Abraham moved his family away from the sight and smell of the devastated valley. They settled in the Philistine city of Gerar, where he told everyone that Sarah was his sister. Sarah could hardly believe what she heard. They hadn’t discussed this! After what happened last time, did they need to?
Didn’t he remember what had happened in Egypt? It had been a close call. She was older now, but what if the King of Gerar took her into his harem, like the Pharoah of Egypt had? Yes, God had rescued her and even blessed them in spite of everything, but would Abraham put God to the test again? And why did she have to be the guinea pig?
When they were alone, she said as much.
“Sarah,” Abraham sighed, “it will be fine.”
His nonchalance infuriated her. He could afford to act cool and unflappable. It was her future on the line. In contrast, she was the hysterical wife, and she hated this picture of herself. Sarah was far from satisfied, but the conversation was going nowhere, and she knew better than to keep pushing.
Abraham was glad she dropped the subject. He knew he had made a mistake, and he was scared, but then it was his cowardice that had tripped him up in the first place. He had put Sarah in danger — again — when he hadn’t meant to at all.
He did not like to think of himself as a coward. In many ways, he was quite brave. Hadn’t he come all the way out here from Haran on just a promise? Hadn’t he taken on five kings and their armies, with only a small band of allies? Hadn’t he risked his life to rescue his nephew Lot?
He was not a coward. No, not in many things. But he had an irrational fear, a foreboding almost, that someone might kill him to get at Sarah. Abraham was keenly aware of the power of her beauty. He felt it even now, after all these years. What man would not want to be near her, to possess her? This was his weak spot, and the words had come out of his mouth before he could think.
Did he feel badly that he had thrown his own wife under the caravan? Of course. But to admit that now could only make things worse. It was too late to change anything. He could only wait and hope that God would protect them. Anyway, it was possible he may have acted prematurely. She still dazzled him, but perhaps at ninety, Sarah was too old to attract the attention of rich and powerful rulers. Maybe they would have nothing to worry about.
God had promised them a son next year. The Lord had made it unmistakably clear that Sarah would be the mother. Surely the Lord would not give up so easily on them. They had come this far. But the possibility that he had he completely messed up God’s plan nagged at him. If God’s promise was contingent on his infallibility, they were sunk. Abraham suddenly felt very small.
What came before:
Up in Smoke | A Lot Can Happen in a Year
Note: Though I try to remain faithful to the events and characters as described in the Bible, I take some liberties where the Bible is silent, especially regarding what the characters might have thought or felt. I encourage you to read the original story to separate fact from fiction.