Genesis 20

 

וַיִּסַּע מִשָּׁם אַבְרָהָם אַרְצָה הַנֶּגֶב וַיֵּשֶׁב בֵּין קָדֵשׁ וּבֵין שׁוּר וַיָּגָר בִּגְרָר  20:1

Gene. 20:1  And Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the south and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.

וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם אֶל שָׂרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ אֲחֹתִי הִוא וַיִּשְׁלַח אֲבִימֶלֶךְ מֶלֶךְ גְּרָר וַיִּקַּח אֶת שָׂרָה  20:2

Gene. 20:2  And Abraham said about Sarah, his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah.

Sarah is at this point in time about thirteen years older than she was the last time something like this happened, and I thought then that God might have made her beautiful and desirable.  If I’m right, it was in order to enrich Abraham.  Incidentally, the name Abimelech can mean “My father is a king” or “A king is my father.”

וַיָּבֹא אֱלֹהִים אֶל אֲבִימֶלֶךְ בַּחֲלוֹם הַלָּיְלָה וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הִנְּךָ מֵת עַל הָאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר לָקַחְתָּ וְהִוא  20:3

בְּעֻלַת בָּעַל

Gene. 20:3  And God came to Abimelech in a dream at night and said to him, “Behold, you could have been dead because of the woman whom you took, as she is married to a husband.”

                                                                                                                             [Return to Gene. 21:23]

וַאֲבִימֶלֶךְ לֹא קָרַב אֵלֶיהָ וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנָי הֲגוֹי גַּם צַדִּיק תַּהֲרֹג  20:4

Gene. 20:4  Now Abimelech had not come near to her, and he said, “Lord, would You slay one who is a gentile yet righteous?”

הֲלֹא הוּא אָמַר לִי אֲחֹתִי הִוא וְהִיא גַם הִוא אָמְרָה אָחִי הוּא בְּתָם לְבָבִי וּבְנִקְיֹן כַּפַּי עָשִׂיתִי  20:5

זֹאת

Gene. 20:5  “Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister?’  And she, she also said, ‘He is my brother.’  I did this in the naiveté of my heart and with the innocence of my hand.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הָאֱלֹהִים בַּחֲלֹם גַּם אָנֹכִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי בְתָםלְבָבְךָ עָשִׂיתָ זֹּאת וָאֶחְשֹׂךְ  20:6

גַּם אָנֹכִי אוֹתְךָ מֵחֲטוֹ לִי עַל כֵּן לֹא נְתַתִּיךָ לִנְגֹּעַ אֵלֶיהָ

Gene. 20:6  And He Who is God said to him in the dream, “Indeed I know that you did this in the naiveté of your heart, but I could also restrain you from sinning toward Me.  Therefore I did not permit you to touch her.”

So adultery was already a sin although the ten commandments would not be given to the world for another five hundred years or so.  In addition, this verse, among others in the bible, testifies to the fact that God may talk to anyone, at least in dreams.  There’s something else peculiar about this and the preceding verses.  In v. 20:3, God says to Abimelech “Behold, you could have been dead ….”  This appears to be an unnecessary warning, given that the Lord had prevented Abimelech from sinning.  By the way, the next non-inverting vav appears in %fox.a,w", the verb being first person imperfect.

וְעַתָּה הָשֵׁב אֵשֶׁת הָאִישׁ כִּי נָבִיא הוּא וְיִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעַדְךָ וֶחְיֵה וְאִם אֵינְךָ מֵשִׁיבדַּע כִּי מוֹת תָּמוּת  20:7

אַתָּה וְכָל אֲשֶׁר לָךְ

Gene. 20:7  “So now restore the wife of the man, for he is a prophet and he will pray for you that you will live; but if you are not going to restore her, know you will surely die, you and all who are yours.”

וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אֲבִימֶלֶךְ בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּקְרָא לְכָל עֲבָדָיו וַיְדַבֵּר אֶת כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה בְּאָזְנֵיהֶם וַיִּירְאו  20:8

הָאֲנָשִׁים מְאֹד

Gene. 20:8  And Abimelech arose early in the morning and called all his servants and told all these things to their ears, and the men were very afraid.

