Genesis 20 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Genesis 20)
20:1 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and a Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.

(a) Which was toward Egypt.

20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, b She [is] my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.

(b) Abraham had now twice fallen into this sin: such is man's frailty.

20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, c thou [art but] a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she [is] a man's wife.

(c) So greatly God detests the breach of marriage.

20:4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also d a righteous nation?

(d) The infidels confessed that God would not punish but for just occasion: therefore, when he punishes, the occasion is just.

20:5 Said he not unto me, She [is] my sister? and she, even she herself said, He [is] my brother: in the integrity of my e heart and f innocency of my hands have I done this.

(e) As one falling by ignorance, and not doing evil on purpose.
(f) Not thinking to do any man harm.

20:6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also g withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

(g) God by his holy Spirit restrains those who offend in ignorance, that they not fall into greater offence..

20:7 Now therefore restore the man [his] wife; for he [is] a h prophet, and he i shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore [her] not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that [are] thine.

(h) That is, one to whom God reveals himself familiarly.
(i) For the prayer of the godly is of force towards God.

20:9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my k kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.

(k) The wickedness of the king brings God's wrath on the whole realm.

20:11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the l fear of God [is] not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.

(l) He shows that no honesty can be hoped for, where there is no fear of God.

20:12 And yet indeed [she is] my m sister; she [is] the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

(m) By sister, he means his full cousin, and by daughter Abraham's niece, (Genesis 11:29) for so the Hebrews use these words.

20:16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand [pieces] of silver: behold, he [is] to thee a n covering of the eyes, unto all that [are] with thee, and with all [other]: o thus she was reproved.

(n) Such a head as with whom you may be preserved from all dangers.
(o) God caused this heathen king to reprove her because she concealed her identity, seeing that God had given her a husband as her veil and defence.

20:18 For the LORD p had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.

(p) Had taken away from them the gift of conceiving.