GENESIS ch. 16 – 20

TEXT

GENESIS 16

Birth of Ishmael

1 Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children. Now she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar.  2 Sarai said to Abram: “The LORD has kept me from bearing children. Have intercourse with my maid; perhaps I will have sons through her.” Abram obeyed Sarai.  3 Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.4He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant.

 

As soon as Hagar knew she was pregnant, her mistress lost stature in her eyes. 5 So Sarai said to Abram: “This outrage against me is your fault. I myself gave my maid to your embrace; but ever since she knew she was pregnant, I have lost stature in her eyes. May the LORD decide between you and me!” 6 Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power. Do to her what you regard as right.” Sarai then mistreated her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

 

7 The LORD’s angel* found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur, 8 and he asked, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.” 9 But the LORD’s angel told her: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her authority. 10 I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s angel, “that they will be too many to count.” 11 Then the LORD’s angel said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;

you shall name him Ishmael,

For the LORD has heeded your affliction.

12 He shall be a wild ass of a man,

his hand against everyone,

and everyone’s hand against him;

Alongside all his kindred shall he encamp.”

 

 

 

 

13 To the LORD who spoke to her she gave a name, saying, “You are God who sees me”; she meant, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after he saw me?”  14 That is why the well is called Beer-lahai-roi.  It is between Kadesh and Bered.

15 Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

 

GENESIS 17

 

Covenant of Circumcision.

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said: I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless.  2 Between you and me I will establish my covenant, and I will multiply you exceedingly.  3 Abram fell face down and God said to him: 4 For my part, here is my covenant with you: you are to become the father of a multitude of nations.  5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you; kings will stem from you. 7 I will maintain my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting covenant, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you are now residing as aliens, the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God.

9 God said to Abraham: For your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages. 10 This is the covenant between me and you and your descendants after you that you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 Circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. That will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 Throughout the ages, every male among you, when he is eight days old, shall be circumcised, including houseborn slaves and those acquired with money from any foreigner who is not of your descendants. 13 Yes, both the houseborn slaves and those acquired with money must be circumcised. Thus my covenant will be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant. 14 If a male is uncircumcised, that is, if the flesh of his foreskin has not been cut away, such a one will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.

15 God further said to Abraham: As for Sarai your wife, do not call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her. Her also will I bless; she will give rise to nations, and rulers of peoples will issue from her. 17 Abraham fell face down and laughed as he said to himself, “Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah give birth at ninety?”

18 So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael could live in your favor!” 19 God replied: Even so, your wife Sarah is to bear you a son, and you shall call him Isaac. It is with him that I will maintain my covenant as an everlasting covenant and with his descendants after him. 20 Now as for Ishmael, I will heed you: I hereby bless him. I will make him fertile and will multiply him exceedingly. He will become the father of twelve chieftains, and I will make of him a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will maintain with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you by this time next year. 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God departed from him.

23 Then Abraham took his son Ishmael and all his slaves, whether born in his house or acquired with his money—every male among the members of Abraham’s household—and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins on that same day, as God had told him to do. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised. 26 Thus, on that same day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised; 27 and all the males of his household, including the slaves born in his house or acquired with his money from foreigners, were circumcised with him.

GENESIS 18

Abraham’s Visitors.

1  The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oak of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot. 2 Looking up, he saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground, 3 he said: “Sir, if it please you, do not go on past your servant. 4 Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest under the tree. 5 Now that you have come to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.” “Very well,” they replied, “do as you have said.”

6  Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick, three measures of bran flour! Knead it and make bread.” 7 He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice calf, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it. 8 Then he got some curds and milk, as well as the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them, waiting on them under the tree while they ate.

 

9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There in the tent,” he replied. 10 One of them* said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.” Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years, and Sarah had stopped having her menstrual periods. 12 So Sarah laughed* to herself and said, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, am I still to have sexual pleasure?”

13 But the LORD said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really bear a child, old as I am?’ 14 Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But he said, “Yes, you did.”

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom.

16 With Abraham walking with them to see them on their way, the men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom. 17 The LORD considered: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 now that he is to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him? 19 Indeed, I have singled him out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him.

