Genesis 20:2 Fearing the same results that could have happened in Egypt, both Abraham and Sarah lie saying they are only brother and sister. The king then took Sarah to be one of his harem. Apparently, even at her age, Sarah was still a very beautiful woman.
Genesis 20:3 The Lord speaks to the King of Gerar and informs him he has the wife of another man and threatens to take his life.
Notes: This episode emphasizes in a variety of ways the important point that Sarah has not had intercourse with the king or any other man for that matter; otherwise, Abimelech could be the father of the son born to Sarah. This is important for future validation that Isaac, to be born soon would truly be the heir promised by God to Abraham.
Genesis 20:4-5 King Gerar pleads innocent that he did not know that Abraham and Sarah were married.
Genesis 20:6-7 The Lord commands the king to return Sarah and that he would be released from any guilt through Abraham’s prayer. If not, he is as good as dead. Abraham is here first to be described as a prophet. One of the roles a prophet performs is to intercede for others by prayer. Today, all God’s children have that same privilege.
Notes: The Lord uses Abraham as a mediator through prayer. This is an example for us that even though God will do what He wills, he allows us to be part of the process. We too as Christians are favored by God, and though not perfect (Like Abraham for lying); we are still used by God to intercede for others.
Genesis 20:8-10 The king confronts Abraham, defending himself that he did nothing to deserve this treatment and demands to know why Abraham did this to him. This great-sin would have been adultery.
Genesis 20:11-13 Although Abraham’s excuse on the surface is a half-truth, it was still deceptive. It appears that even though only recorded in the bible he did this twice, Abraham mentions they do this wherever they happen to settle. These two cases in the bible may be the only two times it did not work. Abraham, by telling this half-truth save his own skin, but he did it without any regard for anyone else’s life or safety. The outcome shows that the King and his people are God-fearing, so Abraham’s lack of faith and judgment that the people of the land had no fear of the Lord was not grounded in any proof. Abraham may have made this assumption on all the wicked people of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Notes: God may have said he will bless those that bless Abraham and curse those that curse Abraham, but Abraham should not be the instrument through deceit to cause the curse. This is a case of being self-righteous, not seeing as God sees, and quickly passing judgment on others, making assumptions that no one else is righteous when comparing them to ourselves.
Genesis 20:14-15 Abimelech’s generosity, on top of his innocence, contrasts sharply with Abraham’s self-serving deception regarding the truth about Sarah. Not only did the king release Sarah, but sent her back with gifts of animals, male and female servants, and any land in his kingdom to dwell on.
Genesis 20:16 To prove to all around that the king did not touch or defile Sarah, he gave Abraham a thousand pieces of silver as a sign before everyone that Sarah was innocent.
Genesis 20:17-18 The Lord kept his word, and after Abraham interceded for the king, the Lord healed the king (What he did to the king to be healed is not clear), and healed his wife and his harem that they would bear him children, for he closed their wombs (baby making machine).