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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 20

The Pulpit CommentariesThe Pulpit Commentaries

Verses 1-18

EXPOSITION

Genesis 20:1

And Abraham journeyed (vide Genesis 12:9) from thence. Mamre (Genesis 18:1). In search of pasture, as on a previous occasion (Keil); or in consequence of the hostility of his neighbors (Calvin); or because he longed to escape from the scene of so terrible a calamity as he had witnessed (Calvin, Wilier, Murphy); or in order to benefit as many places and peoples as possible by his residence among them (A Lapide); or perhaps being impelled by God, who designed thereby to remind him that Canaan was not intended for a permanent habitation, but for a constant pilgrimage (Poole, Kalisch). Toward the south country. Negeb, the southern district of Palestine (Genesis 12:9; Genesis 13:1); the central region of Judaea being called Hahor, or the Highlands; the eastern, towards the Dead Sea, Midhbar; and the western Shephelah (Lange). And dwelled between Kadesh and Shur (vide Genesis 16:14 and Genesis 16:7), and sojourned in Gerar (vide Genesis 10:19).

Genesis 20:2

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. As formerly he had done on descending into Egypt (Genesis 12:13). That Abraham should a second time have resorted to this ignoble expedient after the hazardous experience of Egypt and the richly-merited rebuke of Pharaoh, but more especially after the assurance he had lately received of his own acceptance before God (Genesis 15:6), and of Sarah's destiny to be the mother of the promised seed (Genesis 17:16), is well nigh unaccountable, and almost irreconcilable with any degree of faith and piety. Yet the lapse of upwards of twenty years since that former mistake may have deadened the impression of sinfulness which Pharaoh's rebuke must have left upon his conscience; while altogether the result of that experiment may, through a common misinterpretation of Divine providence, have encouraged him to think that God would watch over the purity of his house as he had done before. Thus, though in reality a tempting of God, the patriarch's repetition of his early venture may have had a secret connection with his deeply-grounded faith in the Divine promise (cf. Kalisch in loco). And Abimelechi.e. Father-king, a title of the Philistine kings (Genesis 21:22; Genesis 26:1; Psalms 34:1), as Pharaoh was of the Egyptian (Genesis 12:15), and Hamor of the Shechemite (Genesis 34:4) monarchs; cf. Padishah (father-king), a title of the Persian kings, and Atalik (father, properly paternity), of the Khans of Bokhara—king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. I.e. into his harem, as Pharaoh previously had done (Genesis 12:15), either having been fascinated by her beauty, which, although she was twenty years older than when she entered Egypt, need not have been much faded (vide Genesis 12:11; Calvin), or may have been miraculously rejuvenated when she received strength to conceive seed (Kurtz); or, what is as probable, having sought through her an alliance with the rich and powerful nomad prince who had entered his dominions (Delitzsch).

Genesis 20:3

But GodElohim; whence the present chapter, with the exception of Genesis 20:18, is assigned to the Elohist (Tuch, De Wette, Bleek, Davidson), and the incident at Gerar explained as the original legend, of which the story of Sarah's abduction by Pharaoh is the Jehovistic imitation. But

(1) the use of Elohim throughout the present chapter is sufficiently accounted for by observing that it describes the intercourse of Deity with a heathen monarch, to whom the name of Jehovah was unknown, while the employment of the latter term in Genesis 20:18 may be ascribed to the fact that it is the covenant God of Sarah who there interposes for her protection; and

(2) the apparent resemblance between the two incidents is more than counterbalanced by the points of diversity which subsist between them—came to Abimelech in a dream—the usual mode of self-revelation employed by Elohim towards heathen. Cf. Pharaoh's dreams (Genesis 41:1) and Nebuchadnezzar's (Daniel 4:5), as distinguished from the visions in which Jehovah manifests his presence to his people. Cf. the theophanies vouchsafed to Abraham (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 15:1; Genesis 18:1) and to Jacob (Genesis 28:13; Genesis 32:24), and the visions granted to Daniel (Daniel 7:1-28; Daniel 10:5-9) and the prophets generally, which, though sometimes occurring in dreams, were yet a higher form of Divine manifestation than the dreams—by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man,—literally, behold thyself dying, or about to die—σὺ ἀποθνήσκεις (LXX.). Abimelech, it is probable, was by this time suffering from the malady which had fallen on his house (vide Verse 17)—for (i.e. on account of) the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife—literally, married to a husband, or under lordship to a lord (cf. Deuteronomy 22:22).

