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Monday, September 3 2018
A Bible Journey, 20: My Sister Sarah
"She is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife"
Abraham (see A Bible Journey, 17: A Father Of Many Nations) witnessed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, "those cities, and all the plain," from the nearby hill country (see A Bible Journey, 19: Why Did Jesus Christ Rain Fire and Brimstone On Sodom?). Lot (see A Bible Journey, 13: How Lot Became A Sodomite), and what remained of his family (see Why Did Lot's Wife Look Back?), had escaped to the east, to a town called Zoar.
"19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
Although Hebron, where Abraham settled, was not directly damaged, it was close enough to experience the effects (smoke and ash) until the fires cleared i.e. "the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace." So Abraham moved, temporarily (the LORD had promised him about the ownership of the land; see A Bible Journey, 15: The Exodus Prophecies) toward the Negev (which means south; see The Negev Of Israel): "Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar."
"20:1 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar." (Genesis 20:1 KJV)
As a means (as we will read, Abraham didn't lie about Sarah being his sister) to keep the Philistines from murdering him, "Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister." Abraham was a righteous man who would not have participated in, or accommodated, an act of adultery. As stated, he expected to be there only for a short time, but "Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah" almost immediately.
"20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah." (Genesis 20:2 KJV)
The LORD (see The Real Jesus: The Word Of The LORD God) intervened before anyone could commit a sin.
"20:3 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." (Genesis 20:3 KJV)
Although Abimelech was yet innocent, he wouldn't have been for much longer if the LORD hadn't made him aware.
"20:4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?
Notice that the commandment against adultery already existed, centuries before the Israelites received them at Mount Sinai (see also The Two Sides Of The Ten Commandments and Why Were The Ten Commandments Kept In Moses' Tent?), and that God's Law applied to everyone, as stated to a Philistine king: "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."
"20:6 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.
Abimelech then confronted Abraham.
"20:8 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.
Abraham's explanation was honest and pragmatic: he did what he did because Abimelech had a "law of the jungle" kingdom ("they will slay me for my wife's sake") and Sarah was in fact his sister ("she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife").
"20:11 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.
Realizing how fortunate he was not to have lost everything from the wrath of the LORD, Abimelech then gave Abraham a peace offering.
"20:14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.
Note how quickly that Abimelech would have committed adultery with Sarah, thereby threatening the promised "seed" of Abraham through Sarah. In effect, the LORD had put Abimelech's entire family group into reproductive lockdown while the threat was active.
"20:17 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
This Day In History, September 3
36 BC: The Battle of Naulochus. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a naval commander of Octavian (Octavian later became known as Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor who declared the census that caused the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem i.e. Luke 2:1 - see The Roman Emperors: Augustus), defeated Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompey (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars), thereby ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate (see The Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar; also The Founding Of Rome: The Curious Tale Of Romulus and Remus.
301: San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world's oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Marinus.
1189: Richard I (Richard the Lion-Heart) was crowned king of England.
1260: The Battle of Ayn Jalut, a decisive victory of the Mamluks of Egypt over the invading Mongols, which saved Egypt and Islam and prevented the western expansion of the Mongol empire.
1650: The Battle of Dunbar during the Third English Civil War. English Parliamentarian forces led by Oliver Cromwell defeated the forces loyal to King Charles II.
1658: Oliver Cromwell, "lord protector" of England, died at age 59.
1752: Britain and the New England colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar (named after Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII - see Pope Gregory's Calendar), replacing the less accurate Julian calendar (named after Julius Caesar). To implement the new calendar, 11 days were officially omitted that year i.e. September 2 was followed by September 14. Some people rioted, accusing the government of stealing 11 days of life from them.
1783: The Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the revolution of some of the people (only a violent, liberal minority of the population were rebels) of the New England colonies that had been built in the wilderness nearly two centuries earlier by English pioneers and investment. Faced with political persecution and confiscation of their property, 40% of the population left for England, or Canada where they became known as United Empire Loyalists.
The United Empire Loyalists were conservatives (honest, hard-working, successful people of all walks of life i.e. farmers, merchants, tradesmen, educators) who moved to Canada from the New England colonies because they saw no need for a rebellion and were brutally persecuted by rebel forces. Totaling about 40% of the population of the New England colonies, they were later known as United Empire Loyalists.
When the U.S. invaded Canada a few years later, in the War of 1812 (1812-1814), United Empire Loyalists and their adult children and grandchildren served among the British Army and Canadian militias that successfully defended Canada from U.S. annexation (the publicly-stated goal of U.S. President James Madison when he started the war).
A plaque in Hamilton, Ontario (as well as many others across Canada) commemorates the United Empire Loyalists:
"This monument is dedicated to the lasting memory of
1855: During the genocide of native Americans by white Europeans, 700 U.S. troops under General William S. Harney massacred 100 Sioux men, women and children in their village in Nebraska - one of many such slaughters during "the Indian wars" (the "Indians" actually originated in Asia, primarily China; see The First Chinese American War and their migration route below).
1939: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and India declared war on Germany in response to Adolf Hitler's invasion of Poland 2 days earlier. The beginning of the Second World War in Europe (see also Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?).
1943: During the Second World War (1939-1945; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), Italy surrendered to invading Allied forces in a secret armistice, but German forces continued fighting in Italy.
1944: British troops liberated Brussels.
1969: Ho Chi Minh (real name Nguyen Tat Thanh), president of North Vietnam during most of the Vietnam War (a civil war caused by foreigners who divided the ancient single nation of Vietnam into two artificial countries - before it was reunited in the present day), died at age 79.
1976: Viking 2 landed on Mars.
1978: Albino Luciani was coronated as Pope John Paul I. He died only 34 days later, some say under mysterious circumstances, at age 66. He was succeeded by Polish-born Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, 58, who took the name Pope John Paul II - the first non-Italian Catholic pope in 450 years.
1987: Burundi President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was deposed in a coup d'état led by Major Pierre Buyoya.
1994: Russia and China agreed to no longer target nuclear weapons on each other (see also Who Would Throw A Nuclear Boomerang?).
1999: An 87-automobile pile-up occurred on the Highway 401 freeway near Windsor, Ontario, Canada after an unusually thick fog from Lake St. Clair blanketed the area. It was one of the worst traffic accidents in Canadian history; 7 people were killed and 62 injured.