Pimping Patriarch

WS

As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” (Genesis 12:11-13)

The Bible says that Abraham was counted righteous because he believed God, not because he was a Miss Manners poster child. Good thing too, because ol’ Abe was capable of conniving that could curl your cadenza. He could be a real boil in Beulah land.

So Abe finds himself about to set foot in Egypt. To save his keister, he passes Sarah off to Pharaoh as his sister. Pharaoh will get himself a concubine and a roll in the hay, and Abe will get an extension on his lease. Unfortunately, it’s not such a good deal for Pharaoh; God afflicts him with some big time diseases. And how do you think the lovely Sarah felt about her husband’s great idea? Talk about your ancient, middle eastern jerkness. But what the hell, Abraham’s a patriarch, right? He’s got privileges.

What a dweeb. Abraham is the guy who’s just gotten the equivalent of an unlimited credit rating from Deity Incorporated and a parsonage with a backyard something like the Louisiana Purchase. He’s got sheep and slaves and his own access to the OmnipoNet. Most of all, he’s got a foxy wife to die for. But does he get it? Nope. Abe trades her skirts for his skin. I guess faith didn’t travel well back then.

The thing that really clinches it is that later, after finalizing his covenant with God, lunching with The Big Three, and even witnessing the deep-frying of Sodom and Gomorrah—in short, being knighted the Bill Gates of Goshen—after all these pledges of preferential providential protection, our guy Abraham goes and does the same exact thing again! This time he passes Sarah off to King Abimelech. However, because Abimelech is innocent in the matter, God gives the dupe a break and warns him not to touch Sarah. But then—and get this—God tells Abimelech (who is squeaky clean) that Abraham will need to pray for him so he won’t die! Not only that, but Abimelech ends up giving Abraham more sheep and cattle and slaves! He also gives Sarah a thousand shekels of silver for her trouble. I bet Abraham never even bought her a box of chocolates.

Makes you wonder why old Abe only used the scam twice. All I can say is Abraham’s lucky he wasn’t married to any of the women I know or circumcision would have been performed on him up to his armpits. But did any of this change God’s mind about Abraham? Nope. God knew he was a schlep from the get-go. We just didn’t find out until much later.

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