Abraham and Sarah journey to Gerar where he passes her off as his sister again. The first time was in Egypt. Abimelech, the king of Gerar took her but God again intervenes. He speaks to the king in a dream. He tells him point blank that he is a dead man because the woman he had taken was another man’s wife. Abimelech had not gone near Sarah but this was not of his own doing but God’s. The king defends himself saying that Abraham told him that Sarah was his sister and he had believed him. He was innocent of any wrongdoing. God agreed with him on this point. God who knows what is in a person’s heart acknowledged that the king had done this in all honsety. Abimelech had no reason to doubt Abraham. He had acted in ignorance and for his innocence God had prevented him from sinning–from committing adultery. But now that he was aware of the truth he had to do the right thing and restore Sarah to her husband.
Abimelech shared his dream with his servants and then he called Abraham demanding an explanation for his deceit. Abraham’s excuse was, “Because I thought surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.” He feared for his life and he tried to insinuate that the lie was not really a lie. Sarah was his ister because they had the same father. She was his half-sister. The nature of their relationship does not excuse his sinful deception. This is the second time God had to intervene so that His law regarding adultery would not be violated. Abraham encouraged Sarah to go along with this deception, refeering to it as kindness on her part. This is almost like saying, “If you love me you will do this for me.” Abraham’s motives here were purely selfish. Fear fo his life took precedence over Sarah’s feelings.
Abimelech not only returned Sarah to Abraham but he gave them sheep, oxen, menservants and womenservants. The king’s generosity did not end there. “Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.” He also gave Abraham a thousand pieces of silver. His generosity put Abraham to shame. Sarah was rightfully rebuked for her part in the deception when the king said to her, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed this vindicates you before all who are with you and before everybody” (NKJV).
Abraham prayed to God who healed Abimelech, his wife and his maidservants so that they were able to bear children. God had closed the wombs of the women in the king’s household because of Sarah. This is the second time other people had to pay for Abraham’s deception.
God is a God of truth, honesty and this is why He could not tolerate deception. He had to let Abimelech know the truth. Even though it was His will that saved the king from becoming intimate with Sarah, that was not enough. Abimelech had to be aware of what he had unwittingly gotten himself into and do the right thing. Once God reveals the truth to us it is up to us to do what is right and to live our lives according to this truth.
We can no longer plead ignorance. Once Abimelech knew the truth about Sarah, it was his responsibility to return her to where she rightfully belonged–with her husband. Marriage is sacred to God and it is wrong for any of us to treat it lightly, casually. And honesty is important to God. It was deception which brought sin into the world in the first place.