Genesis 12:11-13, Sarah the Sex Slave, Part I of III

As [Abraham] was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

//Here are the first recorded words spoken by Abraham to his wife. Complimentary, to be sure, but rather self-serving. It seems to be an unspoken assumption that if Sarah accompanies Abraham to Egypt, she will be taken into the “house” (harem) of the Pharaoh.

Sarah’s reply to Abraham goes unrecorded, but she plays along, pretending to be his sister. As expected, she is selected by the Pharaoh, and Abraham, her “brother,” is allowed to live.

We do not know what goes on inside the “house,” nor whether Sarah is content to be pampered in the palace as opposed to living in a tent with her husband, but apparently the two of them have hit on a satisfactory arrangement. How they planned to ever extricate themselves from the lie is anybody’s guess, and eventually God had to step in.

But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” –Genesis 12:17-19

Evicted, the two of them leave Egypt. But the ruse worked so well, they will try the trick again a few chapters later. (story continued tomorrow)

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