 2Abraham told people that Sarah was his sister. King Abimelech of Gerar heard this. Abimelech wanted Sarah, so he sent some servants to take her. 3But one night God spoke to Abimelech in a dream and said, “You will die. The woman you took is married.”
4But Abimelech had not yet slept with Sarah, so he said, “Lord, I am not guilty. Would you kill an innocent man? 5Abraham himself told me, ‘This woman is my sister,’ and she also said, ‘This man is my brother.’ I am innocent. I did not know what I was doing.”
6Then God said to Abimelech in a dream, “Yes, I know that you are innocent and that you did not know what you were doing. I saved you. I did not allow you to sin against me. I was the one who did not allow you to sleep with her. 7So give Abraham his wife again. He is a prophet. He will pray for you, and you will live. But if you don’t give Sarah back to him, I promise that you will die. And all your family will die with you.”
8So very early the next morning, Abimelech called all his servants and told them about the dream. The servants were very afraid. 9Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “Why have you done this to us? What wrong did I do to you? Why did you lie and say that she was your sister? You brought great trouble to my kingdom. You should not have done this to me. 10What were you afraid of? Why did you do this to me?”
11Then Abraham said, “I thought no one in this place respected God. I thought someone would kill me to get Sarah. 12She is my wife, but she is also my sister. She is the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother. 13God led me away from my father’s house. He led me to wander to many different places. When that happened, I told Sarah, ‘Do something for me. Wherever we go, tell people you are my sister.’”
14So Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham. Abimelech also gave Abraham some sheep, cattle, and slaves. 15And Abimelech said, “Look all around you. This is my land. You may live any place you want.”
16Abimelech said to Sarah, “I gave your brother Abraham 1000 pieces of silver. I did this to show that I am very sorry. I want everyone to see that I did the right thing.”
17-18The Lord made all the women in Abimelech’s family not able to have children. God did this because Abimelech had taken Sarah, Abraham’s wife. But Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his servant girls.
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