Genesis 20 – 21

Sarah is now fertile.  That means that Abraham can’t travel around claiming that she is his sister and let Abimelech sleep with her.  The blessing of Abraham is under threat again.  How would we know whose seed has blossomed if Sarah has more than one man’s seed sitting in her womb?  God mercifully intervenes and directs Abimelech to treat Abraham with respect and give him his wife back before anything happens.  Now the promise is fulfilled – God is gracious.

Genesis 20 – 21

 1 Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

 4 Now Abimelech had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”

 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. 7 Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die.”

 8 Early the next morning Abimelech summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should not be done.” 10 And Abimelech asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”

 11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.” ‘ ”

 14 Then Abimelech brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”

 16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels <SUP class=footnote value='[a]’>[a] of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

 17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again, 18 for the LORD had closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac <SUP class=footnote value='[a]’>[a] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

 6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

 8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

 11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring <SUP class=footnote value='[b]’>[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

 14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there nearby, she <SUP class=footnote value='[c]’>[c] began to sob.

 17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

 20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.

 22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you are living as an alien the same kindness I have shown to you.”

 24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”

 25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized. 26 But Abimelech said, “I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.”

 27 So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a treaty. 28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, 29 and Abimelech asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?”

 30 He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.”

 31 So that place was called Beersheba, <SUP class=footnote value='[d]’>[d] because the two men swore an oath there.

 32 After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.

Questions

  1. Who sent for Sarah and took her?
  2. What had Abraham said to himself?
  3. What happened at the very time that God had promised Abraham?
  4. How has God preserved his promise to Abraham?
  5. How has God preserved his faithfulness to walk with you as you walk with him?

Going Deeper

Observation

  • Where did Abraham move?
  • Who prevents Abimelech from sleeping with Sarah?  How?
  • What did God bring to Sarah besides a baby?
  • What was the so whom Hagar the Egyptian had born to Abraham doing?
  • What did Abimelech pursuade Abraham to do?

Interpretation

  • Why was Abraham often in motion from one place to another?
  • Why is the name Abimelech common for rulers?
  • How is the word ‘laughter’ used significantly?
  • How would you describe in your own words the relationship between Hagar, Sarah, Ishmael, and Isaac?
  • Who were the Philistines?

Application

  • How protective are you of your family?
  • How has God protected your family?
  • How have you been cruel to someone because of your own bitterness?
  • How has God protected another from your spite?
  • How has God used difficult relationships, with hurtful interractions, to grow the people involved?

 

 

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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