Genesis 20

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English: Basic English Bible

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1 And Abraham went on his way from there to the land of the South, and was living between Kadesh and Shur, in Gerar.

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

3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream in the night, and said to him, Truly you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a man's wife.

4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, Lord, will you put to death an upright nation?

5 Did he not say to me himself, She is my sister? and she herself said, He is my brother: with an upright heart and clean hands have I done this.

6 And God said to him in the dream, I see that you have done this with an upright heart, and I have kept you from sinning against me: for this reason I did not let you come near her.

7 So now, give the man back his wife, for he is a prophet, and let him say a prayer for you, so your life may be safe: but if you do not give her back, be certain that death will come to you and all your house.

8 So Abimelech got up early in the morning and sent for all his servants and gave them word of these things, and they were full of fear.

9 Then Abimelech sent for Abraham, and said, What have you done to us? what wrong have I done you that you have put on me and on my kingdom so great a sin? You have done to me things which are not to be done.

10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, Why did you do this thing?

11 And Abraham said, Because it seemed to me that there was no fear of God in this place, and that they might put me to death because of my wife.

12 And, in fact, she is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife:

13 And when God sent me wandering from my father's house, I said to her, Let this be the sign of your love for me; wherever we go, say of me, He is my brother.

14 Then Abimelech gave to Abraham sheep and oxen and men-servants and women-servants, and gave him back his wife Sarah.

15 And Abimelech said, See, all my land is before you; take whatever place seems good to you.

16 And he said to Sarah, See, I have given to your brother a thousand bits of silver so that your wrong may be put right; now your honour is clear in the eyes of all.

17 Then Abraham made prayer to God, and God made Abimelech well again, and his wife and his women-servants, so that they had children.

18 For the Lord had kept all the women of the house of Abimelech from having children, because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

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Word/Phrase Explanations

abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

Way
'To set a way,' as in Genesis 30:36, signifies being separated.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.

South
'South' denotes truth in light.

Kadesh
'Kadesh' denotes truths, and contention about truths.

Shur
'Shur,' or 'Assyria,' signifies the Lord's state when He first received instruction in matters of doctrine regarding charity and faith.

Gerar
Gerar, as in Genesis 10:19, signifies those things which are revealed concerning faith.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Sarah
'Sarah' denotes truth joined to good. Sarai was called 'Sarah' so she would represent the divine intellectual principle by adding the 'H' from the name...

wife
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has six different common words which are generally translated as "wife," which largely overlap but have different nuances. Swedenborg...

Sister
The Lord calls people who are in truth from the good of charity from Him 'sisters,' as in Matthew 12:50. 'Sister' denotes intellectual truth, when...

Abimelech
Abimelech, his companion Ahusath, and Phicol, the chief captain of his army (Gen 26:26), represent the doctrinals of faith as grounded in the literal sense...

king
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

God
According to the Writings, the Lord is love itself expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom -...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Dream
A dream, as in Genesis 20:3,signifies being somewhat obscure.

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

dead
Death in the Bible represents spiritual death, or the destruction of everything that is good and all true beliefs in someone. This happens when people...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

Woman
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Upright
'Upright' signifies truth originating in charity. Truth may be derived from various origins, but what originates in the good of charity from the Lord is...

Nation
'A nation,' as in Genesis 21:18, signifies the spiritual church which should receive the good of faith. Nation from afar,' as in Jeremiah 5:17, signifies...

brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

heart
The heart means love. A good heart means love to the Lord and to the neighbor while a hard or stony heart means the love...

hands
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

prophet
The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

prayer
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

early
Since the sun represents the Lord, the early morning and sunrise represent a state of enlightenment, with a new and clear understanding coming after a...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

servants
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

Fear
Fear has various significations according to the thing which causes it. Fear signifies love. Fear, as in Gen 28:17, signifies a holy change.

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

Put on
'To put on' is communication and imbuement.

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

sin
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

Fear of God
Fear of God, as used in the Word, signifies worship, either grounded in fear, or in the good of faith, or in the good of...

Place
'A dry place,' as in Luke 11:24, signifies states of evil and falsity which are in the life of someone who does the work of...

Might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

Father
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

Sign
'A sign' is mentioned in the Word in reference to the future, which constitutes revelation. This also refers to truth, when it constitutes testification. It...

sheep
It’s pretty easy for most people to read the Bible and get a sense for what “sheep” means without any help. They are simple, peaceful,...

Oxen
'Oxen' or 'calves' signify the affections of the natural mind.

men
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

Women
'Women,' as in Genesis 45:19, signify the affections of truth. But in Genesis 31:50, 'women' signify affections of not genuine truth, so not of the...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

thousand
As children, most of us at some point frustrated our mothers into using the phrase “if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand...

silver
'Spoil of gold, and silver, and cattle' signifies falsified truths.

eyes
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

Well
'A well,' as in Numbers 21:17-18, signifies the Word of the ancient church. 'A well,' or 'pit,' as in Luke 14:5, signifies falsity and the...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...


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