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American Standard Version with Notes

This is an ongoing process. Please check back for regular updates.

An * beside a note indicates it was taken from a bible student source.

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Genesis Chapter Twenty


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50



1. And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the land of the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur. And he sojourned in Gerar.  

2. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She [is] my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 


4 names in the Bible

From Strong's 40, abimeleck, father of a king, from 1, ab, father, from melek, king.

This title of several Philistine kings, was first mentioned in Genesis 20.

The king of Gerar, who, took Sarah into his harem, believing she was Abraham's sister and not his wife. God warned him in a dream, he returned her to Abraham, and gave him 1,000 pieces of silver, as an atoning present. This is a testimony of her innocence in the eyes of all. He afterwards made a treaty with Abraham, Genesis 20:1-18

2. Another king of Gerar, may have been a son of the king Abraham dwelt with, in the time of Isaac, of whom a similar narrative is recorded in relation to Rebekah. (Genesis 26:1)

3. Son of the Gideon by his Shechemite concubine. (Judges 8:31) After Gideon's death he murdered all of his 70brethren, 70 exception of Jotham, the youngest. The Shechemites made king. Abimelech reigned three years, and the citizens of rebelled. He quelled the insurrection. Afterwards he stormed and took Thebez, but was struck on the head by a woman with the fragment of a millstone and he bade his armor-bearer slay him. (2 Samuel 11:21)

4. A priest, a son of Abiathar. (1 Chronicles 18:16)


And here it is worthy of note that Abraham was not perfect in every respect. On two occasions he was reproved by heathen kings and shown in some respects to have less lofty ideals, in one particular at least, than they would have given him credit for. Nevertheless, God did not reject Abraham because of those imperfections. Indeed, possibly those imperfections were partially the result of Abraham's endeavor to hold on to the Divine promises and to do everything in his power to bring them to fruition. He knew that the Divine promise was that his child, who should be the channel of God's blessings to the world, would be the son of Sarah; hence he felt that he must not jeopardize either her life or his own. This very desire to do nothing to interfere with the Divine promise may have had something to do with apparent weaknesses.—Gen. 20. R4387:3

We find even amongst heathen kings a much higher standard of morality, a more close approach to the requirements of the divine law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." [Note the attitude of King Pharaoh towards Abraham's wife. (Gen. 12:18,19.) Similarly the conduct of King Abimelech.—Gen. 20:2-5,9-11.] R4270


3. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken. For she is a man's wife.



4. Now Abimelech had not come near her. And he said, Lord, wilt thou slay even a righteous nation?



5. Said he not himself unto me, She is my sister? And she, even she herself said, He is my brother. In the integrity of my heart and the innocency of my hands have I done this.


6. And God said unto him in the dream, Yea, I know that in the integrity of thy heart thou has done this, and I also withheld thee from sinning against me. Therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.



7. Now therefore restore the man's wife. For he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live. And if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.



8. And Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ear. And the men were sore afraid.



9. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? And wherein have I sinned against 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.

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


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.  
12. And moreover she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife: The thought is that Haran was the eldest son of Terah; that he had two children, Lot and Sarah, and that these were near enough their uncle Abraham's age to be his companions.Under the rule above mentioned Sarah, if the daughter of Haran, would be counted the daughter of Terah, not by his wife, but by Haran's wife. We would not insist that this view of the matter is beyond question, however, and those who think differently have full right to do so. R2934:1

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 show unto me. At every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

14. And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and men-servants and women-servants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.


15. And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee. Dwell where it pleaseth thee.



16. And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver. Behold, it is for thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee. And in respect of all thou art righted.



17. And Abraham prayed unto God. And God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maid-servants. And they bare children.




18. For Jehovah had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.