Genesis 20:10
And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?
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(10) What sawest thou?—Some modern commentators explain the Hebrew as meaning, What purpose hadst thou? What didst thou look for? But the old rendering is probably right. Abimelech first denies by indignant questions that he had been guilty of any wrong towards Abraham, and then asks what he had seen in the conduct of himself and people to justify such mistrust of them. Throughout, the king speaks as a man conscious that his citizens so respected the rights of a stranger and of marriage, that Sarah would have been perfectly safe had Abraham openly said that she was his wife.

20:9-13 See here much to blame, even in the father of the faithful. Mark his distrust of God, his undue care about life, his intent to deceive. He also threw temptation in the way of others, caused affliction to them, exposed himself and Sarah to just rebukes, and yet attempted an excuse. These things are written for our warning, not for us to imitate. Even Abraham hath not whereof to glory. He cannot be justified by his works, but must be indebted for justification, to that righteousness which is upon all and unto all them that believe. We must not condemn all as hypocrites who fall into sin, if they do not continue in it. But let the unhumbled and impenitent take heed that they do not sin on, thinking that grace may abound. Abimelech, being warned of God, takes the warning; and being truly afraid of sin and its consequences, he rose early to pursue the directions given him.Abimelek retraces his steps, and rectifies his conduct. He makes known his dream to his assembled court, who are filled with astonishment and apprehension. He then calls Abraham, and in bold and manly style remonstrates with him for leading him into error and sin. Abraham is apparently silent from confusion and self-condemnation. Abimelek, after a pause, demands of him his reason for so doing. Abraham now replies with great simplicity and candor. He had said within himself, "The fear of God is not in this place." This is another indication that polytheism was setting in. He concluded that his life would be in danger on account of his wife, and resorted to his wonted expedient for safety. He had learned to trust in the Lord in all things; but he did not think this inconsistent with using all lawful means for personal security, and he was not yet fully alive to the unlawfulness of his usual pretence. He pleads also in extenuation that she is in reality his sister (see Genesis 12:19-20). "Caused me to wander." The verb here is not necessarily plural. But if it be, it is only an instance of the literal, meaning of אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym, the Eternal Supernatural Powers, coming into view. "Thy kindness." The old compact of Abraham with Sarah tended to palliate his conduct in the eyes of Abimelek, as he would see that it had no special reference to himself.9. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said … What hast thou done?—In what a humiliating plight does the patriarch now appear—he, a servant of the true God, rebuked by a heathen prince. Who would not rather be in the place of Abimelech than of the honored but sadly offending patriarch! What a dignified attitude is that of the king—calmly and justly reproving the sin of the patriarch, but respecting his person and heaping coals of fire on his head by the liberal presents made to him. What levity or miscarriage didst thou discern in us which moved thee to deal thus with us?

And Abimelech said unto Abraham,.... Continuing his discourse with him:

what sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? he desires to know what he had observed, either in him or his people, that gave him any reason to conclude that they were a lustful people, and would stick at nothing to gratify their lusts, which put him upon taking such a method to secure his life, lest they should kill him for his wife's sake.

And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?
10. What sawest thou] i.e. “what hadst thou in view?” An unusual use of the verb “to see.” Cf. Psalm 66:18, “if I regard (lit. ‘see’) iniquity in my heart.” Some scholars prefer, by a slight alteration of the text, the reading, “what didst thou fear?” yarêtha for ra’îtha (Bacher).

Verse 10. - And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, - either, What hadst thou in view? (Knobel, Delitzsch, Keil, Murphy, et alii), or, What didst thou see? Didst thou see any of my people taking the wives of strangers and murdering their husbands? (Rosenmüller, 'Speaker's Commentary') - that thou hast done this thing? Genesis 20:10"What sawest thou," i.e., what hadst thou in thine eye, with thine act (thy false statement)? Abimelech did this publicly in the presence of his servants, partly for his own justification in the sight of his dependents, and partly to put Abraham to shame. The latter had but two weak excuses: (1) that he supposed there was no fear of God at all in the land, and trembled for his life because of his wife; and (2) that when he left his father's house, he had arranged with his wife that in every foreign place she was to call herself his sister, as she really was his half-sister. On the subject of his emigration, he expressed himself indefinitely and with reserve, accommodating himself to the polytheistic standpoint of the Philistine king: "when God (or the gods, Elohim) caused me to wander," i.e., led me to commence an unsettled life in a foreign land; and saying nothing about Jehovah, and the object of his wandering as revealed by Him.
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