20 So the LORD said: The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, 21 that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out. 22 As the men turned and walked on toward Sodom, Abraham remained standing before the LORD. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there were fifty righteous people in the city; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it?

25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the world do what is just?” 26 The LORD replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. 27 Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am only dust and ashes! 28  What if there are five less than fifty righteous people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” I will not destroy it, he answered, if I find forty-five there.

 

 

29 But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it for the sake of the forty. 30 Then he said, “Do not let my Lord be angry if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it if I can find thirty there. 31 Abraham went on, “Since I have thus presumed to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” I will not destroy it, he answered, for the sake of the twenty. 32 But he persisted: “Please, do not let my Lord be angry if I speak up this last time. What if ten are found there?” For the sake of the ten, he replied, I will not destroy it. 33 The LORD departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned home.

GENESIS 19

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

1 The two angels reached Sodom in the evening, as Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he got up to greet them; and bowing down with his face to the ground, 2 he said, “Please, my lords, come aside into your servant’s house for the night, and bathe your feet; you can get up early to continue your journey.” But they replied, “No, we will pass the night in the town square.” 3 He urged them so strongly, however, that they turned aside to his place and entered his house. He prepared a banquet for them, baking unleavened bread, and they dined.

4  Before they went to bed, the townsmen of Sodom, both young and old—all the people to the last man—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have sexual relations with them.” 6 Lot went out to meet them at the entrance. When he had shut the door behind him, 7 he said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not do this wicked thing! 8 I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with men. Let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you please. But do not do anything to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

9 They replied, “Stand back! This man,” they said, “came here as a resident alien, and now he dares to give orders! We will treat you worse than them!” With that, they pressed hard against Lot, moving in closer to break down the door. 10 But his guests put out their hands, pulled Lot inside with them, and closed the door; 11 they struck the men at the entrance of the house, small and great, with such a blinding light that they were utterly unable to find the doorway.

 

 

12 Then the guests said to Lot: “Who else belongs to you here? Sons-in-law, your sons, your daughters, all who belong to you in the city—take them away from this place! 13 We are about to destroy this place, for the outcry reaching the LORD against those here is so great that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had contracted marriage with his daughters. “Come on, leave this place,” he told them; “the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

15 As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, “Come on! Take your wife with you and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 When he hesitated, the men, because of the LORD’s compassion for him, seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters and led them to safety outside the city. 17 As soon as they had brought them outside, they said: “Flee for your life! Do not look back or stop anywhere on the Plain. Flee to the hills at once, or you will be swept away.”

18 “Oh, no, my lords!” Lot replied to them. 19 “You have already shown favor to your servant, doing me the great kindness of saving my life. But I cannot flee to the hills, or the disaster will overtake and kill me. 20 Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to. It is only a small place. Let me flee there—is it not a small place?—to save my life.” 21 “Well, then,” he replied, “I grant you this favor too. I will not overthrow the town you have mentioned. 22 Hurry, escape there! I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” That is why the town is called Zoar.

23 The sun had risen over the earth when Lot arrived in Zoar, 24 and the LORD rained down sulfur upon Sodom and Gomorrah, fire from the LORD out of heaven. 25 He overthrew* those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.

27  The next morning Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region of the Plain, he saw smoke over the land rising like the smoke from a kiln. 29 When God destroyed the cities of the Plain, he remembered Abraham and sent Lot away from the upheaval that occurred when God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.

 

 

 

Moabites and Ammonites.

30 Since Lot was afraid to stay in Zoar, he and his two daughters went up from Zoar and settled in the hill country, where he lived with his two daughters in a cave. 31 The firstborn said to the younger: “Our father is getting old, and there is not a man in the land to have intercourse with us as is the custom everywhere. 32 Come, let us ply our father with wine and then lie with him, that we may ensure posterity by our father.”

33 So that night they plied their father with wine, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; but he was not aware of her lying down or getting up. 34 The next day the firstborn said to the younger: “Last night I lay with my father. Let us ply him with wine again tonight, and then you go in and lie with him, that we may ensure posterity by our father.” 35 So that night, too, they plied their father with wine, and then the younger one went in and lay with him; but he was not aware of her lying down or getting up.

