Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner,
Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace.
But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!”
But Abimelech had not slept with her yet, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation?
Didn’t Abraham tell me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘Yes, he is my brother.’ I acted in complete innocence! My hands are clean.”
In the dream God responded, “Yes, I know you are innocent. That’s why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I did not let you touch her.
Now return the woman 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 all your people will die.”
Abimelech got up early the next morning and quickly called all his servants together. When he told them what had happened, his men were terrified.
Then Abimelech called for Abraham. “What have you done to us?” he demanded. “What crime have I committed that deserves treatment like this, making me and my kingdom guilty of this great sin? No one should ever do what you have done!
Whatever possessed you to do such a thing?”
Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘This is a godless place. They will want my wife and will kill me to get her.’
And she really is my sister, for we both have the same father, but different mothers. And I married her.
When God called me to leave my father’s home and to travel from place to place, I told her, ‘Do me a favor. Wherever we go, tell the people that I am your brother.’”
Then Abimelech took some of his sheep and goats, cattle, and male and female servants, and he presented them to Abraham. He also returned his wife, Sarah, to him.
Then Abimelech said, “Look over my land and choose any place where you would like to live.”
And he said to Sarah, “Look, I am giving your ‘brother’ 1,000 pieces of silver in the presence of all these witnesses. This is to compensate you for any wrong I may have done to you. This will settle any claim against me, and your reputation is cleared.”
Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants, so they could have children.
For the LORD had caused all the women to be infertile because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.