What does Genesis 20:17 mean?
ESV: Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children.
NIV: Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again,
NASB: Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his female slaves, so that they gave birth to children.
CSB: Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female slaves so that they could bear children,
NLT: Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants, so they could have children.
KJV: So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bore children.
NKJV: So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children;
Verse Commentary:
Abraham's earlier lie had caused king Abimelech to take Sarah as a wife, not realizing she was actually married to Abraham (Genesis 20:2–3). After being confronted by God and stricken with an illness, king Abimelech returned Sarah to Abraham, untouched, along with gifts of herds, cattle, servants, choice land, and a great amount of silver (Genesis 20:16). In return, Abraham fulfilled his obligation. He prayed to God for Abimelech's healing. God healed Abimelech, as well as returning to Abimelech's wife and female slaves the ability to bear children again. God restored what He had taken from Abimelech and his household after Abimelech returned what he had taken, in innocence, from Abraham.

More specifically, God healed after Abraham prayed. Why did God require the middle step of another person's prayer before taking action? God often works that way, especially through his prophets in the Old Testament and in the church today. God stands ready to exercise His power in response to the prayers of His people. He wants us to ask; He acts when we do (James 5:17–18).
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.
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