Genesis 20

1 Abraham traveled from there towards the land of the South, and lived between Kadesh and Shur. He lived as a foreigner in Gerar. 2 Abraham said about Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the 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 come near her. He said, “Lord, will you kill even a righteous nation? 5 Didn’t he tell me, ‘She is my sister?’ She, even she herself, said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands have I done this.” 6 God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also withheld you from sinning against me. Therefore I didn’t allow you to touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife. For he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live. If you don’t restore her, know for sure that you will die, you, and all who are yours.” 8 Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ear. The men were very scared. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done!” 10 Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you have done this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘Surely the fear of God is not in this place. They will kill me for my wife’s sake.’ 12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 When God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is your kindness which you shall show to me. Everywhere that we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’” 14 Abimelech took sheep and cattle, male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored Sarah, his wife, to him. 15 Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you. Dwell where it pleases you.” 16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. Behold, it is for you a covering of the eyes to all that are with you. In front of all you are vindicated.” 17 Abraham prayed to God. God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his female servants, and they bore children. 18 For the LORD had closed up tight all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–8

Crooked policy will not prosper: it brings ourselves and others into danger. God gives Abimelech notice of his danger of sin, and his danger of death for his sin. Every wilful sinner is a dead man, but Abimelech pleads ignorance. If our consciences witness, that, however we may have been cheated into a snare, we have not knowingly sinned against God, it will be our rejoicing in the day of evil. It is matter of comfort to those who are honest, that God knows their honesty, and will acknowledge it. It is a great mercy to be hindered from committing sin; of this God must have the glory. But if we have ignorantly done wrong, that will not excuse us, if we knowingly persist in it. He that does wrong, whoever he is, prince or peasant, shall certainly receive for the wrong which he has done, unless he repent, and, if possible, make restitution.

Verses 9–13

See here much to blame, even in the father of the faithful. Mark his distrust of God, his undue care about life, his intent to deceive. He also threw temptation in the way of others, caused affliction to them, exposed himself and Sarah to just rebukes, and yet attempted an excuse. These things are written for our warning, not for us to imitate. Even Abraham hath not whereof to glory. He cannot be justified by his works, but must be indebted for justification, to that righteousness which is upon all and unto all them that believe. We must not condemn all as hypocrites who fall into sin, if they do not continue in it. But let the unhumbled and impenitent take heed that they do not sin on, thinking that grace may abound. Abimelech, being warned of God, takes the warning; and being truly afraid of sin and its consequences, he rose early to pursue the directions given him.

Verses 14–18

We often trouble ourselves, and even are led into temptation and sin, by groundless suspicions; and find the fear of God where we expected it not. Agreements to deceive generally end in shame and sorrow; and restraints from sin, though by suffering, should be thankfully acknowledged. Though the Lord rebuke, yet he will pardon and deliver his people, and he will give them favour in the sight of those with whom they sojourn; and overrule their infirmities, when they are humbled for them, so that they shall prove useful to themselves and others.

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