Genesis 20:4

But Abimelech had not come near her. Apparently withheld by the peculiar disease which had overtaken him. The statement of the present verse (a similar one to which is not made with reference to Pharaoh) was clearly rendered necessary by the approaching birth of Isaac, who might otherwise have been said to be the child not of Abraham, but of the Philistine king. And he said, Lord,—Adonai (vide Genesis 15:2)—wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Anticipating that the stroke of Divine judgment was about to fall upon his people as well as on himself, with allusion to the fate of Sodom (Knobel), which he deprecates for his people at least on the ground that they are innocent of the offence charged against him (cf. 2 Samuel 24:17). That Abimelech and his people, like Melchisedeck and his subjects, had some knowledge of the true God, and that the Canaanites generally at this period had not reached the depth of moral degradation into which the cities of the Jordan circle had sunk before their overthrow, is apparent from the narrative. The comparative virtue, therefore, of these tribes was a proof that the hour had not arrived for the infliction on them of the doom of extermination.

Genesis 20:5

Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother. From which it is clear that the Philistine monarch, equally with the Egyptian Pharaoh, shrank from the sin of adultery. In the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. I.e. he assumes the right of kings to take unmarried persons into their harems,

Genesis 20:6

And God said unto him in a dream,—"It is in full agreement with the nature of dreams that the communication should be made in several, and not in one single act; cf. Genesis 37:1-36, and Genesis 41:1-57.; Matthew 2:1-23." (Lange)—Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy hearti.e. judged from thy moral standpoint. The words do not imply a Divine acquittal as to the essential guiltiness of the act, which is clearly involved in the instruction to seek the mediation of God's prophet (Matthew 2:7). For I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her (vide on Matthew 2:4).

Genesis 20:7

Now therefore restore the man his wife. Literally, the wife of the man, God now speaking of Abraham non tanquam de homine quolibet, sod peculiariter sibi charum (Calvin). For he is a prophet Nabi, from naba, to cause to bubble up; hence to pour forth, applied to one who speaks by a Divine afflatus (Deuteronomy 13:2; Jdg 6:8; 1 Samuel 9:9; 1 Kings 22:7). The office of the Nabi was twofold—to announce the will of God to melt Exodus 4:15; Exodus 7:1), and also to intercede with God for men (Exodus 7:7; Jeremiah 7:16; Jeremiah 11:14; Jeremiah 14:11). The use of the term Nabi in this place neither proves that the spirit of prophecy had not existed from the beginning (cf. Genesis 9:25-27), nor shows that the Pentateuch, which always uses this term, cannot be of greater antiquity than the time of Samuel, before which, according to 1 Samuel 9:9, the prophet was called a seer (Bohlen, Hartmann). As used in the Pentateuch the term describes the recipient of Divine revelations, and as such it was incorporated in the Mosaic legislation. During the period of the Judges the term Roeh appears to have come into use, and to have held its ground until the reformation of Samuel, when the older theocratic term was again reverted to (vide Havernick, § 19). And he shall pray for thee (vide supra), and thou shalt live. Literally, live thou, the imperative being used for the future in strong prophetic assurances. And if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die,—literally, dying thou shalt die (cf. Genesis 2:17)—thou, and all that are thine.

Genesis 20:8

Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning,—an evidence of the terror into which' he had been cast by the Divine communication, and of his earnest desire to carry out the Divine instructions—and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears:—confessed his fault, explained his danger, and affirmed his intention to repair his error; a proof of the humility of this God-fearing king (Lange)—and the men were sere afraid. It spoke well for the king's household that they received the communication with seriousness.

Genesis 20:9

Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him (in the presence of his people), What hast thou done unto us?—identifying himself once more with his people, as he had already done in responding to God (Genesis 20:4)—and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? The gravamen of Abimelech's accusation was that Abraham had led him and his to offend against God, and so to lay themselves open to the penalties of wrong-doing. Thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. Literally, deeds which ought not to be done thou hast done with me. The king's words were unquestionably designed to convey a severe reproach.

