Thursday, May 14, 2009
Abimelech takes Sarah into his harem
How's that school project going Izzy? I understand you are to diagram all the parts of a computer.
<= = = Yes sir and I was lucky, they let me take a few old broken ones apart, so I have mounted them on this board and labled all the parts you can see. And thank you for coming later for today's lesson, I needed the time to get that project done.
Now Abraham moved south to the Negev desert, a broad expanse of nothing but dust at that time. But following the vision of David Ben-Gurion much of this is productive agriculture today. Abraham and settled for a while between Kadesh and Shur at a place called Gerar marked by Tel Haror today.
The king of Gerar was a thug named Abimelech that considered himself quite the lady's man and had sired children with most of the women in Gerar. Since it was not appropriate in that culture to bed a married woman, what commonly happened is Abimelech has his way with them before marriage and if a child resulted, rewarded the family for raising the child as their own. Abraham played his old trick and told people there that his wife, Sarah, was his sister. So King Abimelech sent for her and had her brought to him at his palace.
<= = = No way! We have been learning about how old they are, there is no chance the king would want Sarah.
There is every chance, first she has been in the presence of the LORD, that transforms your appearance, remember Moses? Second, It happens sometimes that women are allowed to keep their beauty in advanced age, what about Jane Fonda and Nichelle Nichols. Look them up with Google sometime. The one night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, "You are a dead man, for that woman you took is married." But Abimelech had not slept with her yet, so he said, "Lord, will you kill an innocent man? Abraham told me, `She is my sister,' and she herself said, `Yes, he is my brother.' I acted in complete innocence!"
"Yes, I know you are innocent," God replied. "That is why I kept you from sinning against me; I did not let you touch her. Now return her to her husband, and he will pray for you, for he is a prophet. Then you will live. But if you don't return her to him, you can be sure that you and your entire household will die."
This is the first time the word prophet is used in scripture and we keep adding to the character of Abraham, exalted father, father of many nations, generous with family, fierce warrior, loving husband, wayward husband and now prophet, one to whom God reveals his will and then in turn shares God's will with the people. Finally, note that Abraham is being cast in the role of intercessor.
Abimelech got up early the next morning and hastily called a meeting of all his servants. When he told them what had happened, great fear swept through the crowd. Then Abimelech called for Abraham and essentially repeated the pharaoh speech. "What is this you have done to us?" he demanded. "What have I done to you that deserves treatment like this, making me and my kingdom guilty of this great sin? This kind of thing should not be done! Why have you done this to us?"
"Well," Abraham said, "I figured this to be a godless place. I thought, `They will want my wife and will kill me to get her.' Besides, she is my sister--we both have the same father, though different mothers--and I married her. When God sent me to travel far from my father's home, I told her, `Wherever we go, have the kindness to say that you are my sister.' " Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and servants--both men and women--and gave them to Abraham, and he returned his wife, Sarah, to him. "Look over my kingdom, and choose a place where you would like to live," Abimelech told him.
Then he turned to Sarah. "Look," he said, "I am giving your `brother' a thousand pieces of silver (~25 pounds) to compensate for any embarrassment I may have caused you. This will settle any claim against me in this matter."
Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and the other women of the household, so they could have children. For the LORD had stricken all the women with infertility as a warning to Abimelech for having taken Abraham's wife.