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Abraham and Sarah at Gerar

20 Abraham moved to the Southern Desert, where he settled between Kadesh and Shur. Later he went to Gerar, and while there he told everyone that his wife Sarah was his sister. So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sarah brought to him. But God came to Abimelech in a dream and said, “You have taken a married woman, and for this you will die!”

4-5 Abimelech said to the Lord, “Don’t kill me! I haven’t slept with Sarah. Didn’t they say they were brother and sister? I am completely innocent.”

God spoke to Abimelech in another dream and said:

I know you are innocent. That’s why I kept you from sleeping with Sarah and doing anything wrong. Her husband is a prophet. Let her go back to him, and his prayers will save you from death. But if you don’t return her, you and all your people will die.

Early the next morning Abimelech sent for his officials, and when he told them what had happened, they were frightened. Abimelech then called in Abraham and said:

Look what you’ve done to us! What have I ever done to you? Why did you make me and my nation guilty of such a terrible sin? 10 What were you thinking when you did this?

11 Abraham answered:

I did it because I didn’t think any of you respected God, and I was sure that someone would kill me to get my wife. 12 Besides, she is my half sister. We have the same father, but different mothers. 13 When God made us leave my father’s home and start wandering, I told her, “If you really love me, you will tell everyone that I am your brother.”

14 Abimelech gave Abraham some sheep, cattle, and slaves. He sent Sarah back 15 and told Abraham that he could settle anywhere in his country. 16 Then he said to Sarah, “I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver as proof to everyone that you have done nothing wrong.”[a]

17-18 Meanwhile, God had kept Abimelech’s wife and slaves from having children. But Abraham prayed, and God let them start having children again.

Footnotes

  1. 20.16 as proof. . . wrong: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.