Genesis 20:10

And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou,—either, What hadst thou in view? (Knobel, Delitzsch, Keil, Murphy, et alii), or, What didst thou see? Didst thou see any of my people taking the wives of strangers and murdering their husbands? (Rosenmüller, 'Speaker's Commentary')—that thou hast done this thing?

Genesis 20:11

And Abraham said (offering as his first apology for his sinful behavior the fear which he entertained of the depravity of the people), Because I thought,—literally, said (sc. in my heart)—Surely the fear of God is not in this place;—otherwise, there is not any fear of God, רק having usually a confirming sense with reference to what follows—and they will slay me for my wife's sake.

Genesis 20:12

And yet indeed she is my sister. This was the second of the patriarch's extenuating pleas, that he had not exactly lied, having uttered at least a half truth. She is the daughter of my father (Terah), But not the daughter of my mother. That Sarah was the grand-daughter of Terah, i.e. the daughter of Haran, and sister of Lot, in other words, Iscah, has been maintained. That she was Terah's niece, being a brother's daughter adopted by him, has received some support (Calvin); but there seems no reason for departing from the statement of the text, that she was her husband's half-sister, i.e. Terah's daughter by another wife than Abraham's mother (Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Keil, Knobel). And she became my wife.

Genesis 20:13

And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander (or to go on pilgrimages) from my father's house,—Elohim, usually construed with a singular verb, is here joined with a verb in the plural, as an accommodation to the polytheistic stand-point of Abimelech (Keil), as a proof that Elohim is to be viewed as a Pluralis Majestaticus (Kalisch), as referring to the plurality of Divine manifestations which Abraham had received (Lange), as showing that Elohim here signifies angels (Calvin), or, most likely, as an instance of the literal meaning of the term as the supernatural powers (Murphy. Cf. Genesis 35:7; Exodus 22:8; 2 Samuel 7:23; Ps 58:12—that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me. The third plea which the patriarch presented for his conduct; it had no special reference to Abimelech, but was the result of an old compact formed between himself and Sarah. At every place whither he shall come, say of me, He is my brother (cf. Genesis 12:13).

Genesis 20:14

And Abimelech—as Pharaoh did (Genesis 12:18), but with a different motive—took sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and women-servants. The LXX. and Samaritan insert "a thousand didrachmas" after "took," in order to include Sarah's present, mentioned in Genesis 20:16; but the two donations are separated in order to distinguish them as Abraham's gift and Sarah's respectively (Rosenmüller, Delitzsch), or the sum of money may indicate the value of the sheep and oxen, &c. which Abraham received (Keil, Knobel, Lange, 'Speaker's Commentary'). And gave them unto Abraham. To propitiate his favor for the wrong he had suffered. Pharaoh's gifts were "for the sake of Sarah" (Genesis 12:16). And restored him Sarah his wife.

Genesis 20:15

And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. Literally, in the good in thine eyes; the generous Philistine offering him a settlement within his borders, whereas the Egyptian monarch hastened his departure from the country (Genesis 12:20).

Genesis 20:16

And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy Brother a thousand pieces of silver. Literally, a thousand of silver, the exact weight of each piece being uncertain. If sacred shekels (Gesenius, Keil, Kalisch) their value would be over £130, if shekels ordinary somewhat less. Behold, he—i.e. thy brother; or it, i.e. the present (LXX; Vulgate, Targums, Syriac)—is to thee a covering of the eyes. כְּסוּת עֵינַיִם (from a root signifying to cover over) has been understood as

(1) a propitiatory gift—τιμὴ (LXX.), or

(2) a veil for the protection of the face;

and, according as the subject of the sentence has been regarded as Abraham or the sum of money, the sense of the clause has been given as either

(1) he, i.e. thy brother, will be to thee a protection, hiding thee like a veil, from the voluptuous desires of others (Aben Ezra, Cajetan, Calvin, Kalisch); or

(2) it, i.e. this present of mine, will be to thee a propitiatory offering to make thee overlook my offence (Chrysostom, Gesenius, Furst, Knobel, Delitzsch, Keil, Murphy); or

(3) a declaration of thy purity, and so a defense to thee against any calumnious aspersions (Castalio); or

(4) the purchase-money of a veil to hide thy beauty, lest others be ensnared (Vulgate, Amble, Kitto, Clark); or

(5) the means of procuring that bridal veil which married females should never lay aside (cf. Genesis 24:65; Dathe, Vitringa, Michaelis, Baumgarten, Rosenmüller).

