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Genesis 20-21 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Sarah Rescued from Abimelech

20 From there Abraham traveled to the region of the Negev and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he was staying in Gerar, Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar had Sarah brought to him.

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she is a married woman.”[a]

Now Abimelech had not approached her, so he said, “Lord, would you destroy a nation even though it is innocent? Didn’t he himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ I did this with a clear conscience[b] and clean[c] hands.”

Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you did this with a clear conscience.[d] I have also kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I have not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, know that you will certainly die, you and all who are yours.”

Early in the morning Abimelech got up, called all his servants together, and personally[e] told them all these things, and the men were terrified.

Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said to him, “What have you done to us? How did I sin against you that you have brought such enormous guilt on me and on my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” 10 Abimelech also asked Abraham, “What made you do this?”

11 Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘There is absolutely no fear of God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 So when God had me wander from my father’s house, I said to her: Show your loyalty to me wherever we go and say about me: ‘He’s my brother.’”

14 Then Abimelech took flocks and herds and male and female slaves, gave them to Abraham, and returned his wife Sarah to him. 15 Abimelech said, “Look, my land is before you. Settle wherever you want.”[f] 16 And he said to Sarah, “Look, I am giving your brother one thousand pieces of silver. It is a verification of your honor[g] to all who are with you. You are fully vindicated.”

17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female slaves so that they could bear children, 18 for the Lord had completely closed all the wombs in Abimelech’s household on account of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

The Birth of Isaac

21 The Lord came to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me.”[h] She also said, “Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne a son for him[i] in his old age.”

Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away

The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham held a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son mocking—the one Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Drive out this slave with her son, for the son of this slave will not be a coheir with my son Isaac!”

11 This was very distressing to[j] Abraham because of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed[k] about the boy and about your slave. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her, because your offspring will be traced through Isaac, 13 and I will also make a nation of the slave’s son because he is your offspring.”

14 Early in the morning Abraham got up, took bread and a waterskin, put them on Hagar’s shoulders, and sent her and the boy away. She left and wandered in the Wilderness of Beer-sheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she left the boy under one of the bushes 16 and went and sat at a distance, about a bowshot away, for she said, “I can’t bear to watch the boy die!” While she sat at a distance, she[l] wept loudly.

17 God heard the boy crying, and the[m] angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the boy crying from the place where he is. 18 Get up, help the boy up, and grasp his hand, for I will make him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. So she went and filled the waterskin and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy, and he grew; he settled in the wilderness and became an archer. 21 He settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Abraham’s Covenant with Abimelech

22 At that time Abimelech, accompanied by Phicol the commander of his army, said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 Swear to me by God here and now, that you will not break an agreement with me or with my children and descendants. As I have been loyal to you, so you will be loyal to me and to the country where you are a resident alien.”

24 And Abraham said, “I swear it.” 25 But Abraham complained to Abimelech because of the well that Abimelech’s servants had seized.

26 Abimelech replied, “I don’t know who did this thing. You didn’t report anything to me, so I hadn’t heard about it until today.”

27 Abraham took flocks and herds and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant. 28 Abraham separated seven ewe lambs from the flock. 29 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “Why have you separated these seven ewe lambs?”

30 He replied, “You are to accept the seven ewe lambs from me so that this act[n] will serve as my witness that I dug this well.” 31 Therefore that place was called Beer-sheba[o] because it was there that the two of them swore an oath. 32 After they had made a covenant at Beer-sheba, Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, left and returned to the land of the Philistines.

33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham lived as an alien in the land of the Philistines for many days.

Footnotes:

  1. 20:3 Lit is possessed by a husband
  2. 20:5 Lit with integrity of my heart
  3. 20:5 Lit cleanness of my
  4. 20:6 Lit with integrity of your heart
  5. 20:8 Lit in their ears
  6. 20:15 Lit Settle in the good in your eyes
  7. 20:16 Lit a covering of the eyes
  8. 21:6 Isaac = He Laughs; Gn 17:19
  9. 21:7 Sam, Tg Jonathan; MT omits him
  10. 21:11 Lit was very bad in the eyes of
  11. 21:12 Lit “Let it not be bad in your eyes
  12. 21:16 LXX reads the boy
  13. 21:17 Or an
  14. 21:30 Lit that it
  15. 21:31 = Well of the Oath, or Seven Wells
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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