Genesis 20:16

16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekelsa of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

Read Genesis 20:16 Using Other Translations

And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.
To Sarah he said, "Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated."
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.”

What does Genesis 20:16 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Genesis 20:16

And unto Sarah he said, behold, I have given thy brother a
thousand [pieces] of silver
Or shekels of silver, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, which, if two shillings and sixpence of our money, amount to one hundred and twenty five pounds; though perhaps little pieces of silver, current in this country, may be meant, that were not worth so much. Some think that the sheep, oxen Abimelech had given to Abraham, were worth so many pieces of silver: but it rather seems that he gave these over and above them, and chiefly for Sarah's use, as will be observed hereafter; since the words are directed to her, and in which there is a sharp cutting expression, calling Abraham her brother, and not her husband, thereby putting her in mind and upbraiding her with her equivocation and dissimulation: behold, he [is] to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that [are]
with thee;
a protection of her person and chastity: so an husband, in our language, is said to be a cover to his wife, and she under a cover: thus Abraham being now known to be the husband of Sarah, would for the future be a covering to her, that no one should look upon her, and desire her, and take her to be his wife; and he would also be a protection to her maidens that were with her, the wives of his servants, that these also might not be taken from him: but it seems best to refer this to the gift of the thousand pieces of silver, and read the words, "behold, this is to thee F8 a covering of the eyes"; so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem; for the words are a continued biting sarcasm on Sarah; as Abimelech twits her with calling Abraham her brother in the preceding clause, so in this he tells her that he had given him so much money to buy her a veil with, and to supply her with veils from time to time to cover her eyes, that nobody might be tempted to lust after her, and that it might be known she was a married woman; for in these countries married women wore veils for distinction, ( Genesis 24:65 ) ; and so not to be had by another, nor would any be deceived by her; and not only was this money given to buy veils for her, but for her female servants also that were married, that they might be knows to be another's property; though this latter phrase "unto", or "with all that [are] with thee" F9, may be understood, not of persons, but of things, even of all the girls which Abimelech had given her while in his house; these he did not, take back again, but continued them with her, either for the above use, or whatever she pleased; and the following phrase, and with all [other],
as we render it, making a considerable stop, should, according to the accents, be read with what follows thus, "and with all this was she reproved" F11; so Aben Ezra; and so they are the words of Moses, observing, that by and with all this that Abimelech had said and done, thus she was reproved;
Sarah was reproved for saying that Abraham was her brother: or the words may be rendered thus, "and so before all she was reproved" F12; before her husband, and before Abimelech's courtiers, and perhaps before her own servants; though Ainsworth, and others, take them to be the words of Abimelech, and render them, "and all that", or "all this is that thou mayest be rebuked" F13, or instructed; all that I have said and done is for this end, that thou mayest be warned and be careful for the future to speak out truth, without any equivocation, and not call Abraham thy brother, when he is thy husband.


FOOTNOTES:

F8 (Kl awh) (tauta estai soi) , Sept. "hoe erit tibi", V. L. Schmidt; so Tigurine version, Montanus, Jarchi & Ben Melech.
F9 (Kta rva lkl) "cum omni quod tecum est", Schmidt.
F11 (txknw lk taw) "et sic cum omnibus reprehensa est", Munster.
F12 "Atque ita coram omnibus increpata fuit", Noldii Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 314. No. 1219.
F13 "Atque haec omnia, ut erudita sis", Junius & Tremellius; "reprehensa es", De Dieu.
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