The exact sense of this difficult passage can scarcely be said to have been determined, though of the above interpretations the choice seems to lie between the first and second. Unto all that are with thee, and with all other. I.e. in presence of thy domestics and of all with whom thou mayest yet mingle, either Abraham will be thy best defense, or let my gift be an atonement, or a veil, &c. Thus she was reproved. וְנֹכָחַת. If a third person singular niph. of יָכַח (Onkelos, Arabic, Kimchi, Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Furst), then it is the historian's statement signifying that Sarah had been convicted, admonished, and left defenseless (Gesenius); or, connecting the preceding words וִאֶת־כֹּל, that, with regard to all, right had been obtained (Furst), or that all had been done that she might be righted (Murphy); but if a second person singular niph. (LXX; Vulgate, Delitzsch, Keil, Lange, Murphy, Kalisch), then it is a continuation of Abimelech's address, meaning neither καὶ πάντα ἀλήθευσον (LXX.), nor memento te deprehensam (Vulgate), but either, "and thou art reproved" (Wordsworth), or, "and thou wilt be recognized" (Kalisch), or, again connecting with the preceding words, "and with all, so thou art justified or set right" (Delitzsch, Keil, Lange), or, "and all this that thou mayest be righted " (Murphy) or "reproved" (Ainsworth).

Genesis 20:17

So Abraham prayed unto God. Literally, the Elohim, the personal and true God, and not Elohim, or Deity in general, to whom belonged the cure of Abimelech and his household (Keil), as the next clause shows. And God (Elohim, without the art.) healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maid-servants;i.e. his concubines, as distinguished from the women servants (Genesis 20:14)—and they bare children. The verb may apply to both sexes, and the malady under which they suffered may be here described as one which prevented procreation, as the next verse explains.

Genesis 20:18

For the Lord (Jehovah; vide supra on Genesis 20:3) had fast closed up all the wombs—i.e. prevented conception, or produced barrenness (cf. Genesis 16:2; Isaiah 66:9; 1Sa 1:5, 1 Samuel 1:6; for the opposite, Genesis 29:31; Genesis 30:22); "poena convenientissima; quid enim convenientius esse poterat, quam ut amittat, qui ad se rapit aliena" (Musculus). Vide Havernick, § 19—of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife—the motive obviously being to protect the purity of the promised seed.

HOMILETICS

Genesis 20:1-18

Abraham in Gerar, or two royal sinners.

I. THE SIN OF THE HEBREW PATRIARCH

1. An old sin repeated. "Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister." Twenty years before the same miserable equivocation had been circulated in Egypt. A sin once committed is not difficult to repeat, especially if its legitimate consequences, as in the case of Abraham and Sarah, have been mercifully averted. One is apt to fancy that a like immunity will attend its repetition.

2. A worthless lie propagated. "Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah." Designed for protection in both Egypt and Gerar, the ignoble expedient of the patriarch was in both places equally ineffectual. So does all sin tend to outwit itself, and in the end generally proves abortive in its designs.

3. A deliberate fraud practiced. As Abraham explained to Abimelech, it was no sudden impulse on which he acted, but a preconcerted scheme which he had put in operation. Intended for the extenuation of his fault, this was in reality an aggravation. Sin leisurely and knowingly gone about is ever more heinous than that into which the heart and will are surprised.

4. An unjustifiable suspicion entertained. All the preceding sins had their origin in what the event proved to be an altogether unwarranted estimate of Abimelech and his people. The patriarch said to himself, "Surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will slay me for my wife's sake," without reflecting that he was not only deciding without evidence, but doing an injustice to the monarch and the people into whose land he was crossing.

