Abraham moved away from there into the Negev Desert. He lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar.
There Abraham said about his wife Sarah, "She's my sister." Then Abimelech sent for Sarah and took her. He was the king of Gerar.
God came to Abimelech in a dream one night. He said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken. She is already married."
But Abimelech hadn't gone near her. So he said, "Lord, will you destroy a nation that hasn't done anything wrong?
Didn't Abraham say to me, 'She's my sister'? And didn't she also say, 'He's my brother'? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. I'm not guilty."
Then God spoke to him in the dream. He said, "Yes, I know you had no idea you were doing anything wrong. So I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.
"Now return the man's wife to him. He is a prophet. He will pray for you, and you will live. But what if you do not return her? Then you can be sure that you and all of your people will die."
Early the next morning Abimelech sent for all of his officials. He told them everything that had happened. They were really afraid.
Then Abimelech called Abraham in. He said, "What have you done to us? Have I done something wrong to you? Why have you brought so much guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that shouldn't be done."
Abimelech also asked Abraham, "Why did you do this?"
Abraham replied, "I thought, 'There isn't any respect for God in this place at all. They will kill me because of my wife.'
Besides, she really is my sister. She's the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife.
"God had me wander away from my father's house. So I said to her, 'Here is how you can show your love to me. Everywhere we go, say about me, "He's my brother." ' "
Then Abimelech gave Abraham sheep and cattle and male and female slaves. He also returned his wife Sarah to him.
Abimelech said, "Here is my land. Live anywhere you want to."
He said to Sarah, "I'm giving your brother 25 pounds of silver. It will take care of the problem we caused you. And all those who are with you will know that you aren't guilty of doing anything wrong."
Then Abraham prayed to God. And God healed Abimelech. He also healed his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again.
The LORD had kept the women in Abimelech's house from having children. He had done it because of Abraham's wife Sarah.