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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 20

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Gerara; at a greater distance from the devoted country of Sodom. (Haydock)

Verse 2

He said to the king, and to all others who made inquiry, as it was his custom, whenever he came into a strange land, ver. 13. He was encouraged to do this, by the protection which God had shewn him in Egypt. --- Took her, against her will, as Pharao had done. (Haydock) --- Though she was ninety years old, and with child, her beauty was still extraordinary, the Rabbin think miraculous. At that time people lived above 120 years; so that at the age of ninety, she would only be about as near the end of her life as our women are at forty; and we often see people sufficiently attracting at that age. (Calmet)

Verse 3

Abimelech. This was an usual title of kings in Chanaan, and a very good one, to remind them and their subjects, of their obligations, (Haydock) as it means "my father the king." The behaviour of the prince shews, that as yet all sense of duty and knowledge of the true God was not banished from the country. (Calmet) --- Shalt die, unless thou restore the woman, whom thou hast taken by force; on whose account I have already afflicted thee, (ver. 7, 17.) and thus prevented thee from touching her. This testimony was more requisite, that there might be no doubt respecting Isaac’s legitimacy. (Haydock)

Verse 5

He say, &c. The pronouns in Hebrew are printed very incorrectly. --- He is my sister; and she, even he, said. (Kennicott)

Verse 6

Sincere heart, abhorring adultery, but not altogether innocent. (Menochius)

Verse 7

A prophet. One under my particular care, to whom I reveal many things. --- He shall pray for thee. Behold, God will sometimes grant, at the request of his saints, what he would deny even such as Abimelech or the friends of Job. Is not this sufficient encouragement for us, to have recourse to the intercession of the saints? And can any one be so foolish as to pretend this is making gods of them, and shewing them an idolatrous worship? (Haydock)

Verse 8

In the night, (de nocte) or "as soon as it began to dawn." (Septuagint)

Verse 9

Why, &c. He expostulates with him in a friendly but earnest manner. --- A great sin, or punishment, (Menochius) ver. 18, and exposed me to the danger of committing adultery. Abraham might have answered, this would have been his own fault, as he could not have done it without offering violence to Sara, in whose chastity he could confide. Having an opportunity here to vindicate himself, Abraham speaks freely, which he was not allowed to do in Egypt, chap. xii. 20.

Verse 12

My sister, or niece, according to those who say she was daughter of Aran, who thus must have had a different mother from Abraham; (Menochius) or, as we rather think, Sara was truly his half-sister, born of Thare by another wife. His adding truly, seems to restrain it to this sense; and we know that in those countries, marriages of such near relations were allowed, though not when both had the same parents. Why should we not, therefore, believe Abraham, who certainly knew the real state of the question, and who would not tell a lie, rather than seek for improbable and far-fetched solutions? Said, who lived eight hundred years ago, mentions the name of Jona, Abraham’s mother, as well as that of Tehevita, who bore Sara to Thare. The Hebrews, in general, give this explanation. (Calmet) --- By calling Sara his sister without any addition, Abraham intended that the people should conclude he was not married; therefore he did not say she was his half-sister, as this would have frustrated his design, if, as Clement of Alexandria, asserts, such might and did marry under the law of nature. (Haydock) --- Philo observes, the Athenian legislator, Solon, sanctioned the same practice, which was followed also by the Phœnicians. (Calmet)

Verse 14

Gave, by way of satisfaction, for having detained his wife; as also to shew his respect for him who was a prophet. (1 Kings ix. 7.) (Haydock)

Verse 16

Thy brother, as thou hast agreed to call thy husband. --- Pieces, or sicles of silver, worth a little above 2s. 3d. each; total £113 sterling. --- A covering, or veil, to shew thou art married, and prevent thee from being taken by any one hereafter. It was to be so rich, that all might know her quality. St. Paul (1 Corinthians xi. 5, 15.) orders women to be covered. (Calmet)

Verse 17

Healed. It is not known how God afflicted Abimelech; but the women could not be delivered during the short time that Sara was detained: on her being set at liberty, they bore children. (Menochius)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Genesis 20". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/genesis-20.html. 1859.
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