Genesis 12:10–20; 20:1–18
Works of art by Willem de Pannemaker, Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder, Giovanni Strazza, and Isaac Isaacsz
Commentaries by Nyasha Junior
Genesis 12:10–20; 20:1–18
Bible passage (Revised Standard Version)
10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarʹai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful to behold; 12and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.” 14When Abram entered Egypt the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, he-asses, menservants, maidservants, she-asses, and camels.
17 But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarʹai, Abram’s wife. 18So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her, and be gone.” 20And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him; and they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had.
20 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimʹelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3But God came to Abimʹelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a man’s wife.” 4Now Abimʹelech had not approached her; so he said, “Lord, wilt thou slay an innocent people? 5Did he not himself 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.” 6Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7Now then restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you, and all that are yours.”
8 So Abimʹelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told them all these things; and the men were very much afraid. 9Then Abimʹelech called Abraham, and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” 10And Abimʹelech said to Abraham, “What were you thinking of, that you did this thing?” 11Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. 12Besides she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, He is my brother.’ ” 14Then Abimʹelech took sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham, and restored Sarah his wife to him. 15And Abimʹelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” 16To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; it is your vindication in the eyes of all who are with you; and before every one you are righted.” 17Then Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimʹelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. 18For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimʹelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.