Genesis 20:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 20:10, NIV: And Abimelek asked Abraham, 'What was your reason for doing this?'

Genesis 20:10, ESV: And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?”

Genesis 20:10, KJV: And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?

Genesis 20:10, NASB: And Abimelech said to Abraham, 'What have you encountered, that you have done this thing?'

Genesis 20:10, NLT: Whatever possessed you to do such a thing?'

Genesis 20:10, CSB: Abimelech also asked Abraham, "What made you do this? "

What does Genesis 20:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abraham's actions put the king and his family at risk—they were stricken with disease and barrenness (Genesis 20:17–18) until God confronted Abimelech in a dream (Genesis 20:3). At that point, Abimelech appealed to his good intentions, and that he had not yet touched Sarah. In the prior verse, Abimelech had demanded to know why Abraham had acted so inappropriately, by lying and allowing this risk to fall on his family.

After beginning with an angry series of confrontational questions in the previous verse, Abimelech's question here seems more pointed. He genuinely wants to know why Abraham lied and said that Sarah was his sister. More specifically, Abimelech asks what Abraham has seen or encountered that would motivate this kind of deception. Abimelech honestly doesn't get it. In light of all of God's goodness to Abraham, his answer in the following verses will not be very satisfying to us either, though it will sound very human.