Genesis 20:9 MEANING

Genesis 20:9
Verse 9. - Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him (in the presence of his people), What hast thou done unto us? - identifying himself once more with his people, as he had already done in responding to God (Ver. 4) - and what have I offended thee (thus modestly allowing that he may himself have unwittingly occasioned the sin of Abraham), that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? The gravamen of Abimelech's accusation was that Abraham had led him and his to offend against God, and so to lay themselves open to the penalties of wrong-doing. Thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. Literally, deeds which ought not to be done thou hast done with me (cf. Genesis 34:7; Leviticus 4:2, 13; vide Glass, 'Philol. Tract., 1. 3. t. 3. 100. 6.). The king's words were unquestionably designed to convey a severe reproach.

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.Then Abimelech called Abraham,.... Who might be in the king's palace, being taken into it caressed by the king for the sake of Sarah:

and said unto him; not in a passion, as might have been expected, but in a mild and gentle manner, yet with great strength of reasoning, and making very just expostulations with him:

what hast thou done unto us? what evil to him, his family, and his subjects? this was very probably said in the presence of his servants he had called, and therefore the plural number is used:

and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me, and on my kingdom, a great sin? the sin of adultery, he had been in danger of committing, which by the light of nature was known and acknowledged to be a great sin, and therefore was avoided by Heathens, and prohibited and punished by them; or else a "great punishment" (d), as death to him, and all his subjects: and now Abimelech expostulates with him, and desires to know what he had done to incur his displeasure, that he should take such a method as this to avenge himself of him; he plainly intimates that he was not conscious to himself that he had done any thing to offend him; he had suffered him to come into his kingdom, and sojourn in it, and used him well, and in no instance, as he knew of, had done anything to affront him:

thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done; in saying Sarah was his sister, and persuading her to say the same, and so virtually disowning his marriage with her, equivocating in this affair, and dissembling truth, and thereby exposing the chastity of his wife, and the king to the commission of sin with her; things that ought not to be done by any man, and much less by a man professing religion and godliness.

(d) "noxam magnam", Junius & Tremellius; "poenam peccati", Menochius; so Abendana.

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