Now Abraham moved south to the Negev and settled for a while between Kadesh and Shur at a place called Gerar.
Abraham told people there that his wife, Sarah, was his sister. So King Abimelech sent for her and had her brought to him at his palace.
But one night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, "You are a dead man, for that woman you took is married."
But Abimelech had not slept with her yet, so he said, "Lord, will you kill an innocent man?
Abraham told me, 'She is my sister,' and she herself said, 'Yes, he is my brother.' I acted in complete innocence!"
"Yes, I know you are innocent," God replied. "That is why I kept you from sinning against me; I did not let you touch her.
Now return her to her husband, and he will pray for you, for he is a prophet. Then you will live. But if you don't return her to him, you can be sure that you and your entire household will die."
Abimelech got up early the next morning and hastily called a meeting of all his servants. When he told them what had happened, great fear swept through the crowd.
Then Abimelech called for Abraham. "What is this you have done to us?" he demanded. "What have I done to you that deserves treatment like this, making me and my kingdom guilty of this great sin? This kind of thing should not be done!
Why have you done this to us?"
"Well," Abraham said, "I figured this to be a godless place. I thought, 'They will want my wife and will kill me to get her.'
Besides, she is my sister -- we both have the same father, though different mothers -- and I married her.
When God sent me to travel far from my father's home, I told her, 'Wherever we go, have the kindness to say that you are my sister.'"
Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and servants -- both men and women -- and gave them to Abraham, and he returned his wife, Sarah, to him.
"Look over my kingdom, and choose a place where you would like to live," Abimelech told him.
Then he turned to Sarah. "Look," he said, "I am giving your 'brother' a thousand pieces of silver a to compensate for any embarrassment I may have caused you. This will settle any claim against me in this matter."
Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and the other women of the household, so they could have children.
For the LORD had stricken all the women with infertility as a warning to Abimelech for having taken Abraham's wife.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)