Abraham goes to Gerar and Calls Sarah his Sister (20:1-2)
The Philistines are a type of religious flesh; i.e. the tendency within each one of us to carry on an outward form of godliness, while denying the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5). They had migrated from Egypt (a type of the world) to Canaan without crossing the Red Sea (a type of the death of Christ). They were those who occupied the place of blessing, but had no right to it.Gerar was like the border of Egypt, and dwelling there is a picture of world-bordering; i.e. living as close as we can to the world without being in it. The path of communion is a blessed path, but often we weary of it, because “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41), and “all flesh is grass” (Isa. 40:6). Perhaps Abraham grew restless, and wanted to see some new country. Perhaps he was troubled by the recent judgments in Canaan. Yet we read of no word from the Lord for him to move. Note that Gerar is the same place where Isaac later dwelt, had his own failures, and had conflict the Philistines (Gen. 26).
God Appears to Abimelech (20:3-8)
Abimelech reproaches Abraham (20:9-16)
Abraham prays for Abimelech (20:17-18)
- The kings of the Philistines were called “Abimelech”, a title meaning “my father is king”. At some points, the kings of Israel were named after this title, and it was not to their credit.
- Rav Chisda. Talmud: Baba Metzia. 87a
- What a veil Abraham had been to his poor wife! He had better buy a veil for her with the thousand pieces of silver. It was a keenly cutting condemnation — a rebuke no doubt addressed to Sarah, but how it must have touched Abraham to the quick! – Kelly, William. Lectures Introductory to the Pentateuch.