Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Genesis
Book: Genesis
Chapter: 20

Abraham's sojourn at Gerar, Sarah is taken By Abimelech. (1-8)
Abimelech's rebuke to Abraham. (9-13) Abimelech restores Sarah.

1-8 Crooked policy will not prosper: it brings ourselves and
others into danger. God gives Abimelech notice of his danger of
Sin, and his danger of Death for his Sin. Every wilful sinner is
a dead Man, but Abimelech pleads ignorance. If our consciences
Witness, that, however we may have been cheated into a Snare, we
have not knowingly sinned against God, it will be our rejoicing
in the Day of evil. It is matter of comfort to those who are
honest, that God knows their honesty, and will acknowledge it.
It is a great Mercy to be hindered from committing Sin; of this
God must have the Glory. But if we have ignorantly done wrong,
that will not excuse us, if we knowingly persist in it. He that
does wrong, whoever he is, Prince or peasant, shall certainly
receive for the wrong which he has done, unless he repent, and,
if possible, make restitution.

9-13 See here much to blame, even in the Father of the
Faithful. Mark his distrust of God, his undue care about Life,
his intent to deceive. He also threw Temptation in the way of
others, caused affliction to them, exposed himself and Sarah to
just rebukes, and yet attempted an excuse. These things are
written for our warning, not for us to imitate. Even Abraham
hath not whereof to Glory. He cannot be justified By his Works,
but must be indebted for Justification, to that Righteousness
which is upon all and unto all them that believe. We must not
condemn all as hypocrites who fall into Sin, if they do not
continue in it. But let the unhumbled and impenitent take heed
that they do not Sin On, thinking that Grace may abound.
Abimelech, being warned of God, takes the warning; and being
truly afraid of Sin and its consequences, he Rose early to
pursue the directions given him.

14-18 We often trouble ourselves, and even are led into
Temptation and Sin, By groundless suspicions; and find the fear
of God where we expected it not. Agreements to deceive generally
End in shame and sorrow; and restraints from Sin, though By
suffering, should be thankfully acknowledged. Though the Lord
rebuke, yet he will Pardon and deliver his people, and he will
give them favour in the sight of those with whom they sojourn;
and overrule their infirmities, when they are humbled for them,
So that they shall prove useful to themselves and others.