EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
20:14-18 We often trouble ourselves, and even are led into temptation and sin, by groundless suspicions; and find the fear of God where we expected it not. Agreements to deceive generally end in shame and sorrow; and restraints from sin, though by suffering, should be thankfully acknowledged. Though the Lord rebuke, yet he will pardon and deliver his people, and he will give them favour in the sight of those with whom they sojourn; and overrule their infirmities, when they are humbled for them, so that they shall prove useful to themselves and others.
Abimelek seems to have accepted his apology, as he probably felt that there was truth in the character Abraham gave of his people, and was precluded from resenting it by the salutary impression of his dream; while at the same time Abraham's mode of avoiding danger appeared warrantable according to his own and the common code of morals. He therefore hastens to make honorable amends for his conduct. He makes Abraham a valuable present, restores his wife, and makes him free to dwell in any part of his dominions. He then accosts Sarah in respectful terms, informing her that he had presented her brother with one thousand silver pieces, probably shekels, on her account. He does not offer this directly to herself, that it may be distinctly understood that her honor was unstained. This may refer either to Abraham or to the sum of money. The latter is more natural, as the sentence then affords a reason for addressing Sarah, and mentioning this particular gift. "A covering of the eyes" does not mean a veil, the proper word for which is צעיף tsā‛ı̂yp, but is a figurative phrase for a recompense or pacificatory offering, in consideration of which an offence is overlooked. "Unto all that are with thee." All her family were concerned in this public vindication of her character. "And all this that thou mayest be righted." The original of this is most naturally taken as a part of Abimelek's speech, and then it is to be translated as above. All this has been done or given that the injury to Sarah may be redressed. If the original be regarded as a part of the narrative, it must be rendered, "And all this (was done) that she might be righted." The sense is the same in substance. In the former case the verb is in the second person, in the latter in the third.
12. yet indeed she is my sister—(See on Ge 11:31). What a poor defense Abraham made. The statement absolved him from the charge of direct and absolute falsehood, but he had told a moral untruth because there was an intention to deceive (compare Ge 12:11-13). "Honesty is always the best policy." Abraham's life would have been as well protected without the fraud as with it: and what shame to himself, what distrust to God, what dishonor to religion might have been prevented! "Let us speak truth every man to his neighbor" [Zec 8:16; Eph 4:25]. My land is before thee,
i.e. free for thy view and choice, as Genesis 13:9
And Abimelech said, behold, my whole land is before thee,.... Instead of bidding him be gone, and sending him away in haste out of his country, as the king of Egypt did in a like case, he solicits his stay in it; and to encourage him to it, makes an offer of his whole kingdom to him, to choose which part of it he would to dwell in:
dwell where it pleaseth thee; if there was anyone part of it better than another, or more convenient for him, his family and his flocks, he was welcome to it. And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.