It’s been a while since I was last here, and I apologise. I usually apologise in this section because I feel it my duty to be here as often as I should and could, but many times I am so out of it, that I’d rather not corrupt the space till I’m good enough for it.
I even thought of doing another blog for this space, but I figured nothing much will change, apart from the fact that having this run with the secular and mainstream will tame and temper me as I journey through this with you.
We aren’t done with Abraham though, and in this one he journeys to GERAR, between KADESH and SHUR (Genesis Chapter 20 verse 1), in continuation of his wanderings since YAHWEH appeared to him in “…the land of his nativity, in Ur of the CHALDEES” (Genesis 11:28), and asked him to up and go “…unto a land that I will shew thee” (Genesis 12: 1). Apparently, Abraham introduced his wife Sarah, as his sister to anyone who cared to know, and as with Kings in such places, as with some monarchical societies today (King Mswati III’s Swaziland comes to mind), King Abimelech “…sent and took Sarah” (vs. 2).
That night, YAHWEH appeared to Abimelech in a dream, “…and said to him, behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she’s a man’s wife.” (v. 3).
You can only imagine Abimelech’s shock on hearing this, and he made that much clear in his response, since Sarah was not introduced to him as anyone’s wife, but probably as Abraham’s ‘sister’.
Luckily, the King was spared any hassles of YAHWEH, who knew “…that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me”, -the sin here being ‘having sex’ with another man’s wife- “therefore suffered I thee not to touch her (v. 6).
YAHWEH instructed Abimelech to restore to Abraham his wife, “…for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine” (v. 7).
The last verse corroborates the assertions by Muslims that Abraham was a prophet (just felt you should know). It seems also that he could also intercede on behalf of the King before YAHWEH, but most importantly was what could’ve befallen Abimelech had he stuck to his gun and taken Sarah, even have sex with her knowing her marital status. These days with the “free” license to sex, and complicated sexual relationships between and amongst married and unmarried people, “…as fed horses in the morning, every one NEIGHED after his neighbour’s wife.” (Jeremiah 5:8). Not much seem to be happening in the area of “deaths” to those who “cross” the line, but if one took a better look at how things shape out, most times eventually, there seem to be a dying of another kind, definitely spiritually and of course beyond that. Which often makes the physical death, an easier escape if you asked me.
Back to the story, rising early in the morning, the King called his subjects to intimate them of the events of the past night. He also called up Abraham to register his anger at the latters’ behaviour, to which Abraham, after failing to reasonably convince his host(s), as to how Sarah could be his sister and at the same time be his wife, went further to explain that he “…thought, surely the fear of YAHWEH is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.” (v. 11). Abraham related the action of those who took other people’s wives as consistent with those who had no fear of and for YAHWEH.
King Abimelech’s response beyond restoring Sarah to Abraham, was to grant “….sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and women servants, and gave them unto Abraham” (v. 14), as well as offering land as much as would please Abraham, at any location of his choice, including a thousand pieces of silver to “her brother” (most likely mockingly referring to Abraham, for pulling such a stunt) to serve as compensation for Sarah before everyone present as well as her vindication. This was necessary in order not to cast Sarah in bad light, as is common in many patriachal societies, even today where for instance women who are victims of ‘rape’ get punished.
Afterwards, “…Abraham prayed unto YAHWEH: and YAHWEH healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children” (v. 17), and if you were wondering what that had to do with anything, verse 18 provides the answer to the poser, “For YAHWEH had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.”
Yea, I was stunned when I read that too. Death is definitely not the worst thing that can happen to a man. I have also noticed that many times when death is mentioned as consequence for committing a sin in the Bible, the wrong doer doesn’t necessarily drop dead immediately, and you can recall vividly that this truism was exploited by the Serpent in Genesis Chapter 3 verse 4, when it said to Eve “…Ye shall not surely die”, and though she didn’t die right there and then, she (like Adam) EVENTUALLY DIED, and before that suffered many of the things we suffer today.
The same is as with the situation put out in the case of Abimelech, or as with many of the indiscretions we routinely find ourselves in today, where just because we didn’t die as a result of committing them, we continued growing from strength to strength doing them (as the initial sense of guilt begins to, and then totally wear off), but killing ourselves in other ways possible than we could imagine, even unto an end that is far worse than had we died immediately as a result of our shameful actions, and inactions. Shalom!
The Word Of YAHWEH, 2000 Edition.