Abraham And Isaac Denying Their Wives

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Hi K____,
Thank you for your question.

You ask what is the meaning of Abraham’s trip into Egypt after first coming into the promised land.

Gen 12:10  And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
Gen 12:11  And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
Gen 12:12  Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
Gen 12:13  Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
Gen 12:14  And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she  was very fair.
Gen 12:15  The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
Gen 12:16  And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
Gen 12:17  And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.
Gen 12:18  And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
Gen 12:19  Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
Gen 12:20  And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

The very first thing we need to realize is that all of this happened to Abraham, and it is written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the age have come. It is all typical of each of us.

1Co 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [ Greek, tupos, type]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

What is happening here is exactly the same thing Abraham had done before, this time while still in the promised land, when he does the same exact thing with Abimelech, the king of Gerar. This is after Abraham has separated from Lot, has saved Lot and the king and all the people of Sodom from the kings of the east. Even after all of that, Abraham is afraid of the king of Gerar and again denies his wife.

Gen 20:1  And Abraham journeyed from thence [ From the “plains of Mamre” after the destruction of Sodom] toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.
Gen 20:2  And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.
Gen 20:3  B ut God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.
Gen 20:4  But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?
Gen 20:5  Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.
Gen 20:6  And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.
Gen 20:7  Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he [ is] a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.
Gen 20:8  Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.
Gen 20:9  Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.
Gen 20:10  And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?
Gen 20:11  And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God [ is] not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.
Gen 20:12  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.
Gen 20:13  And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This [ is] thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He [ is] my brother.
Gen 20:14  And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave [ them] unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.

The same sin is repeated for the third time by Isaac with the Abimelech of His day, when Isaac fears the king of Gerar and denies that Rebecca is his wife.

Gen 26:1  And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
Gen 26:2  And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
Gen 26:3  Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
Gen 26:4  And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Gen 26:5  Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Gen 26:6  And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
Gen 26:7  And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, [ said he], the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
Gen 26:8  And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.
Gen 26:9  And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
Gen 26:10  And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.
Gen 26:11  And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.

The fact that this sin is thrice repeated with the partiarchs Abraham and Isaac is very significant indeed. The love of a man for his wife is a type of a man’s love of Christ and His Words.

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

“He that loves his wife loves himself.” But who are we to apiritually see ourselves as being? We are to see ourselves as part of the body of Christ, speaking the words of Christ:

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

There are so many types and shadows of you and me in this story of Abraham and Isaac denying their wives, that it would take a whole book to cover them all. But Christ best sums up the meaning of this thrice repeated sin in this statement:

Mat 10:39  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

“For My sake” means for the sake of My Words, and for the sake of standing up for, and being true to, the words of Christ.

Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Who do you know who will stand for these words of our Lord in these days of living in fear of another terrorist attack?

Mat 26:52  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Who do you know who believes and stands for the truth in these verses of God’s Words?

Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
1Sa 16:14  But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
1Sa 16:15  And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Who do you know who is not offended by these words of God’s Word?

Rom 9:15  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Denying one’s wife is in type denying Christ and His Words, in an attempt to save ourselves from the uncircumcised Egyptians of what is called the secular world and from the uncircumcised Philistines who being in the promised land, symbolize the church to which the Truths of Christ become a curse on both the house of Pharaoh and the very life of Abimelech.
The ark of God, when captured by the Philistines, represents this same story. In the hands of the spiritually uncircumcised, the Truth becomes a curse that plagues them and their land. just as the wives of Abraham and Isaac were to the Pagan kings who took their wives unto themselves.
The “famine in the land” tells us that this was to symbolize the tendency that is innate to our flesh to relax and become careless when things are going our way, and we have just come into the promised land, or we have just been used of God to destroy the kings of the east, and have just witnessed the destruction of Sodom. That is when “a famine in the land” will plague us all, and we will find it essential that we be brought through the entire process of being humbled by “an experience of evil” three times. Three is the number which signifies the process of judgment, and that process must be “endured to the end.” (See the studies on Numbers In Scripture on iswasandwillbe. com).

Mat 10:22  And ye shall be hated of all [ men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Luk 21:19  In your patience possess ye your souls.

I do hope this helps you to see why we are three times reminded that we all tend to deny our wives to save our own lives. Spiritual truth is always counterintuitive to the natural man, and cannot be received by the natural man, even though he may consider himself a spiritual man. It is the ability to receive and live by what seems to be the impossible commandments of our Lord which tell us where we are in Christ and His Words. Like the apostle Peter, we all lack this ability before we are given the strength of God’s spirit to die for the the words of Christ.

Mat 10:39  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Mat 26:75  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Abraham, Isaac, Peter and you and I, will all three times deny our Lord and His Words, before we are given to be willing to die with Him on His cross. That is simply the process of the revelation of Jesus Christ within us all. That is the spiritual significance of why the patriarchs three times denied their wives.
Your brother in Christ,

Mike

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