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Genesis 20:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken. For she is a man's wife.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou [art but] a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she [is] a man's wife.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou [art but] a dead man, on account of the woman whom thou hast taken: for she [is] a man's wife.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art [but] a dead man, because of the woman that thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then God went in unto Abimelech, in a dream of the night,—and said to him, Behold thee—dead! because of the woman whom thou hast taken, seeing that, she, is a married woman.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And God cometh in unto Abimelech in a dream of the night, and saith to him, 'Lo, thou [art] a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken—and she married to a husband.'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and he said to him: Lo thou shalt die for the woman that thou hast taken: for she hath a husband.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— But God came to Abimelech in a dreame by night, and said to him, Behold, thou [art but] a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken: for shee is a mans wife.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And God came to Abimelech by night in sleep, and said, Behold, thou diest for the woman, whom thou hast taken, whereas she has lived with a husband.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— But Elohim came to Avimelekh in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou [art but] a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she [is] a man's wife.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
But lhm אֱלֹהִים 430
{0430} Prime
אֱלֹהִים
'elohiym
{el-o-heem'}
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
came 935
{0935} Prime
בּוֹא
bow'
{bo}
A primitive root; to go or come (in a wide variety of applications).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
to x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
vmele אֲבִימֶלֶך 40
{0040} Prime
אֲבִימֶלֶךְ
'Abiymelek
{ab-ee-mel'-ek}
From H0001 and H4428; father of (the) king; Abimelek, the name of two Philistine kings and of two Israelites.
in a dream 2472
{2472} Prime
חֲלוֹם
chalowm
{khal-ome'}
From H2492; a dream.
by night, 3915
{3915} Prime
לַיִל
layil
{lah'-yil}
From the same as H3883; properly a twist (away of the light), that is, night; figuratively adversity.
and said 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
to him, Behold, x2009
(2009) Complement
הִנֵּה
hinneh
{hin-nay'}
Prolonged for H2005; lo!.
thou [art but] a dead man, 4191
{4191} Prime
מָמוֹת
muwth
{mooth}
A primitive root; to die (literally or figuratively); causatively to kill.
z8801
<8801> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 309
for x5921
(5921) Complement
עַל
`al
{al}
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
the woman 802
{0802} Prime
אִשָּׁה
'ishshah
{ish-shaw'}
The first form is the feminine of H0376 or H0582; the second form is an irregular plural; a woman (used in the same wide sense as H0582).
which x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
thou hast taken; 3947
{3947} Prime
לָקַח
laqach
{law-kakh'}
A primitive root; to take (in the widest variety of applications).
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
for she x1931
(1931) Complement
הוּא
huw'
{hoo}
The second form is the feminine beyond the Pentateuch; a primitive word, the third person pronoun singular, he (she or it); only expressed when emphatic or without a verb; also (intensively) self, or (especially with the article) the same; sometimes (as demonstrative) this or that; occasionally (instead of copula) as or are.
[is] a man's 1167
{1167} Prime
בַּעַל
ba`al
{bah'-al}
From H1166; a master; hence a husband, or (figuratively) owner (often used with another noun in modifications of this latter sense.
wife. 1166
{1166} Prime
בּעל
ba`al
{baw-al'}
A primitive root; to be master; hence (as denominative from H1167) to marry.
z8803
<8803> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Passive (See H8815)
Count - 1415
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Genesis 20:3

_ _ But God came to Abimelech in a dream — In early times a dream was often made the medium of communicating important truths; and this method was adopted for the preservation of Sarah.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Genesis 20:3-7

_ _ It appears by this that God revealed himself by dreams (which evidenced themselves to be divine and supernatural) not only to his servants the prophets, but even to those who were out of the pale of the church and covenant; but then, usually, it was with some regard to God's own people as in Pharaoh's dream, to Joseph, in Nebuchadnezzar's, to Daniel, and here, in Abimelech's, to Abraham and Sarah, for he reproved this king for their sake, Psalms 105:14, Psalms 105:15.

_ _ I. God gives him notice of his danger (Genesis 20:3), his danger of sin, telling him that the woman is a man's wife, so that if he take her he will wrong her husband; his danger of death for this sin: Thou art a dead man; and God's saying so of a man makes him so. Note, Every wilful sinner ought to be told that he is a dead man, as the condemned malefactor, and the patient whose disease is mortal, are said to be so. If thou art a bad man, certainly thou art a dead man.

