Synoptic Patriarchs and Sister-Wives

Synoptic Patriarchs and Sister-Wives

Genesis 12

Genesis 20–21

Genesis 26

12.10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land.

20.1a–b From there Abraham journeyed towards the region of the Negeb, and settled between Kadesh and Shur.

26.1 Now there was a famine in the land, and Isaac went to Gerar, to King Abimelech of the Philistines.

20.1c–2a While residing in Gerar as an alien, Abraham said of his wife Sarah, ‘She is my sister.’

26.6–7a So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, ‘She is my sister.’

12.14–17 When Abram entered Egypt the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. When the officials of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys, and camels. But Yahweh afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.

20.2b–7 And King Abimelech of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, ‘You are about to die because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a married woman.’ Now Abimelech had not approached her; so he said, ‘Lord, will you destroy an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, “She is my sister”? And she herself said, “He is my brother.” I did this in the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands.’ Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart; furthermore it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then, return the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all that are yours.’

26.8 When Isaac had been there a long time, King Abimelech of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw him fondling his wife Rebekah.

20.8–9a So Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants and told them all these things; and the men were very much afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham,

26.9a So Abimelech called for Isaac,

12.18 So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, ‘What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?’

20.9b–d and said to him, ‘What have you done to us? How have I sinned against you, that you have brought such great guilt on me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that ought not to be done.’

26.10 Abimelech said, ‘What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.’

12.19aWhy did you say, “She is my sister”, so that I took her for my wife?’

20.10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, ‘What were you thinking of, that you did this thing?’

26.9b and said, ‘So she is your wife! Why then did you say, “She is my sister”?’

12.11–13 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘I know well that you are a woman beautiful in appearance; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife”; then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.’

20.11–13 Abraham said, ‘I did it because I thought, there is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, “This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, ‘He is my brother.’”’

26.9c Isaac said to him, ‘Because I thought I might die because of her.’

12.19b–20 ‘Now then, here is your wife; take her, and be gone.’ And Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning him; and they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had.

20.14 Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham, and restored his wife Sarah to him.

26.11 So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, ‘Whoever touches this man or his wife shall be put to death.’

20.15–18 Abimelech said, ‘My land is before you; settle where it pleases you.’ To Sarah he said, ‘Look, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; it is your exoneration before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.’ Then Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For Yahweh had closed fast all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

26.12–17 Isaac sowed seed in that land, and in the same year reaped a hundredfold. Yahweh blessed him, and the man became rich; he prospered more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds, and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. And Abimelech said to Isaac, ‘Go away from us; you have become too powerful for us.’ So Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar and settled there.

21.22–24 At that time Abimelech, with Phicol the commander of his army, said to Abraham, ‘God is with you in all that you do; now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but as I have dealt loyally with you, you will deal with me and with the land where you have resided as an alien.’ And Abraham said, ‘I swear it.’

26.26–30 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army. Isaac said to them, ‘Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?’ They said, ‘We see plainly that Yahweh has been with you; so we say, let there be an oath between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you so that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of Yahweh.’ So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.

21.25–30 When Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized, Abimelech said, ‘I do not know who has done this; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today.’ So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs of the flock. And Abimelech said to Abraham, ‘What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?’ He said, ‘These seven ewe lambs you shall accept from my hand, in order that you may be a witness for me that I dug this well.’

26.19–22 But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herders of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac’s herders, saying, ‘The water is ours.’ So he called the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarrelled over that one also; so he called it Sitnah. He moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying, ‘Now Yahweh has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.’

21.31–33 Therefore that place was called Beer-sheba; because there both of them swore an oath. When they had made a covenant at Beer-sheba, Abimelech, with Phicol the commander of his army, left and returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the eternal El.

26.31–33 In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths; and Isaac set them on their way, and they departed from him in peace. That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well that they had dug, and said to him, ‘We have found water!’ He called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba to this day.