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Genesis 20-23 Common English Bible (CEB)

Abraham and Sarah visit Gerar

20 Abraham traveled from there toward the land of the arid southern plain, and he settled as an immigrant in Gerar, between Kadesh and Shur. Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She’s my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar took her into his household.

But God appeared to Abimelech that night in a dream and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of this woman you have taken. She is a married woman.”

Now Abimelech hadn’t gone near her, and he said, “Lord, will you really put an innocent nation to death? Didn’t he say to me, ‘She’s my sister,’ and didn’t she—even she—say, ‘He’s my brother’? My intentions were pure, and I acted innocently when I did this.”

God said to him in the dream, “I know that your intentions were pure when you did this. In fact, I kept you from sinning against me. That’s why I didn’t allow you to touch her. Now return the man’s wife. He’s a prophet; he will pray for you so you may live. But if you don’t return her, know that you and everyone with you will die!”

Abimelech got up early in the morning and summoned all of his servants. When he told them everything that had happened, the men were terrified. Then Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? What sin did I commit against you that you have brought this terrible sin to me and my kingdom, by doing to me something that simply isn’t done?” 10 Abimelech said to Abraham, “What were you thinking when you did this thing?”

11 Abraham said, “I thought to myself, No one reveres God here and they will kill me to get my wife. 12 She is, truthfully, my sister—my father’s daughter but not my mother’s daughter—and she’s now my wife. 13 When God led me away from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is the loyalty I expect from you: in each place we visit, tell them, “He is my brother.”’”

14 Abimelech took flocks, cattle, male servants, and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and Abimelech returned his wife Sarah. 15 Abimelech said, “My land is here available to you. Live wherever you wish.” 16 To Sarah, he said, “I’ve given your brother one thousand pieces of silver. It means that neither you nor anyone with you has done anything wrong. Everything has been set right.” 17 Abraham prayed to God; and God restored Abimelech, his wife, and his women servants to health, and they were able to have children. 18 Because of the incident with Abraham’s wife Sarah, the Lord had kept all of the women in Abimelech’s household from having children.

Isaac’s birth

21 The Lord was attentive to Sarah just as he had said, and the Lord carried out just what he had promised her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham when he was old, at the very time God had told him. Abraham named his son—the one Sarah bore him—Isaac.[a] Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old just as God had commanded him. Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born. Sarah said, “God has given me laughter. Everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.”[b] She said, “Who could have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse sons? But now I’ve given birth to a son when he was old!”

Hagar and Ishmael evicted

The boy grew and stopped nursing. On the day he stopped nursing, Abraham prepared a huge banquet. Sarah saw Hagar’s son laughing, the one Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Send this servant away with her son! This servant’s son won’t share the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

11 This upset Abraham terribly because the boy was his son. 12 God said to Abraham, “Don’t be upset about the boy and your servant. Do everything Sarah tells you to do because your descendants will be traced through Isaac. 13 But I will make of your servant’s son a great nation too, because he is also your descendant.” 14 Abraham got up early in the morning, took some bread and a flask of water, and gave it to Hagar. He put the boy in her shoulder sling and sent her away.

She left and wandered through the desert near Beer-sheba. 15 Finally the water in the flask ran out, and she put the boy down under one of the desert shrubs. 16 She walked away from him about as far as a bow shot and sat down, telling herself, I can’t bear to see the boy die. She sat at a distance, cried out in grief, and wept.

17 God heard the boy’s cries, and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “Hagar! What’s wrong? Don’t be afraid. God has heard the boy’s cries over there. 18 Get up, pick up the boy, and take him by the hand because I will make of him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. She went over, filled the water flask, and gave the boy a drink. 20 God remained with the boy; he grew up, lived in the desert, and became an expert archer. 21 He lived in the Paran desert, and his mother found him an Egyptian wife.

Abraham’s treaty with the Philistines

22 At that time Abimelech, and Phicol commander of his forces, said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything that you do. 23 So give me your word under God that you won’t cheat me, my children, or my descendants. Just as I have treated you fairly, so you must treat me and the land in which you are an immigrant.”

24 Abraham said, “I give you my word.” 25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s servants had seized.

26 Abimelech said, “I don’t know who has done this, and you didn’t tell me. I didn’t even hear about it until today.” 27 Abraham took flocks and cattle, gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them drew up a treaty.[c] 28 Abraham set aside, by themselves, seven female lambs from the flock. 29 So Abimelech said to Abraham, “What are these seven lambs you’ve set apart?”

30 Abraham said, “These seven lambs that you take from me will attest that I dug this well.” 31 Therefore, the name of that place is Beer-sheba[d] because there they gave each other their word. 32 After they drew up a treaty[e] at Beer-sheba, Abimelech, and Phicol commander of his forces, returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and he worshipped there in the name of the Lord, El Olam.[f] 34 Abraham lived as an immigrant in the Philistines’ land for a long time.

