Old Testament

The Pentateuch

Did this ruse work?

At first it did. The Pharaoh did not know that Sarah was already married and took her as his wife, but soon afterwards God afflicted the Egyptians with plagues. Bewildered, Pharaoh summoned Abraham: “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife?” (NRSV, Genesis 12:19) Without further ado, Pharaoh sent Abraham and his entire household away.

Abraham tried the she’s-my-sister bit again sometime later when they settled in Gerar. Abimilech, the king of Gerar, took Sarah as his own. God warned Abimilech in a dream that if he made Sarah his wife, he and his family would die. Bewildered and frightened by God’s message, Abimilech sent Sarah back to Abraham.


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