Q. My husband and I made a new years resolution to read the bible together every day. We started with Genesis and we were wondering why Abraham kept denying that Sarah was his wife. I read a little bit further and Isaac denied that Rebekah was his wife. We were wondering why they would do this and thought maybe you could offer us some insight.
A. Both Abraham and Isaac lived in the times of Gentile Kings who favored beautiful women and had harems full of them. Because their laws forbade them from taking married women, they would have the husbands killed and take the women as widows. Abraham and Isaac both had beautiful wives and were afraid of being murdered. By claiming to be relatives they could at least remain alive to retrieve their wives if they were stolen. Neither man was totally untruthful by the way. They were both related to their wives. Sarah actually was Abraham’s half sister (they had different mothers) and Rebekah was Isaac’s niece, the grand daughter of his uncle Nahor.
It has always fascinated me that Sarah was 65 years old when taken into Pharaoh’s harem which was probably full of Egyptian teenagers and 20 somethings. I think God slowed the biological clock for Abraham and Sarah, perhaps to compensate for making them wait for their first child.