1 And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar.
2 Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”
4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also?
5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.”
6 And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore, I did not let you touch her.
7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
Sarah’s beauty is always causing problems to no mean men but kings. She brought trouble to the king of the world’s superpower of the time, Egypt. Now Abimelech, king of the Philistines is in trouble. For God to tell you you’re a dead man, a walking corpse is frightening indeed.
Abraham and Sarah signed a pact to tell this particular lie (v 13). They decided that wherever they went, Sarah would be introduced as Abraham’s sister, so Abraham wouldn’t be killed and Sarah snatched.
This is a typical example of human frailty. Abraham could believe that God would lead him to the Promised Land and it came to pass (chapter 12). He believed that God would make him rich and it came to pass. God promised him a son, Isaac; and it came to pass after 25 years. Yet, when it came to Sarah, he couldn’t believe that God would protect him and had to resort to the use of human wisdom (lies), which was always exposed.
Despite God admitting that Abimelech took Sarah in innocence and in the integrity of his heart; not knowing she was Abraham’s wife, God closed the womb of all humans and animals connected to Abimelech until Abraham prayed for him (vv 17&18).
Surprisingly, it’s not recorded anywhere in the Bible that God rebuked Abraham for his lies. This one is too difficult for my human mind to understand. Indeed, His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. It however reminds me of the dream I had last year, where some people came to accuse me to Jesus in public. Jesus didn’t allow them to do it in order to embarrass me. He however asked me to see him privately in heaven. When I went, He only lovingly and passionately told me some other things and never mentioned the bad things I had done, for which the people wanted to accuse me of. Oh, how relieved I was and eager to leave His presence before He recalls the matter (as if He forgets anything in the first place).
He’s a merciful God and a compassionate Father. May He look beyond all our faults and meet us at our points of need. Amen