What does Genesis 20:12 mean?
ESV: Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.
NIV: Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife.
NASB: Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife;
CSB: Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.
NLT: And she really is my sister, for we both have the same father, but different mothers. And I married her.
KJV: And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
NKJV: But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
Verse Commentary:
Abraham continues to answer Abimelech's questions about why he lied about Sarah being his sister (Genesis 20:9). Now he reveals that it's not completely a lie. She is his half-sister, as well as being his wife. They share the same father and different mothers. Of course, even true statements, told with the intent to deceive and to disguise some other important truth, are still lies. Abraham was acting in fear for his own life, and he knew full well what he was doing.

Though God, in the Law of Moses, would later forbid marriage for those in that closeness of family, it was apparently not uncommon or disapproved of in Abraham's day. God never seems to have condemned Abraham or Sarah for it, either. In contrast, the relations between Lot and his daughters described in the previous chapter was apparently thought to be wrong both in Abraham's time and, later, under the Law of Moses.
Verse Context:
Genesis 20:1–18 describes what happens when Abraham once again moves to a new place and insists on lying that Sarah is merely his sister and not his wife. Abimelech, the king of Gerar, takes Sarah as one of his wives. He is soon struck with an illness and visited in a dream with a warning from God that he will die if he doesn't return Sarah to Abraham and if Abraham doesn't pray for him. Sarah is returned untouched, Abraham prays, and all are healed.
Chapter Summary:
Here, Abraham practically duplicates one of the oddest episodes in his earlier life. As he did with the Egyptians in Genesis chapter 12, Abraham moves through a new area and claims that Sarah is his sister. The king of Gerar, Abimelech, takes Sarah for one of his wives, but he is soon struck ill. God appears and tells Abimelech he will die for taking a married woman. Abimelech insists he did not know and has not slept with Sarah. The Lord says that if he returns her, and if Abraham prays for them, all will be healed.
Chapter Context:
After the dramatic events of the previous chapters, Abraham moves south of Gaza to Gerar. As he did in Egypt, he claims that his wife is his sister. The king of Gerar, Abimelech, takes Sarah as his wife, but is soon struck ill and never approaches her. The Lord offers to spare Abimelech and his household if he will return Sarah and if Abraham will pray for them. Sarah is returned. All are healed, including all the women who have been unable to bear children. In the following chapter, Sarah herself will finally bear Abraham a son—an outcome God safeguards through His actions in this chapter.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 6/16/2024 1:09:24 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com