Genesis 20



1 And Abraham journeyed thence toward the land of the south, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and he sojourned in Gerar.

2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister; and Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

3 And God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold thou wilt·​·die on·​·account·​·of the woman whom thou hast taken, for she is married to a husband.

4 And Abimelech had not come·​·near to her; and he said, Lord, wilt Thou kill also a just nation?

5 Said he not to me, She is my sister? And she herself also Said, He is my brother; in the integrity of my heart and in the innocence of my hands have I done this.

6 And God said to him in the dream, I also know that in the integrity of thy heart thou hast done this; and I also kept· thee ·back from sinning against Me; therefore I did not allow thee to touch her.

7 And now return the wife of the man, for he is a prophet; and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live; and if thou return her not, know thou that dying thou shalt die, thou and all that are thine.

8 And Abimelech got·​·up·​·early in the morning, and called all his servants, and spoke all these words in their ears; and the men feared exceedingly.

9 And Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, What hast thou done to us? And wherein have I sinned against thee that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? Thou hast done with·​·me deeds that ought not to be done.

10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, What sawest thou that thou hast done this word?

11 And Abraham said, Because I said, Surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me on·​·account·​·of the matter of my wife.

12 And also, truly, she is my sister, being the daughter of my father, only not the daughter of my mother, and she became for me a wife.

13 And it was, as God caused me to depart* from the house of my father, that I said to her, This is thy mercy which thou shalt do with·​·me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

14 And Abimelech took flock and herd, and menservants and handmaids, and gave to Abraham; and returned to him Sarah his wife.

15 And Abimelech said, Behold my land is before thee; dwell in that which is good in thine eyes.

16 And to Sarah he said, Behold I have given a thousand of silver to thy brother; behold it is to thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee, and with all; and she was vindicated.

17 And Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they gave·​·birth.

18 For restraining Jehovah had therefore restrained every womb of the house of Abimelech, on·​·account·​·of the word of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Exploring the Meaning of Genesis 20      

Napsal(a) Emanuel Swedenborg

Here are some excerpts from Swedenborg's "Arcana Coelestia" that help explain the inner meaning of this chapter:

AC 2496. In the twelfth chapter above, Abraham‘s sojourning in Egypt has been treated of; by which was signified the Lord’s instruction in memory-knowledges while still a boy. In this chapter the subject treated of is Abraham‘s sojourn in Gerar, where Abimelech was; by which the Lord’s instruction is in like manner signified, but in the doctrinal things of charity and faith. The subject that is especially treated of here is the doctrine of charity and faith in respect to its origin; namely, that it is spiritual from a celestial origin, but is not from the rational.

AC 2497. The Lord‘s state in which He was when He first instructed Himself in the doctrinal things of charity and faith is treated of; the state itself is signified by "Kadesh and Shur;" the doctrine of faith by "Abimelech king of Gerar" (verses 1, 2). That He at first thought in regard to the rational that it should be consulted (verse 2). That still it was not consulted (verses 3, 4, 8, 9). The reasons why He so thought (verses 5, 6, 10-13). That the doctrine of charity and faith is spiritual from a celestial origin (verse 7). That He was so instructed; and that then all things rational, as well as all memory-knowledges, were of service to Him, being like a covering or garment (verses 14-16). And in this way the doctrine was perfect (verse 17). That it would have been otherwise if the doctrine had come from the rational (verse 18).

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Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.