36 Thus the two daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn gave birth to a son whom she named Moab, saying, “From my father.”* He is the ancestor of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger one, too, gave birth to a son, and she named him Ammon, saying, “The son of my kin.” He is the ancestor of the Ammonites of today.

GENESIS 20

Abraham at Gerar.

1 From there Abraham journeyed on to the region of the Negeb, where he settled between Kadesh and Shur.  While he resided in Gerar as an alien, 2  Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him: You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she has a husband.

4 Abimelech, who had not approached her, said: “O Lord, would you kill an innocent man? 5 Was he not the one who told me, ‘She is my sister’? She herself also stated, ‘He is my brother.’ I acted with pure heart and with clean hands.” 6  God answered him in the dream: Yes, I know you did it with a pure heart. In fact, it was I who kept you from sinning against me; that is why I did not let you touch her. 7 So now, return the man’s wife so that he may intercede for you, since he is a prophet, that you may live. If you do not return her, you can be sure that you and all who are yours will die.

 

 

8 Early the next morning Abimelech called all his servants and informed them of everything that had happened, and the men were filled with fear. 9 Then Abimelech summoned Abraham and said to him: “What have you done to us! What wrong did I do to you that you would have brought such great guilt on me and my kingdom? You have treated me in an intolerable way. 10 What did you have in mind,” Abimelech asked him, “that you would do such a thing?”

11 Abraham answered, “I thought there would be no fear of God in this place, and so they would kill me on account of my wife. 12 Besides, she really is my sister, but only my father’s daughter, not my mother’s; and so she became my wife. 13 When God sent me wandering from my father’s house, I asked her: ‘Would you do me this favor? In whatever place we come to, say: He is my brother.’”

14 Then Abimelech took flocks and herds and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham; and he restored his wife Sarah to him. 15 Then Abimelech said, “Here, my land is at your disposal; settle wherever you please.” 16 To Sarah he said: “I hereby give your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This will preserve your honor before all who are with you and will exonerate you before everyone.” 17 Abraham then interceded with God, and God restored health to Abimelech, to his wife, and his maidservants, so that they bore children; 18 for the LORD had closed every womb in Abimelech’s household on account of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

 

 

 

VIDEO NOTES

This talk is by Linda Webster

God has made promises to Abraham that have not yet been fulfilled.  Now it’s 10 years later. His faith in this relatively unknown God remains firm.

He doesn’t believe in God; he believes God.  Bruce Feller

Hagar was an Egyptian woman servant of Hagar.  “Abram fared well on her account, and he acquired sheep, oxen, male and female servants, male and female donkeys, and camels.  Gen. 12:16  She was an outsider – Hagar may mean “stranger”.  (HaGer)

They were people of their times.

Abraham is sure that God is guiding his life.

Sarah was not happy that Hagar got pregnant while she could not.  Even though she suggested. It.  Now the 2 women are antagonistic.  Hagar flees but returns at the angel’s urging.

“Abram told Sarai: ‘your maid is in your power.  Do to her what you regard as right.’”  Gen. 16:6

1.)    Abraham is asserting the hierarchy of the household, Sarah’s place is secure.

2.)    He delegates power.  He shows compassion to Sarah by not rejecting her.

13 more years go by without a child.  Perhaps Ishmael IS the son promised by God.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said: I am God the Almighty.  Walk in my presence and be blameless.”  Gen 17:1

“For my part, here is my covenant with you: you are to become the father of a multitude of nations.”  Gen. 17:4

“I will make you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you; kings will stem from you.”  Gen. 17:6

Descendants and the land of Canaan.

Then the promise for Sarah.  “I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her.  Her also will I bless; she will give rise to nations, and rulers of peoples will issue from her.  Abraham fell face down and laughed.”  Gen. 17:16

Mocking?  Just overwhelmed?

“So Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael could live in your favor!’”  Gen 17:18

In Ch 18 the promise to Abraham and Sarah is made once again.  She laughs.  Denies it to the visitor.  We aren’t ever certain we are hearing from God.

