When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.
Comment: This is very much a summary to give us a few facts but behind it all there is much which we can only guess about. Harems and concubines were the practice of the important, powerful and the rich You will/may remember that Abram told a half (incomplete) truth to save his life when he went to Egypt to escape the severe famine in Canaan. He suspected that Pharaoh would be attracted to his beautiful wife so he announced her as his sister (she was a close relative!). We are not told what Pharaoh did with Sarai but God stirred the pot, Pharaoh worked out that Abram had misled him and called him in for an interview. I’m a bit surprised that Pharaoh didn’t have Abram killed. Abram was an important man and had an army of his own. At any rate Pharaoh tells Abram to leave Egypt, gives his wife back to him and Abram escapes with his sizeable wealth and heads back to Canaan. What a messy story, but if Abram hadn’t announced Sarai as his sister would he have been killed? We often have to just accept what life brings but it surely helps if we have a confidence that God is in control.
Prayer: Help me to work through the whole issue of situational ethics and honour You in my behaviour.