We have here,
- Abraham's sin in denying his wife, and Abimelech's sin thereupon in taking her, ver. 1, 2.
- God's discourse with Abimelech in a dream upon this occasion; wherein he shews him his error, ver. 3.
accepts his plea, ver. 4, 5, 6.
and directs him to make restitution, ver. 7.
- Abimelech's discourse with Abraham; wherein he chides him for the cheat he had put upon him, ver. 8, 9, 10.
and Abraham excuses it as well as he can, ver. 11, 12, 13.
- The good issue of the story; in which Abimelech restores Abraham his wife, ver. 14, 15, 16.
and Abraham by prayer prevails with God for the removal of the judgment Abimelech was under, ver. 17, 18.
|And Abraham sojourned in Gerar - We are not told upon what occasion he removed, whether terrified by the destruction of Sodom, or, as some of the Jewish writers say, because he was grieved at Lot's incest with his daughters, and the reproach which the Canaanites cast upon him for his kinsman's sake. The king of Gerar sent and took her - To his house, in order to the taking of her to his bed.
|But God came to Abimelech in a dream - It appears by this that God revealed himself by dreams, which evidenced themselves to be divine and supernatural, not only to his servants the prophets, but even to those that were out of the pale of the church; but then usually it was with some regard to God's own people.
|Wilt thou slay also a righteous nation - Not such a nation as Sodom.
|I withheld thee from sinning against me - It is God that restrains men from doing the ill they would do; it is not from him that there is sin, but it is from him that there is not more sin, either by his influence on mens minds checking their inclination to sin, or by his providence taking away the opportunity. It is a great mercy to be hindered from committing sin, which God must have the glory of whoever is the instrument.
|Thou hast done deeds that ought not to be done - Equivocation and dissimulation, however they may be palliated, are very ill things, and by no means to be admitted in any case. He takes it as a very great injury to himself and his family, that Abraham had thus exposed them to sin, What have I offended thee? - If I had been thy worst enemy, thou couldst not have done me a worse turn, nor taken a more effectual course to be avenged on me. Note, We ought to reckon, that those do us the greatest dislikedness in the world, that any way tempt us or expose us to sin, though they may pretend friendship, and offer that which is grateful enough to the corrupt nature. He challenges him to assign any just cause he had to suspect them as a dangerous people for an honest man to live among.
|What sawest thou that thou hast done this thing - What reason hadst thou to think, that if we had known her to be thy wife, thou wouldst have been exposed to any danger by it?
|I thought surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will slay me - There are many places and persons that have more of the fear of God in them than we think they have; perhaps they are not called by our name, they do not wear our badges, they do not tie themselves to that which we have an opinion of; and therefore we conclude they have not the fear of God in their hearts!
|When God caused me to wander from my father's house - Then we settled this matter. It may be, that God denied Abraham and Sarah the blessing of children so long to punish them for this sinful compact they had made to deny one another: if they will not own their marriage, why should God own it? But we may suppose, that alter this reproof they agreed never to do so again, and then presently we read, Genesis 21:1 ,2, that Sarah conceived.
|Thy brother is to thee a covering of the eyes - Thou must look at no other, nor desire to be looked at by any other. Yoke - fellows must be to each other for a covering of the eyes. The marriage - covenant is a covenant with the eyes, like Job's, Job 31:1 .