“Then Abraham drew near and said: ‘Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”  Gen 18:23   Abraham negotiates.  This is unique to the OT.

“The LORD considered: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, now that he is to become a great and mighty nation?”   Gen 18:17-18  “Indeed, I have singled him out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the LORD.”  Gen 18:19

(Peter: not sexual immorality nor homosexuality is the sin of Sodom.  Ingratitude and inhospitality are the problem.)

Even Lot’s offer of his daughters instead of his guests was righteous. The lesser sin in Lot’s world.

“But his guests put out their hands, pulled Lot inside with them, and closed the door; they struck the men at the entrance of the house, small and great, with such a blinding light that they were utterly unable to find the doorway.”  Gen 19:10-11

“As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region of the Plain, he saw smoke over the land rising like the smoke from a kiln.  When God destroyed the cities of the Plain, he remembered Abraham and sent Lot away from the upheaval that occurred when God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.”  Gen 19:28-29

Daughters of Lot seduce him.  People of their time, presuming the whole world had been destroyed except for them?  “The firstborn said to the younger: “our father is getting old, and there is not a man in the land to have intercourse with us as is the custom everywhere.”  Gen 19:31

The concepts of innocence and justice are pondered in these chapters.

“Abimelech, who had not approached her, said: ‘O LORD, would you kill an innocent man?”  Gen 20:4  Both Abimelech and Abraham are innocent.

Abraham is faithful to the LORD, even as he is creative in his responses to the surrounding circumstances.  God is always with Abraham, just as God is always with us.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES

Chapter 16

Hebrew has the same word for wife and concubine.  Some translations use wife, ours goes with concubine

Cotter notes (p. 102/103) that, while not clearly saying it, that the Abraham/Sarah/Hagar attempt to resolve the childlessness of Abraham and Sarah is unnecessary and even wrong.  (The tradition does not like to say Abraham did something wrong however.)  God is silent in this chapter.  This was not an unusual practice however.  (Abraham could have had multiple wives but apparently did not.)

Cotter p. 103: “In the first verse then we have described for us the two poles of social reality; Sarai is the wealthy wife of a powerful man, and Hagar the essentially nameless piece of property.  The reader will be well advised to see to whom God chooses to speak.”

God sees Hagar and hears her. She is not a nameless servant who is a “dime a dozen”.  Cotter p. 106 credits Jerome T. Walsh for this: “Hagar stands, in fact, for all three groups.  As an Egyptian in Abram’s household, she represents the alien.  Bereft of the support and refuge provided by one’s extended family, she represents the orphan.  Repudiated by her ‘man’ and driven from his home, she is effectively a widow.”

 

Chapter 17

“I am God the Almighty”.  in Hebrew ‘El Shaddai’.  The scholars are very tentative about the root meaning of Shaddai.  Almighty is the customary English translation.

Abram = Father of the people, Sarah = princess

Fox p. 70: “Preparatory to Abram’s assumption of fatherhood – of an individual and of a people – his name is changed (v. 5), as is that of Sarai (v. 15).  This act is of the utmost significance in the biblical world.  Since a person’s name was indicative of personality and fate, the receiving of a new one signified a new life or a new stage in life.  Similarly, Jacob (and in a sort of coronation, Joseph) will undergo a change of name.  Such a practice still survives among kings and popes.”   Fox p. 73 – Sarah is the only woman in the whole bible who has her named changed by God.

In this chapter Abraham laughs to himself, in the next Sarah will.- in both cases at the suggestion that Sarah will have a son at her advanced age

Cotter says (p. 109) of circumcision: not previously practiced by Abraham’s people but not unknown either.  Practiced by the Egyptians, Moabites, Ammonites.  NOT practiced by the Philistines.  Would have used a stone knife.  Only the circumcised could participate in the Passover meal at the time of the Exodus from Egypt.  “The practice was almost always associated with puberty and preparation for marriage.  Israel adopted the custom but transformed it in a fundamental way.”  by date of implementation, by purpose – to be a frequent reminder of the covenant

Plaut p. 109: “…there is a slow but growing resistance to circumcision in Jewish circles as well.  The resistance has been fueled in part by those who want to give women an equal place in the Jewish ritual and who see in the ancient rite a reaffirmation of male dominance.  Still, circumcision remains nearly universal among Jews and widespread in the population at large.  This latter fact requires that Jews must emphasize the religious aspects of the covenantal rite.  Surgical circumcision alone is by no means the equivalent of “berit milah’.”