וַיִּקְרָא אֲבִימֶלֶךְ לְאַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מֶה עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ וּמֶה חָטָאתִי לָךְ כִּי הֵבֵאתָ עָלַי וְעַל   20:9

מַמְלַכְתִּי חֲטָאָה גְדֹלָה מַעֲשִׂים אֲשֶׁר לֹא יֵעָשׂוּ עָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי

Gene. 20:9  And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us and how have I sinned toward you that you have brought on me and on my kingdom such a great sin?  You have done things with me that should not be done.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶל אַבְרָהָם מָה רָאִיתָ כִּי עָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה  20:10

Gene. 20:10   And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you imagine that you did this thing?”

וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם כִּי אָמַרְתִּי רַק אֵין יִרְאַת אֱלֹהִים בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה וַהֲרָגוּנִי עַל דְּבַר אִשְׁתִּי  20:11

Gene. 20:11   And Abraham said, “Because I thought surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will slay me because of my wife.”

וְגַם אָמְנָה אֲחֹתִי בַת אָבִי הִוא אַךְ לֹא בַת אִמִּי וַתְּהִי לִי לְאִשָּׁה  20:12

Gene. 20:12   “And indeed she is also my sister -- she is the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother – and she is my wife.”

וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר הִתְעוּ אֹתִי אֱלֹהִים מִבֵּית אָבִי וָאֹמַר לָהּ זֶה חַסְדֵּךְ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשִׂי עִמָּדִי אֶל  20:13

כָּל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר נָבוֹא שָׁמָּה אִמְרִי לִי אָחִי הוּא

Gene. 20:13   “And it was while God caused me to wander from the house of my father that I would say to her, “This is your kindness that you will show me:  Into every place where we will come, say about me, ‘He is my brother.’”

We have another non-inverting vav prefix of a first-person imperfect verb.  It is the eighth word in the verse, translated as “... that I would say....”

וַיִּקַּח אֲבִימֶלֶךְ צֹאן וּבָקָר וַעֲבָדִים וּשְׁפָחֹת וַיִּתֵּן לְאַבְרָהָם וַיָּשֶׁב לוֹ אֵת שָׂרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ  20:14

Gene. 20:14   And Abimelech took sheep and cattle and manservants and maidservants and gave to Abraham and he returned Sarah, his wife, to him.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ הִנֵּה אַרְצִי לְפָנֶיךָ בַּטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ שֵׁב  20:15

Gene. 20:15   And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.”

וּלְשָׂרָה אָמַר הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי אֶלֶף כֶּסֶף לְאָחִיך ְהִנֵּה הוּא לָךְ כְּסוּת עֵינַיִם לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר אִתָּךְ וְאֵת  20:16

כֹּל וְנֹכָחַת

Gene. 20:16   And to Sarah he said, “Behold, I give one thousand pieces of silver to your brother; behold, it is an apology to you to any and all who are with you.”  And she was persuaded.

The last portion of the verse, tx;k'nOw> lKo taew> %T'a irv,a] lkol, can be considered somewhat ambiguous, and has been translated a number of ways.  One translation has “and before all men thou are righted.”  Another has “and with all other. Thus thou are rebuked.”  Another has “and with all other: thus she was reproved”  None of these sticks closely to the Hebrew, adding words or ignoring others.  In my translation the implication is that she was angry.  At Abraham, or Abimelech?  My guess is that it was at Abraham.

וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אַבְרָהָם אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּרְפָּא אֱלֹהִים אֶת אֲבִימֶלֶךְ וְאֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאַמְהֹתָיו וַיֵּלֵדוּ 20:17

Gene. 20:17   And Abraham prayed to He Who is God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maidservants, so they could beget.

Apparently from v. 20:9 and this verse, we can conclude that God had made Abimelech impotent and, perhaps, the women of his household infertile.  Or maybe it was only Abimelech whom God had “restrained,” but the scribe may have seen fit to include the women here so as to minimize the embarrassment to Abimelech (or possibly to then living kings who might have done something similar or who were impotent)?

כִּי עָצֹר עָצַר יְהוָה בְּעַד כָּל רֶחֶם לְבֵית אֲבִימֶלֶךְ עַל דְּבַר שָׂרָה אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָהָם  20:18

Gene. 20:18   For earlier the Lord had tightly stopped every womb of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, the wife of Abraham.

Is this verse intended to quell any potential questions like the ones relating to v. 20:17?  It doesn’t do so completely, because in v.20:17 it says God healed Abimelech (from being restrained).

 

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