Genesis 12:13

Hebrew Bible

11 As he approached Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, I know that you are a beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will keep you alive. 13 So tell them you are my sister so that it may go well for me because of you and my life will be spared on account of you.” 14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 When Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. So Abram’s wife was taken into the household of Pharaoh, 16 and he did treat Abram well on account of her. Abram received sheep and cattle, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.

Jubilees 13:11


10 And he removed from thence and went towards the south, and he came to Hebron and Hebron was built at that time, and he dwelt there two years, and he went (thence) into the land of the south, to Bealoth, and there was a famine in the land. 11 And Abram went into Egypt in the third year of the week, and he dwelt in Egypt five years before his wife was torn away from him. 12 Now Tanais in Egypt was at that time built- seven years after Hebron. 13 And it came to pass when Pharaoh seized Sarai, the wife of Abram that the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.

 Notes and References

"... This journey to Egypt certainly troubled interpreters. For one thing, as the couple was preparing to cross the Egyptian border, Abraham instructed the beautiful Sarah to tell the Egyptians that she was his sister rather than his wife, lest they kill him in order to take her for themselves. "Say you are my sister," he says, "so that it may go well with me because of you, and so that my life may be spared on your account" (Genesis 12:13). These hardly sounded like heroic words! To make matters worse, the Bible records that Sarah acted on Abraham's advice and that, as a result, she was taken by Pharaoh to his palace for an unspecified period of time ... Interpreters were understandably disturbed by Abraham's apparent cowardice and subsequent silence ... Many ancient writers, in retelling the story, thus felt entitled to add in what the story had somehow left out, an account of Abraham's deep distress at these events ..."

Kugel, James L. The Bible as it Was (p. 143) Harvard University Press, 1998

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