Ge 20:1-18. Abraham's
Denial of His Wife.
1. Abraham journeyed from thence … and
dwelled between Kadesh and Shur—Leaving the encampment, he
migrated to the southern border of Canaan. In the neighborhood of Gerar
was a very rich and well-watered pasture land.
2. Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my
sister—Fear of the people among whom he was, tempted him to
equivocate. His conduct was highly culpable. It was deceit, deliberate
and premeditated—there was no sudden pressure upon him—it
was the second offense of the kind [see on Ge
12:13]—it was a distrust of God every way surprising, and it
was calculated to produce injurious effects on the heathen around. Its
mischievous tendency was not long in being developed.
Abimelech (father-king) … sent and
took Sarah—to be one of his wives, in the exercise of a
privilege claimed by Eastern sovereigns, already explained (see on Ge 12:15).
3. But God came to Abimelech in a
dream—In early times a dream was often made the medium of
communicating important truths; and this method was adopted for the
preservation of Sarah.
9. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said …
What hast thou done?—In what a humiliating plight does the
patriarch now appear—he, a servant of the true God, rebuked by a
heathen prince. Who would not rather be in the place of Abimelech than
of the honored but sadly offending patriarch! What a dignified attitude
is that of the king—calmly and justly reproving the sin of the
patriarch, but respecting his person and heaping coals of fire on his
head by the liberal presents made to him.
11. And Abraham said … I thought, Surely the
fear of God is not in this place—From the horrible vices of
Sodom he seems to have taken up the impression that all other cities of
Canaan were equally corrupt. There might have been few or none who
feared God, but what a sad thing when men of the world show a higher
sense of honor and a greater abhorrence of crimes than a true
12. yet indeed she is my sister—(See on
Ge 11:31). What a poor defense Abraham made. The
statement absolved him from the charge of direct and absolute
falsehood, but he had told a moral untruth because there was an
intention to deceive (compare Ge 12:11-13). "Honesty is always the best policy."
Abraham's life would have been as well protected without the fraud as
with it: and what shame to himself, what distrust to God, what dishonor
to religion might have been prevented! "Let us speak truth every man to
his neighbor" [Zec 8:16; Eph 4:25].