Genesis 20

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English: Webster's Bible

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1 And Abraham journeyed from thence towards the south country, and dwelt between Kadash and Shur, and 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 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, on account of the woman whom thou hast taken: for she is a man's wife.

4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou also slay a righteous nation?

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

6 And God said to him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore I suffered thee not to touch her.

7 Now therefore restore to the man his wife, for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou shalt not restore her, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou and all that are thine.

8 Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were greatly afraid.

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

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

11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.

12 And yet indeed she is my sister: she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt show to me; At every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and women-servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored to him Sarah his wife.

15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.

16 And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, to all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.

17 So Abraham prayed to God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maid-servants, and they bore children.

18 For the LORD had made barren all the females of the house of Abimelech, 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...

South
'South' denotes truth in light.

Country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

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

sojourned
There is a long history of using travel to round out an education, from the 19th-century “world tours” taken by Oxford and Cambridge graduates to...

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...

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

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
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

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
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

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
The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

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...

Slay
'To slay' or 'to kill' in the Word, means destroying souls, which is spiritually killing.

righteous
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

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...

Integrity
'Integrity,' as in Genesis 20:5, signifies innocence and simplicity.

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...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

touch
Imagine having your mother touch your cheek. Then imagine having your spouse or someone you love romantically touch your cheek. Then imagine having a baby...

restore
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

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...

pray
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...

die
'To perish,' or 'die,' relates to damnation, or the state in hell.

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

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...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

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...

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...

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...

thought
Those who are 'anxious' are not content with their own lot, and do not trust the Divine, but only themselves. They only look to worldly...

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.

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 room' or 'place' denotes state.

daughter
Marriages among people – both in the Bible and in life – represent spiritual marriage. Women represent the desire to be good and to do...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

mother
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,...

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

Wander
'To wander,' as in Amos 4:8, signifies inquiry. 'To wander blind in the streets,' as in Lamentations 4:14, means not knowing good and truth.

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...

show
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

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.

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...

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...

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...

dwell
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

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...

Pieces
'Broken into pieces' denotes the way good not from the Lord will be dissipated.

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

Covering
A covering of precious stones (Ezek. 28:4, 13) signifies the truths of intelligence.

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...

Maid-servants
'Maid-servants' signify the affections of the natural.

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...

Barren
"Sarai was barren, she had no child" (Gen 11:30), signifies that evil and falsity were not productive.


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