Genesis 20:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 20:16, NIV: "To Sarah he said, 'I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.'"

Genesis 20:16, ESV: "To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.”"

Genesis 20:16, KJV: "And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved."

Genesis 20:16, NASB: "To Sarah he said, 'Look, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is your vindication before all who are with you, and before everyone you are cleared.'"

Genesis 20:16, NLT: "And he said to Sarah, 'Look, I am giving your 'brother' 1,000 pieces of silver in the presence of all these witnesses. This is to compensate you for any wrong I may have done to you. This will settle any claim against me, and your reputation is cleared.'"

Genesis 20:16, CSB: "And he said to Sarah, "Look, I am giving your brother one thousand pieces of silver. It is a verification of your honor to all who are with you. You are fully vindicated.""

What does Genesis 20:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Years earlier, the Lord had promised to unconditionally bless Abraham. He continues to do so here. Even when Abraham appears to act dishonorably in fear and faithlessness, God blesses him in it. It happened after Abraham's lie about Sarah being his sister in Egypt, and it happens again here.

King Abimelech, eager to be healed and show himself obedient to Abraham's God, has returned Sarah, untouched (Genesis 20:4), to Abraham along with great gifts: herds, cattle, servants, and the choice of any land in the kingdom for a homestead (Genesis 20:15). Now the king goes even further, blessing Abraham and Sarah in two more ways.

First, Abimelech gives Abraham a thousand pieces of silver. That's a lot of money in this era, far beyond the normal price for a bride. Abimelech's stated reason for doing so is the second blessing: It is meant as a sign of Sarah's innocence in this matter. Somehow, this large sum of silver was meant to protect Sarah's reputation, to tell everyone that she had not been compromised while in Abimelech's household.

Notice that while telling this to Sarah, he still calls Abraham her "brother" and not her husband. Since that was the half-truth, half-lie used by Abraham, Abimelech might mean that statement as a not-so-subtle sign of his continued displeasure with fearful Abraham.