Genesis 20:12 MEANING

Genesis 20:12
(12) Not the daughter of my mother.--This disproves the notion that Sarah was the same as Iscah (Genesis 11:29); for as Iscah was Terah's granddaughter, the distinction between the identity of the father and the diversity of the mother would in her case be unmeaning. Sarah was apparently Abraham's half-sister, being Terah's daughter by another wife; and we gather from her calling her child Sarai--that is, princely (see Genesis 17:15)--that she was not a concubine, but belonged to some noble race.

Verse 12. - And yet indeed she is my sister. This was the second of the patriarch's extenuating pleas, that he had not exactly lied, having uttered at least a half truth. She is the daughter of my father (Temh), But not the daughter of my mother. That Sarah was the grand-daughter of Terah, i.e. the daughter of Haran, and sister of Lot, in other words, Iscah, has been maintained (Josephus, Augustine, Jerome, Jonathan). That she was Terah's niece, being a brother's daughter adopted by him, has received some support (Calvin); but there seems no reason for departing from the statement of the text, that she was her husband's half-sister, i.e. Terah's daughter by another wife than Abraham's mother (Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Keil, Knobel). And she became my wife.

20:9-13 See here much to blame, even in the father of the faithful. Mark his distrust of God, his undue care about life, his intent to deceive. He also threw temptation in the way of others, caused affliction to them, exposed himself and Sarah to just rebukes, and yet attempted an excuse. These things are written for our warning, not for us to imitate. Even Abraham hath not whereof to glory. He cannot be justified by his works, but must be indebted for justification, to that righteousness which is upon all and unto all them that believe. We must not condemn all as hypocrites who fall into sin, if they do not continue in it. But let the unhumbled and impenitent take heed that they do not sin on, thinking that grace may abound. Abimelech, being warned of God, takes the warning; and being truly afraid of sin and its consequences, he rose early to pursue the directions given him.And yet indeed she is my sister,.... In the same sense as Lot was his brother; for she was sister to Lot, and both were the children of Haran, the brother of Abraham:

she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; she was the daughter of his father, being his granddaughter, grandchildren are sometimes called children, but not the daughter or granddaughter of Abraham's mother; Terah having had two wives, by the one he had Haran, the father of Sarah, and by the other Abraham. According to the Arabic writers (f), Abraham and Sarah were the immediate children of Terah, but by two mothers:"the mother of Abraham (they say) died, whose name was Juna, and Terah married another wife, whose name was Lahazib, some say Tahuitha, who bore him Sarah, afterwards married to Abraham; hence Abraham said, she is my sister on my father's side, but not on my mother's side:"

and she became my wife; as in those times it was judged lawful, and so it has been accounted lawful in many nations to marry sisters on the father's side, when those on the mother's were prohibited (g).

(f) Elmacinus, p. 51. Patricides, p. 17. apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. p. 281. (g) Vid. Philo. de Special. Leg. p. 779. Clement. Alex. Stromat. l. 2. p. 421.

Courtesy of Open Bible