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Abraham and Abimelech

20 And Abraham journeyed from there to the land of the Negev, and he settled between Kadesh and Shur. And he dwelled as an alien in Gerar. And Abraham said about Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. And God came to Abimelech in a dream at night. And he said to him, “Look, you are a dead man on account of the woman you have taken. For she is a married woman.”[a] Now Abimelech had not approached her, so he said, “my Lord, will you even kill a righteous people?” Did not he himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ With integrity of my heart and with cleanness of my hands I did this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes,[b] I know that in the integrity of your heart you did this, and I also kept you from sinning[c] against me. Therefore, I did not allow you to touch her. So now, return the wife of the man, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you and you will live. And if you do not return her,[d] know that you will certainly die, and all that are yours.”

So Abimelech rose early in the morning. And he called all his servants and told them all these things,[e] and the men were very afraid. And Abimelech called for Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you that you brought upon me and upon my kingdom a great sin? You have done things to me that should not be done.” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What were you thinking[f] that you did this thing?” 11 And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place; they will kill me on account of the matter of my wife. 12 Besides,[g] she is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife. 13 And it happened that as God caused me to wander from the house of my father I said to her, ‘This is your loyal kindness that you must do for me at every place where we come: say concerning me, “He is my brother.”’” 14 And Abimelech took sheep and cattle and male slaves and female slaves, and he gave them to Abraham. And he returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “Here is my land before you; settle where it pleases you.”[h] 16 And to Sarah he said, “Look, I have given a thousand pieces of silver to your brother. It shall be an exoneration.[i] You are vindicated before all who are with you.”[j] 17 And Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his female servants so that they could bear children again. 18 For Yahweh had completely closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of the matter of Sarah, the wife of Abraham.


  1. Genesis 20:3 Literally “married of a husband” or “a woman owned by a husband”
  2. Genesis 20:6 Or “Also”
  3. Genesis 20:6 Literally “kept back from sinning”
  4. Genesis 20:7 Literally “If there is not for you a returning”
  5. Genesis 20:8 Literally “said all these things in their ears”
  6. Genesis 20:10 Literally “What have you seen?”
  7. Genesis 20:12 Literally “And also moreover”
  8. Genesis 20:15 Literally “in the good in your eyes”
  9. Genesis 20:16 Literally “a covering of the eyes”
  10. Genesis 20:16 Literally “to all who are with you and with all you are vindicated”