Abraham in Gerar
Abraham now moves on to settle briefly in Gerar. There, he continues the charade of Egypt, telling others the beautiful Sarah is his sister, not his wife. Like before, she is taken by the king of the land, a man named Abimelech. God sends Abimelech a dream in which He tells the king to return the married woman Sarah or his life is forfeit. Abimelech protests that he had no idea or he would not have done such a thing, which God acknowledges, saying that is why He is giving Abimelech the chance to do the right thing. He tells Abimelech that if he does, Abraham will pray for him, since he is a man of God, and Abimelech will be saved.
Abimelech returns Sarah and confronts Abraham for his deception. Abraham defends his choice, saying there is no fear of God in Abimelech’s land. He also explains that she is a blood relative, and thus it is only a lie of omission to call her his sister. Abimelech gives Abraham money, flocks and servants to appease him for taking his wife, telling Abraham he may settle anywhere in Gerar that he likes. Abraham prays to God, and He lifts the plague that had affected Abimelech’s people.
The Torah never explains why Abraham and Sarah travel to Gerar. The Israel Bible cites Rabbi David Kimchi, who explains that Abraham wanted to travel as much of the land as possible, to put in a personal effort in acquiring the land God promised him and his descendants.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
Why do you think Abimelech invited Abraham and Sarah to stay in Gerar after being deceived?