Learn—

1. How hard it is to lay aside one's besetting sin. The character of the patriarch, otherwise so noble, appears to have had a natural bias towards deception.

2. How difficult it is to lead a life of faith. One would have thought that by this time every vestige of carnal policy would have been eliminated from the walk of Abraham.

3. How possible it is for an eminent saint to relapse into great sin. If Abraham illustrated the virtues, he likewise remarkably exemplified the weaknesses of God's believing people.

4. How wrong it is to cherish and act upon uncharitable views of others. True religion always leans to the side of charity in judging of the characters of men.

II. THE SIN OF THE HEATHEN PRINCE.

1. A common sin. The popularity of an action, though not sufficient to make it good, may serve, in some degree, to extenuate its guilt where it is wrong.

2. An unconscious sin. The narrative distinctly represents Abimelech as a prince who feared God and shrank from incurring his displeasure—a character which all kings should study to possess. Abimelech himself claimed to have perpetrated no offence against the law of God in acting as he did, which shows that the voice of conscience always speaks according to its light. The avowal which he makes of his integrity is admitted by Jehovah as correct—a proof that God judges men according to their privileges. Yet it was—

3. A great sin. Implied in the Divine direction to seek the friendly intercession of the patriarch, it was admitted by Abimelech when once his mind was enlightened as to the true character of the deed he had committed.

See here—

1. A lesson of charity concerning peoples and individuals outside the visible Church.

2. A proof that men are not necessarily free from guilt because their consciences fail to accuse them.

3. A good sign of true contrition, viz; the acknowledgment of sin when it is pointed out.

III. GOD'S DEALINGS WITH THE PRINCE AND WITH THE PATRIARCH.

1. With the prince.

(1) Restraining grace. God withheld him from proceeding to further sin by doing injury to Sarah, the means employed being disease which was sent upon both the monarch and his house. So God frequently interposes by afflictive dispensations to prevent those who fear him from running into sins of which perhaps they are not aware.

(2) Illuminating grace. Appearing in a dream, Elohim disclosed the true character of his offence, and quickened his conscience to apprehend the guilt and danger which had been incurred. Sincere souls who fear God and are faithful to the light they have are never left to wander in darkness, but in God's time and way are mysteriously guided to the path of safety and duty (Psalms 25:12-14).

(3) Directing grace. Finding the heathen monarch's heart susceptible of good impressions, God further counseled him how to act in order to obtain forgiveness, viz; to solicit the mediating services of Abraham, who in this matter was a type of heaven's great High Priest and Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25). Cf. God's way of dealing with erring men (Job 32:14 -33).

2. With the patriarch.

(1) Protection. A second time he shielded his erring servant from the consequences of his own folly. A mark of God's tender pity towards sinful men.

(2) Reproof. Besides being much needed, it was exceedingly severe, and must have been deeply humiliating. God often permits his people to be rebuked by the world for their good.

(3) Honor. God is ever better to his people than their deserts. Not only did he direct Abimelech to ask the help of Abraham, but he constituted Abraham the medium of bestowing blessings on Abimelech. So does God honor Abraham's seed, Christ, by exalting him in the world's sight as the one Mediator between God and man; and Abraham's children, the Church, by making them the instruments of drawing down blessings on the world.

Learn—

1. That God's dealings with sinning men are always adapted to the peculiar characters of their respective sins.

2. That God never chastises men, either by affliction or rebuke, for his pleasure, but for their profit.

3. That God never pardons sin without bestowing blessing on the sinner.

HOMILIES BY J.F. MONTGOMERY

Genesis 20:2

Falsehood the fruit of unbelief.

"Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister." Notice how imperfectly the obligation of truth recognized in Old Testament times. Not only among heathen, or those who knew little of God (Joshua 2:5; 2 Kings 10:18), but godly men among God's own people (Genesis 26:7; 1 Samuel 27:10). Yet the excellence of truth was known, and its connection with the fear of God (Exodus 18:21; Psalms 15:2). Not until manifested in Christ does truth seem to be fully understood (cf. John 8:44; 1 John 3:8). This gives force to "I am the truth." Some see in text an act of faith; trust that God would make the plan (Genesis 20:13) successful. But faith must rest on God's word. Trust in what God gives no warrant for believing is not faith but fancy, e.g. to attempt what we have no reason to believe we can accomplish, or to incur liabilities without reasonable prospect of meeting them. More natural and better to look on it as a breach of truth under temptation; the failure Of a godly man under trial. His words were true in letter (Genesis 20:12), but were spoken to deceive, and did deceive.

