Sister wife

19 sister wife

From Mamre Oaks, Abraham set out toward the Negev. He and his wife settled in Gerar, between Kadesh and Shur. Since they were new to the area, Abraham feared for his life. Just as he did in Egypt, he told everyone, “Sarah’s my sister.”

Abimelech, King of Gerar, brought Sarah into his household to take as a wife, but God visited him in a dream.

“You’re going to die,” God said, “because Sarah is married already.”

Abimelech had not yet taken Sarah into his bed. Nevertheless, God had shut up the wombs of every female in Abimelech’s house. He reasoned with God, saying, “Master, will you punish the innocent? Both Abraham and Sarah lied to me. I had no idea they were married.”

“I know you’re innocent,” God answered in the dream, “and I alone prevented you from sin. Return Sarah to Abraham, because he’s a prophet. He’ll pray for you, and you’ll live. Otherwise, you and your family will all die.”

Abimelech got up early the next morning, and having not slept well, he brought his servants in for a meeting. Telling them about the vision, everyone was afraid for their lives. Then the king called Abraham and said, “What did I do to be treated so cruelly? You’ve sullied me and my domain. What were you thinking?”

Abraham confessed that he didn’t trust a kingdom who didn’t fear God. “Besides,” he added, “she actually is my half-sister. Sarah and I share the same father. When God called me out of our father’s house, we agreed that she would play the role of sister any time we settled in a new place.”

Abimelech brought Sarah back, along with sheep, oxen, slaves of both sexes, and a thousand silver pieces. He handed them all over to Abraham. He said, “Survey my land and settle wherever you like.” Then he turned to Sarah and said, “I have paid your brother with silver as a sign of your vindication.”

Abraham prayed to God, and as promised, Abimelech and his household were healed. The king’s wife and female slaves could bear children again.

Inspiration: Genesis 20

Fiery end

17 fiery end

The two visiting angels asked Lot, “What other family do you have in Sodom? Round everyone up and get out of here. We’re on a mission from God to annihilate the whole place.”

Lot ran to the houses of his future sons-in-law and warned them about what was about to happen. They thought he was joking and didn’t pay any attention to him.

The next morning, the angels jostled Lot from sleep and said, “Wake up! Take your wife and daughters and go, unless you want to die with the wicked.”

Lot was moving too slowly, and his wife was frantic, trying to pack everything they owned.

“There’s no time for any of this!” the angels beckoned. “It’s now or never.”

The angels literally took Lot and his immediate family by the wrists and forced them out of the city. “Now, run for your lives and don’t look back,” they warned. Don’t stop anywhere in the plains. Run to the hill country or you’ll be swept into oblivion.”

Lot argued, “Please, masters, you’ve shown favorable kindness by saving me and my family, but I can’t go to the hills. I wouldn’t survive a week in the wild.” Lot motioned over to the other side of Gomorrah and said, “Look, that small town is close enough to escape God’s wrath.”

“Fine,” one of the angels answered. “I’ll spare that small area for your sake, but hurry. I can’t bring down fire until you get there.”

Lot, his wife, and his daughters arrived at Bela by daybreak. (Afterward, this town was renamed Zoar, or “Little.”)

As fire rained from the sky over Sodom, Gomorrah, and the rest of the plains, Lot’s wife, who was straggling, turned to look at the devastation behind them. At that moment, her body was turned to a salt mound.

Meanwhile that morning, Abraham exited his tent at Mamre Oaks and stood where he and the Master had spoken before. Looking out to the southeast, he saw smoke rising like a smoldering fire pit from Jordan’s plains.

Inspiration: Genesis 19

Dragon’s deception

02 dragons deception

The serpentine dragon cradled its head on the bough of  the Knowledge Tree and reasoned with Eve. “You look hungry. I heard you aren’t allowed to eat from any of Eden’s varieties. Is this a joke?”

Eve bristled. “We can eat anything except for Knowledge.” She pointed to the tree from which the forbidden fruit and the dragon’s tail dangled. “We can’t even touch that one or we’ll die.”

The dragon laughed. “Do I look dead?” He dropped to the ground and slithered toward her. “Don’t you want to know good from evil? That’s what happens when you eat from Knowledge. You become just like a god.”

Eve regarded the ample fruit sagging from the lowest limb. It looked vexingly desirable to eat.

“God knows that Knowledge makes you just like him.” The dragon’s voice trailed off as he slithered away. “God lied to you, friend.”

The woman plucked the fibrous orb and its limb snapped back. No sooner had she and Adam bit into it that each noticed the other was naked. Hastily sewing fig leaves together, they fashioned clothes to cover themselves.

God came to visit in the garden that evening, but Adam and Eve hid from him.

“Where are you?” God asked.

Adam answered, “I was naked and afraid, so I hid.”

“How’d you know you were naked unless you took from the Knowledge Tree?”

Adam admitted his disobedience but blamed his wife, saying, “I was content with figs.” Eve, her face downcast, blamed the dragon who happened to be slinking along the path at that moment.

God seized the dragon by its throat and said, “You’re cursed to crawl and eat dirt from this day forward! Humankind will despise you, and although you’ll strike him, he’ll eventually crush you.”

God turned to Eve and said, “Now that your eyes are open to good and evil, you’ll feel pain during childbirth. You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll dominate you.” To Adam he said, “The ground itself is cursed since its simple provisions didn’t satisfy your lusts. You’ll bleed, sweat, and cry for your bread, ever wanting more, until you return to the dirt from whence you came.”

God’s countenance then softened. He brought out animal skins for them to wear, to shield them from the unforgiving elements that would soon befall them.

God’s beloved children had just experienced a most unfathomable blow. For their safety, he removed Adam and Eve from the vicinity of the Life Tree. If consumed straight from the branch, it would have caused them to live in misery for eternity. For extra measure, he stationed a host of armed spiritual guardians to block the way to Life near the east of Eden.

As the exiled family fled from the lush country, dejected and estranged, the dragon, having already consumed Knowledge and Life, followed closely by the light of a fallen moon.

Inspiration: Genesis 3