To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.”
I was just setting out to write a devotional about the way Abimelech, even after being humiliated by Abraham and Sarah, responds so graciously here, but then I noticed that he refers to Abraham as ‘your brother’ rather than ‘your husband,’ which seems intentionally sarcastic, even irreverent. Maybe Abraham’s little excuse-session didn’t move him. But put yourself in his sandals here. You’re a pagan king in the ancient world and you’re used to getting what you want. But then, this old foreigner comes to town, benefits from your benevolence, and makes a mockery of you! No doubt the only thing that stays Abimelech’s hand here—the same thing that stayed Pharaoh’s hand back in Genesis 12—is fear of God’s retribution. Had God not stepped in yet again to rescue Abraham, we’d be reading a very different story right now.
I wonder, Christian: how different might your own story read today had God not continually intervened in your life? You know what—scratch that. That’s too scary a thought!