[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Oct 18 15:37:43 EDT 2007


 
James: 
You wrote:  "Yhwh felt the need to intervene before  Abimelech did anything 
untoward." 
Not  true. 
Although the verse you are referencing at  first glance appears to be the 
narrator making a statement of fact, the reality  is that we are to understand 
that verse as being what Abimelech said to his  assembled people early the next 
morning.  No one was there except Abimelech and Sarah.  The author of the 
Patriarchal narratives  is not pretending to be omniscient. 
Why doesn't Abraham ask Sarah to verify what Abimelech said before  Abraham 
utters, of all things, a fertility prayer for Abimelech?  Why doesn't Abraham 
ask YHWH to clarify  what really happened before Abraham is willing to offer a 
fertility prayer for  Abimelech? 
Here is what the text says: 
"And God said unto him  [Abimelech] in the dream: 'Yea, I know that in the 
simplicity of thy heart thou  hast done this, and I also withheld thee from 
sinning against Me.  Therefore suffered I thee not to touch  her.'  … And 
Abimelech rose early in  the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these 
things in their  ears; and the men were sore afraid. "  Genesis 20: 6, 8 
Here is how the author of the Patriarchal narratives  wants us to understand 
those two verses: 
"And Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all  his servants, and 
said to them:  'Last night God said unto me in a dream:  'Yea, I know that in 
the simplicity of  thy heart thou hast done this, and I also withheld thee from 
sinning against Me.  Therefore suffered I thee not to  touch her.'" 
Abraham, Sarah and Abimelech know in advance exactly what  Abimelech is going 
to say to all of Abimelech's people.  That is a key part of the cover story,  
so that Abimelech's people will not think that Abimelech is an immoral ruler 
who  has knowingly taken a married woman into his household and violated  her. 
James, consider it this way.  If your wife spent a night in another  man's 
bedroom, how would you react if the man attempted to explain it all away  as 
follows:  "Not to worry, I  thought she was your sister, and anyway, last night 
God said unto me in a dream:  'Yea, I know that in the simplicity  of thy heart 
thou hast done this, and I also withheld thee from sinning against  Me.  
Therefore suffered I thee not  to touch her.'" 
Abraham is not so gullible as to take that lame excuse of  a Gentile ruler at 
face value.  It's  all part of the cover story that Abraham, Sarah and 
Abimelech have agreed to in  advance. 
If you do not understand that, you will not understand  why Abraham and Sarah 
make a beeline for Abimelech's place in Gerar per Genesis  20: 1.  Abraham 
and Sarah want to interact with Abimelech, who has a  fertility problem somewhat 
like Abraham's and Sarah's fertility  problem. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois



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