Daily Word

Same sin – round 2 | Genesis 20:1-7

1 Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he lived for a time in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent men and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.”

4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You kill a nation, even though blameless? 5 Did he himself not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”

6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, 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.”

Genesis 20:1-7 (NASB) 

Same sin – round 2

With Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by the Lord, Abraham decides to move. It seems he heads North, to the land of the Philistines (see map below). He gets to Gerar where Abimelech is king. Abraham pulls the same stunt out of fear – he tries to pass Sarah off as his sister. If you remember, he did the same thing when he went to Egypt. There, it was God’s grace that prevented him from getting killed by Pharaoh.

Pagan shows him up

The pagan king Abimelech appears to be more righteous than faithful Abraham. It’s weird that he just assumes he can take Sarah into his harem but it seems to be their custom. Sarah, at 90, was probably no longer the knockout she was in Egypt. Most commentators believe the move by Abimilech was to align with Abraham – who by that time was quite wealthy.

We note that it was actually God who kept Abimelech from sinning (v6). Among other things, He wanted to preserve His promise of a son through Abraham (not through Abimelech). 

What can we learn?

“… the episode is chiefly one of suspense: on the brink of Isaac’s birth-story here is the very Promise put in jeopardy, traded away for personal safety. If it is ever to be fulfilled, it will owe very little to man. Morally as well as physically, it will clearly have to be achieved by the grace of God.” (Kidner quoted by planobiblechapel.org)


  • For those of us who are older, especially, we should keep in mind, “Age does not automatically sanctify us. Unless yielded to the Spirit of God, we will repeat in our old age the sinful patterns of our youth.” (enduringword.com)
  • Let’s not be too quick to judge Abraham. Any of us, if our sins be displayed, could likely not hold a candle to Abraham.
Land of canaan – Abraham to Moses. Image from seektheoldpaths.com *

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