Genesis 20:9
Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended 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.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
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 hast thou done unto us? How great a danger hast thou exposed us to!

A great sin: even the heathens, who thought fornication harmless, judge adultery to be a very great and heinous crime. See Genesis 38:24 Leviticus 20:10 Ezekiel 16:38 23:45,47. Or, a great punishment, as this word is oft used; which seems better to answer to his offending Abraham now mentioned.

Then Abimelech called Abraham,.... Who might be in the king's palace, being taken into it caressed by the king for the sake of Sarah:

and said unto him; not in a passion, as might have been expected, but in a mild and gentle manner, yet with great strength of reasoning, and making very just expostulations with him:

what hast thou done unto us? what evil to him, his family, and his subjects? this was very probably said in the presence of his servants he had called, and therefore the plural number is used:

and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me, and on my kingdom, a great sin? the sin of adultery, he had been in danger of committing, which by the light of nature was known and acknowledged to be a great sin, and therefore was avoided by Heathens, and prohibited and punished by them; or else a "great punishment" (d), as death to him, and all his subjects: and now Abimelech expostulates with him, and desires to know what he had done to incur his displeasure, that he should take such a method as this to avenge himself of him; he plainly intimates that he was not conscious to himself that he had done any thing to offend him; he had suffered him to come into his kingdom, and sojourn in it, and used him well, and in no instance, as he knew of, had done anything to affront him:

thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done; in saying Sarah was his sister, and persuading her to say the same, and so virtually disowning his marriage with her, equivocating in this affair, and dissembling truth, and thereby exposing the chastity of his wife, and the king to the commission of sin with her; things that ought not to be done by any man, and much less by a man professing religion and godliness.

(d) "noxam magnam", Junius & Tremellius; "poenam peccati", Menochius; so Abendana.

Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my {k} kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.

(k) The wickedness of the king brings God's wrath on the whole realm.

9. What hast thou done unto us] Syriac Peshitto “what have I done unto thee,” which suits the second clause rather better.

deeds … that ought not to be done] Cf. Genesis 34:7; 2 Samuel 13:12. The moral standard of the heathen king here stands higher than that of Abraham the prophet. There were at Gerar, presumably, no written laws; but the custom of the people, with which was bound up its religion, was more powerful than law. The Code of Hammurabi reflects the moral standard of the most civilized community of the time.

Verse 9. - Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him (in the presence of his people), What hast thou done unto us? - identifying himself once more with his people, as he had already done in responding to God (Ver. 4) - and what have I offended thee (thus modestly allowing that he may himself have unwittingly occasioned the sin of Abraham), that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? The gravamen of Abimelech's accusation was that Abraham had led him and his to offend against God, and so to lay themselves open to the penalties of wrong-doing. Thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. Literally, deeds which ought not to be done thou hast done with me (cf. Genesis 34:7; Leviticus 4:2, 13; vide Glass, 'Philol. Tract., 1. 3. t. 3. 100. 6.). The king's words were unquestionably designed to convey a severe reproach. Genesis 20:9Abimelech carried out the divine instructions. The next morning he collected his servants together and related what had occurred, at which the men were greatly alarmed. He then sent for Abraham, and complained most bitterly of his conduct, by which he had brought a great sin upon him and his kingdom.
Genesis 20:9 Interlinear
Genesis 20:9 Parallel Texts

Genesis 20:9 NIV
Genesis 20:9 NLT
Genesis 20:9 ESV
Genesis 20:9 NASB
Genesis 20:9 KJV

Genesis 20:9 Bible Apps
Genesis 20:9 Parallel
Genesis 20:9 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 20:9 Chinese Bible
Genesis 20:9 French Bible
Genesis 20:9 German Bible

Bible Hub

Genesis 20:8
Top of Page
Top of Page