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Asbury Bible Commentary – b. Abraham's sin at Gerar (20:1–18)
b. Abraham's sin at Gerar (20:1–18)
b. Abraham's sin at Gerar (20:1-18)

Despite the ominous example of disobedience in the previous chapter, Abraham lapses back into faithlessness and, just before the birth of the child of promise, the covenant is once more placed in jeopardy. Only divine intervention extricates the patriarch from the entanglements of his scheming. God prevents Abimelech from touching Sarah (v. 6), appears in a dream to the king to disclose the truth about the situation (vv. 3-7), and hears the prayer of Abraham for Abimelech's healing (vv. 7, 17).

Ironically Abraham's lack of faith is juxtaposed to Abimelech's faith. The man outside the covenant promise demonstrates faith to the man of faith who exhibits none! God must stand as sole guarantor of the covenant. Abraham's failure is a result of a wrong perception of the situation (v. 11), fear (v. 11b), the casuistry of a half-truth (v. 12), and expediency (v. 13). And, as his righteous action led to the saving of another in the previous chapter, so here his faithlessness jeopardizes the life of another (v. 3). One individual's acts often profoundly affect many.