Genesis 20:1-7

Abraham and Abimelech

1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between 1Kadesh and Shur; and he 2sojourned in 3Gerar.
2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, 4"She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
3 5But God came to Abimelech 6in 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."
4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, 7"Lord, will you kill an innocent people?
5 Did 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."
6 Then 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 8against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.
7 Now then, return the man's wife, 9for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you 10and all who are yours."

Genesis 20:1-7 Meaning and Commentary


This chapter relates the removal of Abraham to Gerar, Ge 20:1; the king of Gerar's taking to him Sarah, whom Abraham had called his sister, Ge 20:2; who is rebuked of God for it in a dream, Ge 20:3; for which he makes an apology that is admitted, only he is ordered to restore to Abraham his wife, Ge 20:4-7; and accordingly early in the morning he called his servants, and acquainted them with what had happened, Ge 20:8; and then sent for Abraham, and expressed his resentment at his usage of him, Ge 20:9; which Abraham defended as well as he could, Ge 20:10-13; the issue of all which was, great kindness was shown to Abraham, and his wife restored to him, though with a reproof to her from the king, Ge 20:14-16; upon which Abraham prayed for the healing of Abimelech and his family, in which he was heard and answered, Ge 20:17,18.

Cross References 10

  • 1. Genesis 16:7, 14
  • 2. Genesis 26:3
  • 3. Genesis 26:6
  • 4. See Genesis 12:13-20; Genesis 26:7-11
  • 5. Psalms 105:14
  • 6. Job 33:15, 16; Matthew 1:20; Matthew 2:12
  • 7. Genesis 18:23; [1 Chronicles 21:17]
  • 8. Genesis 39:9; Psalms 51:4
  • 9. 1 Samuel 7:5; Job 42:8
  • 10. [Numbers 16:32, 33]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.