[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Wed Oct 17 17:49:03 EDT 2007

"For Hashem had completely restrained every orifice [of the bodies] 
(this is Rashi's explanation, Ramban  says that it does not refer to 
every orifice, but only to the wombs) of the household of Avimelech, 
because of Sarah, the wife of Avraham"  means that this was 
Avimelech's punishment because of the abduction of Sarah - not that 
they were punished in order that Avraham could deal with Avimelech, 
but they were punished because of what they did, and the punishment 
was only resolved when Avraham prayed for them.

Also Sforno explains:  "For Hashem had completely restrained every 
womb"..."to destroy the embryos if Avimelech had not repented.  This 
is in accord with the warning given to him in verse 7:  "Be aware 
that you will surely die, you and all that is yours"".

Also, Rashi explains verse 18 - "Al-Dvar Sarah", not to mean "because 
of" Sarah, but literally "by the words of Sarah" - ie; at her bidding.

Also, it is a few chapters earlier, where G-d calls the land that He 
gives as an eternal inheritance to Avraham, "C'naan" - (chapter 17 
verse 5)


"God healed Abimelech, and his  wife, and his maid-servants;  and  they bore
children.  For the LORD  [YHWH] had fast closed up all the wombs of the house
of Abimelech, because of  Sarah Abraham's wife."   Genesis  17-18
The reference to "because of Sarah Abraham's wife" at the  end means that
Abimelech's own fertility problem was what gave Abraham and Sarah  leverage to
deal with Abimelech.

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