_ _ II. He pleads ignorance that Abraham and Sarah had agreed to impose upon him, and not to let him know that they were any more than brother and sister, Genesis 20:6. See what confidence a man may have towards God when his heart condemns him not, 1 John 3:21. If our consciences witness to our integrity, and that, however we may have been cheated into a snare, we have not knowingly and wittingly sinned against God, it will be our rejoicing in the day of evil. He pleads with God as Abraham had done, Genesis 18:23. Wilt thou slay a righteous nation? Genesis 20:4. Not such a nation as Sodom, which was indeed justly destroyed, but a nation which, in this matter, was innocent.

_ _ III. God gives a very full answer to what he had said.

_ _ 1. He allows his plea, and admits that what he did he did in the integrity of his heart: Yea, I know it, Genesis 20:6. Note, It is matter of comfort to those that are honest that God knows their honesty, and will acknowledge it, though perhaps men that are prejudiced against them either cannot be convinced of it or will not own that they are.

_ _ 2. He lets him know that he was kept from proceeding in the sin merely by the good hand of God upon him: I withheld thee from sinning against me. Abimelech was hereby kept from doing wrong, Abraham from suffering wrong, and Sarah from both. Note, (1.) There is a great deal of sin devised and designed that is never executed. As bad as things are in the world, they are not so bad as the devil and wicked men would have them. (2.) It is God that restrains men from doing the ill they would do. It is not from him that there is sin, but it is from him that there is not more sin, either by his influence upon men's minds, checking their inclination to sin, or by his providence, taking away the opportunity to sin. (3.) It is a great mercy to be hindered from committing sin; of this God must have the glory, whoever is the instrument, 1 Samuel 25:32, 1 Samuel 25:33.

_ _ 3. He charges him to make restitution: Now therefore, not that thou art better informed, restore the man his wife, Genesis 20:7. Note, Ignorance will excuse no longer than it continues. If we have entered upon a wrong course through ignorance this will not excuse our knowingly persisting in it, Leviticus 5:3-5. The reasons why he must be just and kind to Abraham are, (1.) Because he is a prophet, near and dear to God, for whom God does in a particular manner concern himself. God highly resents the injuries done to his prophets, and takes them as done to himself. (2.) Being a prophet, he shall pray for thee; this is a prophet's reward, and a good reward it is. It is intimated that there was great efficacy in the prayers of a prophet, and that good men should be ready to help those with their prayers that stand in need of them, and should make, at least, this return for the kindnesses that are done them. Abraham was accessory to Abimelech's trouble, and therefore was obliged in justice to pray for him. (3.) It is at thy peril if thou do not restore her: Know thou that thou shalt surely die. Note, He that does wrong, whoever he is, prince or peasant, shall certainly receive for the wrong which he has done, unless he repent and make restitution, Colossians 3:25. No injustice can be made passable with God, no, not by Caesar's image stamped upon it.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Genesis 20:3

But God came to Abimelech in a dream — It appears by this that God revealed himself by dreams, which evidenced themselves to be divine and supernatural, not only to his servants the prophets, but even to those that were out of the pale of the church; but then usually it was with some regard to God's own people.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Genesis 20:3

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, (c) thou [art but] a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she [is] a man's wife.

(c) So greatly God detests the breach of marriage.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
a dream:

Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
Genesis 31:24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
Genesis 37:5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told [it] his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
Genesis 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
Genesis 40:8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and [there is] no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, [Do] not interpretations [belong] to God? tell me [them], I pray you.
Genesis 41:1-36 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. ... And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.
Job 4:12-13 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. ... In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,
Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 2:12-13 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. ... And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Matthew 27:19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

a dead:

Genesis 20:7 Now therefore restore the man [his] wife; for he [is] a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore [her] not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that [are] thine.
Psalms 105:14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;
Ezekiel 33:14-15 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; ... [If] the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

a man's wife:
Heb. married to an husband
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Gn 20:7; 28:12; 31:24; 37:5, 9; 40:8; 41:1. Jb 4:12; 33:15. Ps 105:14. Ezk 33:14. Jna 3:4. Mt 1:20; 2:12; 27:19.

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