Genesis 20The Voice (VOICE)
Scripture is brutally honest when it comes to people. It never sugarcoats the depths of human degeneracy. Here is a prime example: Lot’s daughters conspire to commit incest with him, an act so reprehensible it is universally condemned. They do so in order to guarantee their future and security, but as a result they create a future where insecurity and trouble are guaranteed. The nations which they birth become two of the most troublesome enemy nations God’s people will ever have to deal with. As time goes on, the Moabites and Ammonites become fierce adversaries to the children of Abraham.
20 After spending a period of time in the hill country, Abraham moved on into the region of the Negev and settled in the land between Kadesh and Shur. Then he moved on to Gerar. 2 Because he was living in Gerar as a foreigner, Abraham once again told everyone that his wife, Sarah, was his sister. King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her into his harem. 3 But God spoke to Abimelech in a dream during the night and warned him.
Eternal One: Look, you are a dead man because the woman you have taken into your harem is a married woman.
4 Up to this point, Abimelech had not physically approached her.
Abimelech: Lord, would You jeopardize a nation by killing its innocent king? 5 The man himself said to me that she was his sister. Even she said he was her brother. I took her in my harem without knowing the truth. I acted with integrity. I am completely innocent.
6 Then God replied to him still in his dream.
Eternal One: Yes, I know you did this with integrity in your heart. It was I who prevented you from crossing the line. I protected you from yourself by not letting you touch her. 7 Now do the right thing. Return the man’s wife. He is one of My prophets. He will pray and intercede for you, and you will live. But if you do not give her back, I assure you, you will die—you and everyone associated with you.
The first person in Scripture to be called a “prophet” is Abraham. Prophets often speak for God; here he speaks to God on behalf of another.
8 Abimelech got up early the next morning and called all of his servants together. He told them his dream, and the men became very afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called for Abraham to meet with him.
Abimelech (to Abraham): 10 What have you done to us? What were you thinking? What have I ever done to deserve your bringing such great shame and guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done to another human being.
Abraham: 11 I did it for my own protection. I did it because I thought this was not a God-fearing place, and I was afraid you would surely kill me to possess my wife. 12 Besides it isn’t entirely a lie. She really is my sister. She’s the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. But, of course, she did become my wife. 13 Ever since God called me away from my father’s house years ago, I told her, “I need you to do this favor for me—whenever we visit or stay in some strange or foreign place you need to tell people I am your brother.”
14 For good measure Abimelech took sheep and oxen, as well as male and female slaves, and he gave them to Abraham when he gave back his wife Sarah to him.
Abimelech (to Abraham): 15 Look, my land is your land; make your home wherever you please.
16 (to Sarah) Look now, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. This is to make up for what has happened. Everyone will see that you are completely vindicated of any wrongdoing.
17 Abraham prayed to God on Abimelech’s behalf, and God healed Abimelech. He also healed the infertility that plagued Abimelech’s wife and female slaves enabling them to again bear children 18 because God had temporarily sealed the wombs of all of the females of Abimelech’s household—all because of what happened to Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
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