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Genesis 20 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Abraham Tricks Abimelech

20 Abraham left Hebron [13:18] and traveled to ·southern Canaan [L the Negev; 13:1] where he stayed awhile between Kadesh [16:14] and Shur [16:7]. When he ·moved to [sojourned/lived as an alien in] Gerar [C north of Kadesh and Shur; present-day Tell Abu Hureirah], he said to people about Sarah his wife, “She is my sister” [12:10–20; 26:1–11]. Abimelech king of Gerar heard this, so he sent some servants to take her. But one night God spoke to Abimelech in a dream and said, “You will die. The woman you took is married.”

But Abimelech had not gone near Sarah, so he said, “Lord, would you ·destroy [L kill; slay] an innocent nation? ·Abraham himself told [L Did he not tell…?] me, ‘This woman is my sister,’ and ·she also said [L did she not also say…?], ‘He is my brother.’ I ·am innocent and did not know I was doing anything wrong [L did this with a pure conscience/blameless heart and innocent hands].”

Then God said to Abimelech in the dream, “Yes, I know you did ·not realize what you were doing [this with a pure conscience/L blameless heart]. So I ·did not allow you to sin [restrained you from sinning] against me and touch her. Give ·Abraham [L the man] his wife back. He is a prophet [C one who interceded for others]. He will pray for you, and you will not die. But if you do not give Sarah back, you and all ·your family [L who belong to you] will surely die.”

So early the next morning, Abimelech called all his ·officers [L servants] and told them everything that had happened in the dream. They were very afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham to him and said, “What have you done to us? What ·wrong [offense; sin] did I do against you? Why did you bring this ·trouble [great offense/guilt; L great sin] to my kingdom? You should not have done these things to me. 10 What ·were you thinking [possessed you] that caused you to do this?”

11 Then Abraham answered, “I thought no one in this place ·respected [feared] God and that someone would kill me to get ·Sarah [L my wife]. 12 And it is true that she is my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but she is not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 When God ·told me to leave my father’s house and wander in many different places [L caused me to wander from my father’s home; 12:1], I told Sarah, ‘You must ·do a special favor for [or show loyalty to] me. Everywhere we go tell people, “He is my brother.”’”

14 Then Abimelech gave Abraham some sheep, cattle, and male and female slaves. He also gave Sarah, Abraham’s wife, back to him 15 and said, “·Look around you at my land [L My land is before you]. You may live anywhere you want.”

16 Abimelech said to Sarah, “I gave your brother Abraham ·twenty-five pounds [L one thousand pieces] of silver ·to make up for any wrong that people may think about you [L —a covering of the eyes to all who are with you; C an indication that nothing improper happened]. I want everyone to know that you are innocent.”

17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his servant girls so they could have children. 18 The Lord had ·kept all the women in Abimelech’s house from having children [L closed up every womb of the house of Abimelech] ·as a punishment on Abimelech for taking [L on account of] Abraham’s wife Sarah.

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

Genesis 20 New International Version (NIV)

Abraham and Abimelek

20 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, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

But God came to Abimelek 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.”

Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 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.

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. 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 who belong to you will die.”

Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. Then Abimelek 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 never be done. 10 And Abimelek 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 Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”

16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels[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 Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, 18 for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.


  1. Genesis 20:16 That is, about 25 pounds or about 12 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)

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