I. ROOT OF HIS FAULTUNBELIEF; want of all-embracing trust. His faith was real and vigorous (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:12), but partial (cf. Genesis 27:19; Matthew 14:28). Shrank from trusting God fully. Turned to human devices, and thus turned out of the way (Proverbs 3:5). Partial distrust may be found even where real faith. A very common instance is trusting in God for spiritual blessings only. A large part of our actions, especially in little things, springs not from conscious decision, but from habitual modes of thought and feeling. We act instinctively, according to what is the natural drift of thought. Abraham had so dwelt on the danger that he forgot the help at hand (Psalms 34:7; Romans 8:28). Bold in action, his faith failed when danger threatened. To endure is a greater trial of faith than to do. To stand firm amid secularizing influences, ridicule, misconstruction is harder than to do some great thing. St. Peter was ready to fight for his Master, but failed to endure (Mark 14:50-71; Galatians 2:12). So to St. Paul's "What wilt thou have me to do?" the Lord's word was, "I will show him how great things he must suffer."

II. FORM OF HIS FAULTUNTRUTH. Contrary to the mind of Christ. May be without direct statement of untruth. May be by true words so used as to convey a wrong idea; by pretences, e. g. taking credit unduly for any possession or power; by being ashamed to admit our motives; or by untruth in the spiritual life, making unreal professions in prayer, or self-deceiving. Every day brings numberless trials. These can be resisted only by the habit of truthfulness, gained by cultivating "truth in the inward parts," aiming at entire truthfulness. Nothing unpractical in this. May be said, Mast I tell all my thoughts to every one? Not so. Many things we have no right to speak; e.g. things told in confidence, or what would give unnecessary pain. Concealment when it is right is not untruth. No doubt questions of difficulty may arise. Hence rules of casuistry. But a Christian should be guided by principles rather than by rules (Galatians 5:1); and wisdom to apply these rightly is to be gained by studying the character of Christ, and prayer for the Holy Spirit's guidance (Luke 11:13; John 16:14).—M.

HOMILIES BY J.F. MONTGOMERY

Genesis 20:15, Genesis 20:16

Abraham and Abimelech at Gerar.

I. THE UNIVERSALITY OF DIVINE GRACE. The varieties in moral state of nations a testimony to God's forbearing mercy. There was evidently a great contrast between such people as dwelt under Abimelech's rule and the cities of the plain, which helps us to see the extreme wickedness of the latter. It was probably no vain boast which the king-uttered when he spoke of "the integrity of his heart and innocency of his hands." Moreover, God appeared to him by dreams, and it is implied that he would have the greatest reverence for Jehovah's prophet. Abraham testified the same; although he declared that the fear of God was not in the place, still he sojourned in Gerar, and after Lot's experience he would not have done so unless he had believed it to be very different from Sodom.

II. THE CHARACTER OF GOD'S CHILDREN IS NOT THE GROUND OF THEIR ACCEPTANCE WITH HIM. It is strange that the Egyptian experience should not have taught the patriarch simply to trust in God. But the imperfect faith justifies; the grace of God alone sanctifies. The conduct of Abimelech is throughout honorable and straightforward. Abraham's equivocation is not excusable. It sprang from fear, and it was no sudden error, but a deliberate policy which betokened weakness, to say the least.

III. THE LORD BRINGS GOOD OUT OF EVIL. Abimelech's character is a bright spot in the terrible picture of evil and its consequences. By the discipline of Providence the errors and follies of men are made the opportunities for learning God's purposes and character. The contact of the less enlightened with the more enlightened, though it may humble both, gives room for Divine teaching and gracious bestowments. Again we are reminded "the prayer of a righteous man availeth much" not because he is himself righteous, but because he is the 'channel of blessing to others, chosen of God's free grace.—R.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Genesis 20". The Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tpc/genesis-20.html. 1897.
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