The Rest of the Bible Story:
In Genesis 20 we find the story of Abraham and Abimelech, a Philistine ruler. Abilelech was a some what common sir-name for several Philistine rulers. It means “father/leader of a king; my father/leader; a king.”
As the story reads, Abraham encounters Abimelech over Sarah, Abraham’s wife. She was beautiful and something to be desired even at 90 years of age. Abraham, supposedly fearing for his life since he lived in the land of Abimelech and knew of Abimelech’s designs on Sarah, told everyone that Sarah was his sister amd instructed her to say the he was her brother. This was not a total lie as Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister. The sin was in the “kavanah” of Abraham’s heart when he made this statement. He intended to deceive Abilelech.
Abilelech took Sarah fully intending on making her his wife. In a dream God revealed to Abilelech that Sarah was also Abraham’s wife. [note that a half-truth is reviled by God just as is a total lie]. God intervened in a dream to Abimelech. As Abilelech put it to Abraham, “What have you done to us? What was your reason for doing this?” [NIV]. In essence God had told Abilelech “You are as good as dead for this deed” [Genesis 20:3b].
Aha #1: Find in verse 20:7 (Genesis) that God identified Abraham as “a prophet.”
Now turn to Genesis 26:1-33. Enter stage left; Abraham and Sarah’s son Isaac. Due to a famine, Isaac moves to the same area as did his father [Abraham] many years earlier (above history note). Isaac states that Rebekah, his wife, is really his sister, as he is worried that the Philistines will otherwise kill him in order to marry Rebekah. After a while, Abimelech spots Isaac sporting with Rebekah and concludes she must be Isaac’s wife, not his sister.
Aha #2: As done between Abraham and Abilelech, , Abilelech seeks a nonaggression treaty between him and Isaac. The difference between these two similar incidents is Abraham feared for his life due to the fact he was in a strange land of mighty people. With Isaac, Abimelech feared Isaac for Isaac had become very wealthy and powerful. Abimelech “clearly saw that the Lord was with him.” Of course we do have the common denominator of both Abraham and Isaac lied about their wives. Another difference is that Isaac’s lie was not a half-truth. It was a lie!
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Future Aha Moments article: Note in Genesis 26:32-33 that Isaac named the well his servants had dug “Shibah”; Beersheba.. Beer means well and Sheba [shibah] means water; Beersheba. Over 500 years later, 42,000 soldiers of a Tribe of (Isaac) Israel were slaughtered because they couldn’t say the letters “sh” [shibboleth].
Aha #3: The treaties made between Abimelech and Abraham/Isaac were made between Philistines and future Israelites. Might you recall the problems Israel had with the Philistines hundreds of years later when Israel became a great nation? Did the Philistines of these latter years no longer “clearly see that the Lord was with them?” [J.I.V.] We can’t ask America to wake up, but we can challenge Christians to wake up. Does America see that “the Lord is clearly with us as Christians?”
Aha #4: Verses 34 and 35 is the only place in the Bible where a major “family in-law” issue between Esau and his parents, Isaac and Rebekah, is specifically identified; almost out of context per the 26th chapter of Genesis. What might be your introspective view [Y.I.V.]?