Why Did Abraham Lie to Pharaoh? (Genesis 12:13)

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Like Abraham, I too am blessed with a beautiful wife. 

I recognize on a daily basis that I’m punching far above my weight. I recognize it, and I think God for it, so I can see where Abraham was coming from here in Genesis 12.

I get why he wanted Sarah to lie to the Egyptians. They most likely had no compunction against killing a foreigner in order to secure what they thought was a highly esteemed prize.

But should he have done it? Absolutely not.

Abraham was Paranoid

It’s ironic to me that a man who demonstrated such great faith in regards to leaving Ur would not have shown a similar amount of faith in this situation.

After all, one of the three promises that God made to Abraham was that he would have a son; did he not think that God would keep the vessel of that promise safe? 

(I recognize Sarah is more than a “vessel,” but I’m trying to prove a point here).

Moreover, since the reason he was worried in the first place had to do with his own safety, did he not think that God would protect him?

The fact that he decided to lie in order to protect himself is a massive step in the wrong direction, no matter how “understandable” it might have been in the moment.

Why Did God Punish Pharoah?

One of the main questions I’ve always had with this story comes from Genesis 12:17. There, the Bible says that God smote Pharaoh with a plague because he had the gall to take a woman he thought was available.

Why punish Pharaoh for Abraham’s sins? 

The only explanation that I’ve found remotely satisfying is that God used the plagues to “get Pharaoh’s attention.” 

That’s possible, but when you fast forward to Genesis 20 and Abraham makes the exact same error, this time with Abimelech, there’s no punishment for Abimelech.

What might’ve happened is that there was some kind of sin involved with Pharaoh’s taking of Sarah that didn’t happen with Abimelech. 

In Genesis 20:4, God tells Abimelech that he’s going to die for taking Sarah, to which he objects, saying that he “never touched her.” God concurs, saying that he took Sarah with a clear conscience.

Did something else happen with Pharaoh that we don’t know about? Let me know what you think by emailing me at brady@coffeeandaBible.com!