Binding of Isaac

22 After these events, God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”

Abraham answered, “I’m here.”

God said, “Take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him up as an entirely burned offering there on one of the mountains that I will show you.” Abraham got up early in the morning, harnessed his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, together with his son Isaac. He split the wood for the entirely burned offering, set out, and went to the place God had described to him.

On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place at a distance. Abraham said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will walk up there, worship, and then come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the entirely burned offering and laid it on his son Isaac. He took the fire and the knife in his hand, and the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father?”

Abraham said, “I’m here, my son.”

Isaac said, “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the entirely burned offering?”

Abraham said, “The lamb for the entirely burned offering? God will see to it,[g] my son.” The two of them walked on together.

They arrived at the place God had described to him. Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He tied up his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 But the Lord’s messenger called out to Abraham from heaven, “Abraham? Abraham?”

Abraham said, “I’m here.”

12 The messenger said, “Don’t stretch out your hand against the young man, and don’t do anything to him. I now know that you revere God and didn’t hold back your son, your only son, from me.” 13 Abraham looked up and saw a single ram[h] caught by its horns in the dense underbrush. Abraham went over, took the ram, and offered it as an entirely burned offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham named that place “the Lord sees.”[i] That is the reason people today say, “On this mountain the Lord is seen.”[j]

15 The Lord’s messenger called out to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I give my word as the Lord that because you did this and didn’t hold back your son, your only son, 17 I will bless you richly and I will give you countless descendants, as many as the stars in the sky and as the grains of sand on the seashore. They will conquer their enemies’ cities. 18 All the nations of the earth will be blessed because of your descendants, because you obeyed me.” 19 After Abraham returned to the young men, they got up and went to Beer-sheba where Abraham lived.

Abraham’s nephews in Syria

20 After these events, Abraham was told: “Milcah has now also given birth to sons for your brother Nahor. 21 They are Uz his oldest son, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These are the eight Milcah bore for Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24 His secondary wife’s name was Reumah, and she gave birth to Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

Sarah’s death and burial site

23 Sarah lived to be 127 years old; this was how long she lived. She died in Kiriath-arba, that is, in Hebron, in the land of Canaan; and Abraham cried out in grief and wept for Sarah. After he got up from embracing his deceased wife, he spoke with the Hittites: “I am an immigrant and a temporary resident with you. Give me some property for a burial plot among you so that I can bury my deceased wife near me.”

The Hittites responded to Abraham, “Listen to us, sir. You are an eminent man of God among us. Bury your dead in one of our own select burial sites. None of us will keep our own burial plots from you to bury your dead.”

Abraham rose, bowed to the local citizens the Hittites, and spoke with them: “If you yourselves allow me to bury my dead near me, listen to me and ask Ephron, Zohar’s son, to give me his own cave in Machpelah at the edge of his field. Let him give it to me for the full price, to be witnessed by you, as my own burial property.”

10 Now Ephron was a native Hittite. So Ephron the Hittite responded to Abraham publicly in order that the Hittites and everyone at his city’s gate could hear: 11 “No, sir. Listen, I will give you the field, and I will give you the cave in it. In front of my people’s witnesses, I will give it to you. Bury your dead!”

12 Abraham bowed before the local citizens 13 and spoke to Ephron publicly in the presence of the local citizens: “If only you would accept my offer. I will give you the price of the field. Take it from me so that I can bury my dead there.”

14 Ephron responded to Abraham, 15 “Sir, what is four hundred shekels of silver between me and you for the land so that you can bury your dead?” 16 Abraham accepted Ephron’s offer and weighed out for Ephron the silver he requested publicly before the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver at the current rate of exchange.

17 So the field of Ephron in Machpelah near Mamre—the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the field’s boundaries—was officially transferred 18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of the Hittites and of everyone at his city’s gate. 19 After this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre, that is, Hebron, in the land of Canaan. 20 The field and the cave in it were officially transferred from the Hittites to Abraham as his burial property.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 21:3 Or he laughs
  2. Genesis 21:6 Or God has made a joke of me. Everyone who hears about it will laugh at me.
  3. Genesis 21:27 Or covenant
  4. Genesis 21:31 Or Well of seven; or Well of giving one’s word
  5. Genesis 21:32 Or covenant
  6. Genesis 21:33 Or the eternal God
  7. Genesis 22:8 Or God will see; or God will provide
  8. Genesis 22:13 LXX, Sam, Syr, Tg; MT a ram behind
  9. Genesis 22:14 Or the Lord is seen; or the Lord provides
  10. Genesis 22:14 Or the Lord sees; or on the Lord’s mountain, it will be provided
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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