New International Reader's Version

Genesis 20

Abraham and Abimelek

1Abraham moved south into the Negev Desert. He lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar. There Abraham said about his wife Sarah, “She’s my sister.” Then Abimelek, the king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her.

So God appeared to Abimelek in a dream one night. He said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken. She is already married.”

But Abimelek hadn’t gone near her. So he said, “Lord, will you destroy a nation that hasn’t done anything wrong? Didn’t Abraham say to me, ‘She’s my sister’? And didn’t she also say, ‘He’s my brother’? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong.”

Then God spoke to him in the dream. He said, “Yes, I know you had no idea you were doing anything wrong. 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 to him. He is a prophet. So he will pray for you, and you will live. But what if you do not return her? Then you can be sure that you and all your people will die.”

Early the next morning Abimelek sent for all his officials. When he told them everything that had happened, they were really afraid. Then Abimelek called Abraham in. Abimelek said, “What have you done to us? Have I done something wrong to you? Why have you brought so much guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” 10 Abimelek also asked Abraham, “Why did you do this?”

11 Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘There is no respect for God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister. She’s the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife. 13 God had me wander away from my father’s house. So I said to her, ‘Here is how you can show your love to me. Everywhere we go, say about me, “He’s my brother.” ’ ”

14 Then Abimelek gave Abraham sheep and cattle and male and female slaves. He also returned his wife Sarah to him. 15 Abimelek said, “Here is my land. Live anywhere you want to.”

16 He said to Sarah, “I’m giving your brother 25 pounds of silver. This will show everyone with you that I am sorry for what I did to you. You haven’t done anything wrong.”

17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek. He also healed his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again. 18 The Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s house from having children. He had done it because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.