It seems like Abraham can never stay put in one place.
Although the Bible doesn’t specifically mention why Abraham was constantly on the move, the answer would have been apparent to anybody in that era.
As a shepherd with a huge amount of flock to tend to, it would have been necessary to constantly be in search of fresh water and land for his animals.
When he arrives in the land of Gerar, we can see that Abraham is harboring the same worries he had when he ran off to Egypt due to a famine.
He fears that his wife’s (now 90 years old) beauty will incite the jealousy of the ruling King Abimelech in that area and he will end up being killed.
Before moving on, let’s take a quick look at the etymology behind the name “Abimelech“.
Abi is another form of the word “Abba” which means “father” in Hebrew.
“Melech” means king.
So “Abimelech” means my “My Father is King“.
Abimelech is a fairly common name in Scripture which will come up again referring to a different individual.
So history repeats itself as Abraham lies again by informing King Abimelech that Sarah is his sister.
Thinking that all is well, Abimelech brings Sarah into his household to make her his wife.
However, he doesn’t get very far.
The God of Israel appears to Abimelech in a dream and makes it very clear that if he so much as lays a hand on Abraham’s wife, he and all his household will be as good as dead.
Abimelech defends himself saying that he acted on what Abraham told him.
God replies “I know and that is why I kept you from touching her.”
God commands Abimelech to return Sarah back to Abraham and in return Abraham will pray for him.
As a result Abimelech and all his household will be healed “for the Lord had shut up every womb in the house of Abimelech“.
There is much spiritual insight to be gleaned from this episode.
First, although it is a common notion that God only speaks to believers, here we see that when the situation warrants it, God can and will speak to the heathen.
Second, God is in control of everyone and everything and while He has basically given all human beings free will, He can and will override the free will of men in certain situations.
Third, in verse 4, when speaking to God, Abimelech addresses Him as “My Lord”.
I know I’ve been harping on the fact that normally when we see the words “Lord“, “God” or “Adonai” in our bibles, 99% of the time the original Hebrew is YHVH.
However, here we have an exception.
In this case, the original Hebrew is actually “Adonai” and NOT “Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh“.
Abimelech knew he was talking to some type of god but he didn’t know which one.
So he simply addressed him as “My adonai“.
Fourth, this is the first scriptural instance of God having one of His servants intercede via prayer for somebody else.
Now that this pattern has been established with Abraham, we will see it repeated again through Moses and then ultimately through Yeshua, as He is called our ultimate intercessor before the Father.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Messiah Yeshua who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”-Romans 8:34