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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 20

Wesley's Explanatory NotesWesley's Notes

Verse 1

And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.

And Abraham sojourned in Gerar — We are not told upon what occasion he removed, whether terrified by the destruction of Sodom, or, as some of the Jewish writers say, because he was grieved at Lot’s incest with his daughters, and the reproach which the Canaanites cast upon him for his kinsman’s sake.

The king of Gerar sent and took her — To his house, in order to the taking of her to his bed.

Verse 3

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

But God came to Abimelech in a dream — It appears by this that God revealed himself by dreams, which evidenced themselves to be divine and supernatural, not only to his servants the prophets, but even to those that were out of the pale of the church; but then usually it was with some regard to God’s own people.

Verse 4

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

Wilt thou slay also a righteous nation — Not such a nation as Sodom.

Verse 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 withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

I withheld thee from sinning against me — It is God that restrains men from doing the ill they would do; it is not from him that there is sin, but it is from him that there is not more sin, either by his influence on mens minds checking their inclination to sin, or by his providence taking away the opportunity. It is a great mercy to be hindered from committing sin, which God must have the glory of whoever is the instrument.

Verse 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 kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.

Thou hast done deeds that ought not to be done — Equivocation and dissimulation, however they may be palliated, are very ill things, and by no means to be admitted in any case. He takes it as a very great injury to himself and his family, that Abraham had thus exposed them to sin, What have I offended thee? - If I had been thy worst enemy, thou couldst not have done me a worse turn, nor taken a more effectual course to be avenged on me. Note, We ought to reckon, that those do us the greatest dislikedness in the world, that any way tempt us or expose us to sin, though they may pretend friendship, and offer that which is grateful enough to the corrupt nature. He challenges him to assign any just cause he had to suspect them as a dangerous people for an honest man to live among.

Verse 10

And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?

What sawest thou that thou hast done this thing — What reason hadst thou to think, that if we had known her to be thy wife, thou wouldst have been exposed to any danger by it?

Verse 11

And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.

I thought surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will slay me — There are many places and persons that have more of the fear of God in them than we think they have; perhaps they are not called by our name, they do not wear our badges, they do not tie themselves to that which we have an opinion of; and therefore we conclude they have not the fear of God in their hearts!

Verse 13

And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

When God caused me to wander from my father’s house — Then we settled this matter. It may be, that God denied Abraham and Sarah the blessing of children so long to punish them for this sinful compact they had made to deny one another: if they will not own their marriage, why should God own it? But we may suppose, that alter this reproof they agreed never to do so again, and then presently we read, Genesis 21:1-2, that Sarah conceived.

Verse 16

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

Thy brother is to thee a covering of the eyes — Thou must look at no other, nor desire to be looked at by any other. Yoke-fellows must be to each other for a covering of the eyes. The marriage-covenant is a covenant with the eyes, like Job’s, Job 31:1.

Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Genesis 20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/genesis-20.html. 1765.
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