Chapter 18 and Chapter 19

Cotter p. 112 – chapters 18 and 19 are about Abraham, Lot, and God.  This is the base, there is a lot of other detail and stuff that can distract us from seeing this core.  The life of Abraham is basically good and just and so are his circumstances, the life of Lot is disordered and so too is his fate.

The time frame is 18 hours.  This is a quickly moving story.

Abraham promises some bread but delivers a real feast.  Plaut p. 123 cites the Talmud / Pirke Avot: “Promise little but perform much”.

Cotter p. 116: “The author plays most cleverly in these instances on the ambiguity of the Hebrew word ‘way’ (derek).  To observe “the way of the LORD” is to act with justice.  Yet the LORD’s way also leads to Sodom, where, as Abraham observes from the hilltop, the punishment of injustice is severe.  Having learned little from their experience, the daughters of Lot still seek the ‘way of all the earth’ rather than the way of the LORD.”

Cotter p. 119: “The Midrash interprets the nature of the sin of Sodom in a way very different from that of many modern readers, and yet one that makes a serious effort to account for a very real difficulty with the way “the sin of Sodom” appears in the rest of the Hebrew bible.  Isaiah (1:10, 3:9) considered the sin of Sodom to have been maladministration of justice.  Ezekiel (16:49), rather differently, identified it with pride, excess of food, and luxury.  Jeremiah (23:14) uses the label to condemn adultery, lying, and lack of willingness to repent.”

 

Isaiah 1:10, 11:  10

Hear the word of the LORD,

princes of Sodom!

Listen to the instruction of our God,

people of Gomorrah!

What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices?

says the LORD.

I have had enough of whole-burnt rams

and fat of fatlings;

In the blood of calves, lambs, and goats

I find no pleasure.

Isaiah 3:8, 9

Jerusalem has stumbled, Judah has fallen;

for their speech and deeds affront the LORD,

a provocation in the sight of his majesty.

Their very look bears witness against them;

they boast of their sin like Sodom,

They do not hide it.

Woe to them!

They deal out evil to themselves.

Ezekiel 16: 48-50

As I live—oracle of the Lord GOD—

I swear that your sister Sodom with her daughters

have not done the things you and your daughters have done!

Now look at the guilt of your sister Sodom:

she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in prosperity.

They did not give any help to the poor and needy.

Instead, they became arrogant and committed abominations before me;

then, as you have seen, I removed them.

 

Abraham prepared an elaborate feast for the guests – Lot only offers some water.

Lot offers his daughters in place of the men – this is later to haunt him as they sleep with him when he is drunk.

Cotter p. 122: “Over and over, hospitality is mocked.  Lot is not identified as righteous nor does he act in a righteous manner.  He is saved only because of Abraham (19:29).”

Cotter p. 126: “Lot’s daughters, acting now on their own interest because of the fruitless passivity of their father, act as they see fit.  Lot, unconscious, is at his most passive.  However, their interests and those of YHWH have diverged so far that they give birth to enemies of YHWH’s people.”

Chapter 20

Fretheim p. 481: “Once again, he deliberately betrays Sarah.  Her acquiescence notwithstanding, Abraham knowingly places her life and well-being in jeopardy.  Even more, he apparently still does not believe that god’s promise of a son includes Sarah.”  Is Abraham any better than Lot and the folks of Sodom?  God steps in to save Sarah.  The warning to Abimelech and the people is a good tie in to the Isaac story which comes next – all the wombs in the country are closed.

note the importance of dreams – something that runs through the OT and into the NT.

Fretheim, p. 482 notes that Abimelech, while a foreigner, is honorable and gets justice from God.  Brueggemann p. 178: “Here Abimelech models faith lacking in Abraham, the father of faith.”

 

 

 

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