17 But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.
It appears that Sarai’s inclusion at the palace has had some nasty consequences. Pharaoh is justifiably annoyed.
Why didn’t you tell me?
Telling lies just dug the hole deeper for Abram. By pretending that he was not married to Sarai he started a lie that he believed he needed to maintain (presumably because of his fear for his own safety). The longer a lie lasts, the harder it is to tell the truth. Pharaoh has short shrift for Abram and his dishonesty.
Take your wife – and be off with you!
Abram is shooed out of Egypt. He went there to preserve himself – initially for relief from the famine. Then he deliberately disowns Sarai – demoting her to his sister. It does no good. It’s ‘fortunate’ for Abram that Pharaoh doesn’t respond more angrily than he does – off with his head?! But Abram obviously has some kind of divine help on his side (though he hardly seems to deserve it).
Sarai is rescued – by God, not by Abram – and the whole lot of them are seen off, out of Pharaoh’s sight.
Abram trusts in his own methods and deceit instead of relying on Yahweh who has called him to follow.
Not the wisest of moves.
In this story, Pharaoh shows more concern for morality than Abram does. Abram is not being a ‘blessing’ to other nations but here brings curse upon another. His behaviour does not reflect his calling. Are there times in our lives when we try and rely on our wits and cunning instead of witnessing to God’s truth? When we compromise the message and give a bad impression, a murky reflection of a beautiful reality?