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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 20

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1 ABRAHAM journeyed by stages from there into the Negeb, and settled between Kadesh and Shur, living as an alien in Gerar. 2He said of Sarah his wife that she was his sister, and King Abimelech of Gerar had her brought to him. 3But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said, ‘You shall die because of this woman whom you have taken; she is a married woman.’ 4Abimelech, who had not gone near her, protested, ‘Lord, will you destroy people who are innocent? 5He told me himself that she was his sister, and she also said that he was her brother. It was in good faith and in all innocence that I did this.’ 6‘Yes, I know that you acted in good faith,’ God replied in the dream. ‘Indeed, it was I who held you back from committing a sin against me. That was why I did not let you touch her. 7But now send back the man's wife; he is a prophet and will intercede on your behalf, and you will live. But if you do not give her back, I tell you that you are doomed to die, you and all your household.’

8Next morning Abimelech rose early and called together all his court officials; when he told them the whole story, the men were terrified. 9Abimelech then summoned Abraham. ‘Why have you treated us like this?’ he demanded. ‘What harm have I done you that you should bring this great sin on me and my kingdom? You have done to me something you ought never to have done.’ 10And he asked, ‘What was your purpose in doing this?’ 11Abraham answered, ‘I said to myself, “There is no fear of God in this place, and I shall be killed for the sake of my wife.” 12She is in fact my sister, my father's daughter though not by my mother, and she became my wife. 13When God set me wandering from my father's house, I said to her, “There is a duty towards me which you must loyally fulfil: wherever we go, you must say that I am your brother.”’ 14Then Abimelech took sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham. He returned Sarah to him 15and said, ‘My country is at your disposal; settle wherever you please.’ 16To Sarah he said, ‘I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver to compensate you for all that has befallen you; you are completely cleared.’ 17Then Abraham interceded with God, and he healed Abimelech, his wife, and his slave-girls, so that they could have children; 18for the LORD had made every woman in Abimelech's household barren on account of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

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