Genesis 20

Abraham and Abimelech

20:1 Abraham journeyed from there to the Negev1 region and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he lived as a temporary resident2 in Gerar, 20:2 Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her.

20:3 But God appeared3 to Abimelech in a dream at night and said to him, “You are as good as dead4 because of the woman you have taken, for she is someone else’s wife.”5

20:4 Now Abimelech had not gone near her. He said, “Lord,6 would you really slaughter an innocent nation?7 20:5 Did Abraham8 not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said,9 ‘He is my brother.’ I have done this with a clear conscience10 and with innocent hands!”

20:6 Then in the dream God replied to him, “Yes, I know that you have done this with a clear conscience.11 That is why I have kept you12 from sinning against me and why13 I did not allow you to touch her. 20:7 But now give back the man’s wife. Indeed14 he is a prophet15 and he will pray for you; thus you will live.16 But if you don’t give her back,17 know that you will surely die18 along with all who belong to you.”

20:8 Early in the morning19 Abimelech summoned20 all his servants. When he told them about all these things,21 they22 were terrified. 20:9 Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? What sin did I commit against you that would cause you to bring such great guilt on me and my kingdom?23 You have done things to me that should not be done!”24 20:10 Then Abimelech asked25 Abraham, “What prompted you to do this thing?”26

20:11 Abraham replied, “Because I thought,27 ‘Surely no one fears God in this place. They will kill me because of28 my wife.’ 20:12 What’s more,29 she is indeed my sister, my father’s daughter, but not my mother’s daughter. She became my wife. 20:13 When God made me wander30 from my father’s house, I told her, ‘This is what you can do to show your loyalty to me:31 Every place we go, say about me, “He is my brother.”’”

20:14 So Abimelech gave32 sheep, cattle, and male and female servants to Abraham. He also gave his wife Sarah back to him. 20:15 Then Abimelech said, “Look, my land is before you; live wherever you please.”33

20:16 To Sarah he said, “Look, I have given a thousand pieces of silver34 to your ‘brother.’35 This is compensation for you so that you will stand vindicated before all who are with you.”36

20:17 Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, as well as his wife and female slaves so that they were able to have children. 20:18 For the Lord37 had caused infertility to strike every woman38 in the household of Abimelech because he took39 Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

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