Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.

Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.

These teaching notes are from a series of studies about the Book of Genesis

[These notes are from a study from 45 years ago.]

Genesis 20:1-7

And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

Abraham moves on. Maybe because of the pain of what had happened or possibly because new pasture lands were desired.

He moved south to a place between Kadesh and Shur. Kadesh (qāḏêš) and Shur (šūr) are in the southeast portion of Judea. Shur is mentioned in Genesis 16:7 as the pale where Hagar met the angel of the Lord. Abraham may have gone back to the same spot.

Abraham took his family to Gerar, several miles away, where he said that Sarah was his sister. He’s playing the old fear game again. Abraham is maturing, but still looks to the flesh at times.

Abimelech (’ăḇîmeleḵ) was king of Gerar. This is a name borne by five Old Testament persons. The name means “father of a king.” He must have heard about Sarah and sent for her and took her.

Quite a bit is at stake now. The Lord had promised that Sarah will have a son by Abraham, but Sarah has been taken by Abimelech to be a wife or concubine.

What follows is a demonstration of God’s intervention in human affairs to bring about His will and purpose. Even the flesh would not overrule God’s plans.

God appeared to Abimelech in a dream and told him that Sarah was married. God had kept hm from sexually using her, so she is not yet pregnant.

God called Abraham a prophet. I’m not sure whether God meant this title as one who proclaims truth and/or one who foretells the future. I believe Abraham is the first person called a prophet though other men proclaimed God’s message and told of future events (e.g. Noah).

Genesis 20:8-10

Therefore 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. Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?

Abimelech called an early morning meeting of his officials to tell them of what God had said to him in a dream. The officials were very afraid.

Then Abimelech called in Abraham and asked why he had done what he had done.

Genesis 20:11-13

And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake. And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

Abraham explained his reasoning. Here we discover that Sarah is Abraham’s half-sister. Both had the same father.

Abraham shows that he still didn’t fully trust God. From the very beginning he had told Sarah to tell strangers that they were brother and sister. Abraham still hasn’t gotten too far in that area of his life and walk with God.

Genesis 20:14-18

And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved. So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the Lord had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.

Abimelech brought Sarah back to Abraham with apologies. He gave Abraham sheep, cattle and slaves. He told them to live wherever they pleased and gave them about 25 pounds of silver.

Abraham prayed to God and God healed all the people. God had closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of what happened. This demonstrates the awesome power of God.

Through this story we learn much about the sovereignty of God. He controls life at its very source. He can actually allow or disallow children to anyone in the world.

Next Time

We will look at Genesis Chapter 21 in the next part of our special series.

[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from 45 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your life and ministry.]