The Book of Genesis

Chapter Twenty

Abraham the Coward

Lesson Verse: Prov 29:25    


I.         Lesson Introduction

II.       Lesson


A.      Abraham’s Travel’s - Gerar (Gen 20:1)


1.        Abraham has travelled south from Hebron after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

2.        Gerar is in the southwestern area of Canaan

3.        This city will be visited by Isaac in Gen 26


B.       Abraham’s Fears (Gen 20:2-7)


1.        It has been almost 14 years since Abraham has had to deal with fear

2.        He has forgotten what happened back when he travelled into Egypt in Gen 12:13-20


3.        Back then he feared a lot of things

a.       The famine

b.       Not knowing what to do

c.       The Egyptians


4.        Now he is afraid of the Canaanites

5.        What is so interesting about Abraham’s fear is that he definitely knew about this problem in him, that he had his wife promise to cover that fear with her life!

6.        Abraham lets it be known that Sarah is just his sister

7.        Abimelech


a.       Two words

b.       Abi – Father

c.       Melech, Molech – King

d.       My Father, the King

e.       Title, like Pharaoh, and Ceasar, Tsar, Kiser, etc


8.        Abimelech falls in love with Sarah


a.       She is at this point 88 years old!

b.       She must have been beautiful

c.       She must have been godly (Ps 29:2)

d.       She must have been very different than the Canaanites


1)       Lighter complexion

2)       Meek, and humble


e.       Abimelech just takes Sarah – that’s what men do when they seem something beautiful


1)       That’s why it is wrong for a single Christian woman to doll herself up

2)       Any normal man would think that she is for the “taking” and will try and “get” her

3)       A godly woman will be beautiful to everyone anyway – just don’t advertise!


9.        God stops Abimelech


a.       By a serious dream


1)       God spoke to kings and those in authority through dreams


a)       Pharaoh (Gen 41)

b)       Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2 and 4)

c)       Solomon (1Kgs 3)

d)       The wise men (Mt 2)

e)       Even when those kings were wicked!


2)       Dreams are usually the result of


a)       Too much business (Eccl 5:3)

b)       Overeating (Jude 8) – gluttons


b.       Warns Abimelech


1)       You are a dead man if you keep going without fear of Me

2)       The woman you have is another man’s wife!       


a)       You better make sure what you are doing is clear

b)       That’s why it is right for a marriage to be checked on


(i)       Are you both legally single

(ii)     Are you both of age

(iii)    Do you have the permission of parents

(iv)   Etc


3)       Abimelech reasons with God


a)       I am a righteous man in this matter

b)       I am only acting on what she said


4)       God knows, but wanted to make His point


a)       Abimelech had integrity in his heart

b)       God honours that – even among the unsaved

c)       God held Abimelech back from sinning


(i)       Thank God for His RESTRAINING Grace

(ii)     Spiritual Laws – You reap what you sow

(iii)    Pray that God helps you stay out of trouble


5)       The final decision is up to Abimelech – FREE-WILL (20:7)


a)        “If thou restore her not…”

b)       You shalt surely die – see again Gen 2:17


C.       Abraham’s Shame (Gen 20:8-13)


1.        Abimelech does not delay to act

2.        Calls Abraham

3.        Rebukes Abraham

4.        Abraham confesses


a.       Thinks that all heathen are without God

b.       Thinks that everyone will want to take his wife from him

c.       Justifies his statement


1)       Sarah IS his sister

2)       His HALF-sister


d.       Ever since I began to follow God, I asked my wife to protect me with this half-lie


D.      Abraham’s Effect (Gen 20:14-18)


1.        Evidently Abimelech accepts the explanation

2.        Blesses Abraham with animals, and free passage


a.       Not because Abraham EARNED it

b.       But because Abraham was God’s Man (20:7)


3.        Sarah is rebuked by Abimelech (20:16)


a.       Abraham has the responsibility to be the covering of the eyes of all around you

b.       Nobody should be mistaken about your beauty any longer

c.       You are a man’s wife

d.       Abraham has enough money now to make sure your beauty is not so easily seen

e.       Therefore, the real beauty of a woman should only been seen by her husband

f.        Thus was SARAH rebuked – for not being


1)       More discreet

2)       More honest


4.        Abraham prays for the household of Abimelech so that they could have children again


a.       God had closed up the wombs of the women while Sarah was in Abimelech’s custody

b.       God’s man has the power to pray and get answers to prayer


5.        Abimelech, and all of the people of the area now knew:


a.       Abraham was a prophet of God

b.       Abraham was a man to be feared

c.       That Abraham’s God was to be feared


III.     Applications

IV.    Study Questions