Genesis chapter 20

Abraham’s second sojourn in Gerar

Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he was living in Gerar as an alien, Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

Abraham’s deception of Abimelech

While in Gerar, Abraham once again deceives Abimelech about his wife Sarah. Abraham tells Abimelech that Sarah is his sister, when in fact she is his wife (Genesis 20:1-6). As a result, Abimelech takes Sarah into his harem and she becomes one of his wives.

When God reveals to Abimelech what Abraham has done, he is enraged and demands that Abraham return Sarah to him immediately. He also reprimands Abraham for deceiving him and says that he could have been put to death because of it (Genesis 20:7-8).

Despite this reprimand, Abimelech still rewards Abraham handsomely for his honesty in telling the truth about Sarah once he found out she was actually Abraham’s wife and not his sister (Genesis 20:9-16).

The birth of Isaac

At the time appointed by God, Abraham and Sarah returned from Egypt to the land of Canaan, where they settled in the town of Gerar.

It was there that Abraham’s faith was tested once again. He had another son, Isaac, by Sarah. But when Isaac was just a baby, the king of Gerar, Abimelech, took Sarah for his own wife.

When Abraham protested, Abimelech claimed that he had not been told that Sarah was Abraham’s wife. He promised to give Sarah back and also to compensate Abraham for any wrong that he might have done.

Once again Abraham’s faith had been vindicated. And once again he had been blessed with a son in his old age.

The expulsion of Ishmael

Ishmael was born to Abraham and his servant Hagar. When Ishmael was thirteen years old, Abraham held a feast in celebration of Isaac’s weaning. Ishmael and his mother were both excluded from the feast, and Ishmael began to mock Isaac. Sarah became angered and demanded that Abraham cast out Ishmael and his mother. Abraham was reluctant, but God told him to do as Sarah demanded. Abraham sent them away with food and water, and they wandered in the wilderness until Ishmael’s mother ran out of water.

Ishmael mocks Isaac

Ishmael mocks Isaac
Ishmael was Abraham’s firstborn son, but Isaac was Abraham’s heir. One day, when Isaac was a boy, Ishmael and some other boys were playing near a well. They saw Isaac and began to make fun of him. They laughed at him and said, “You will never be as great as our father Abraham!”

Ishmael was jealous of Isaac because Isaac was Abraham’s heir. But God had promised that Ishmael would also be a great nation.

One day, when Isaac was grown up and married, Abraham had a great feast to celebrate the occasion. Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, were not invited. When they saw all the food and heard the laughter coming from the feast, they felt left out and excluded. So they went away into the wilderness.

Abraham’s sorrow for Ishmael

Abraham was deeply grieved at being obliged to cast out Ishmael; but God comforted him, assuring him that he would still have a special care for the lad, and make of him a great nation; for he was the son of promise.

The promise to Ishmael

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”

Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; for I am God.”

And God said to Abraham: “As for Sarai your wife, she shall not be called Sarai anymore but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her ,and acquaintance her with great fruit . . . In Isaac your seed shall exist; through him My covenant SHALL BE ESTABLISHED WITH YOUR DESCENDANTS.”

The destruction of Sodom

The angels’ visit to Sodom

The two angels arrived in Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called out to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can rape them!”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under my protection.”

Lot’s rescue from Sodom

Lot and his family were living in Sodom when the angels came to rescue him. The angels warned him to leave immediately, but Lot’s wife hesitated. She looked back at the city and was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his daughters fled to a cave in the mountains and were safe from the destruction of Sodom.

Sodom’s destruction

The destruction of Sodom is one of the most infamous events in the Bible. The city, along with its sister city Gomorrah, was destroyed by God because of the sinfulness of its inhabitants. The exact nature of the sin is not specified in the Bible, but it is generally assumed to be sexual in nature. This event has been interpreted in a number of ways by Christians over the centuries. Some have seen it as a warning against sexual promiscuity, while others have interpreted it as a condemnation of homosexuality. Whatever the case may be, the destruction of Sodom is a powerful story that continues to resonate with people today.

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