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Sunday word: Sacrificing a wife for benefits


Our scriptures tell us of Adam, Eve and the serpent who conspired to eat of the forbidden fruit.

Each of the three received a separate punishment from God as a consequence of their participation in the commitment of the sin.

To the woman, the Lord declared, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you”.

Unfortunately, the burden of childbearing and its related pains was allocated to the woman. Another regrettable thing was that the wife was placed under the ‘jurisdiction’ of the husband, meaning that he had authority over his wife. The question to ask is how far this ‘rule’ is applied.

I have heard of a few but known practices where husbands have prostituted their wives to raise money. The ‘western’ cultures are awash with instances in which husbands induce their wives to participate in some kind of sexual wife-swooping acts just for physical gratifications.

Others persuade their wives to engage in ‘threesomes’ or ‘foursomes’, whatever that entails.

In ‘third world’ or poorer countries wives are made to work in the fields or markets with the husbands pocketing all the incomes or rewards from their wives sweat. There has to be some boundaries as to what extent this male control can be exercised.

There are stories in our Bible that are baffling in nature. So much so, since some of these were committed by outstanding men of honour.

We have the recorded story of Abraham sacrificing his own wife, Sarah, to the Pharaoh of Egypt, just to be sure his own life was secured.

Genesis 12:10-20 reads: Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sar’ai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful to behold; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say to the Egyptians that you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.”

Abram entered Egypt and the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he was given sheep, oxen, he-asses, menservants, maidservants, she-asses, and camels. (He thus became a rich man through sacrificing his wife to the Pharaoh).

But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sar’ai, Abram’s wife.

So Pharaoh called Abram after the secret came out and said to him, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then here is your wife, take her, and be gone”. And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him; they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had (end of quote).

At that time, Abraham had not yet been blessed by the Lord, and he was known as Abram. Sarah was then known as Sar’ai before they both received their divine blessings from God. But then how could a man sacrifice his own wife to another man; just to save his own skin? Were the riches given to him by Pharaoh, as ‘brother to Sar’ai’ worth such a despicable sacrifice? How can a man live and enjoy life at the expense of giving out a wife, knowing fully well that day and night his wife was with another man? Yet, Abram became Abraham the father of many nations. Thanks be to the Lord our God for His gracious unparalleled level of forgiveness for human sins.

They say that old habits die hard, and that a leopard does not change its skin colour. This refers to mankind’s habits. Even after he had been chosen and blessed by God to be the patriarch of multiple nations, Abraham was at it again; to his same old tricks of dishonouring his wife. It had worked well for him with the Pharaoh of Egypt, because he became rich. Now this time it was the same practice when he and Sarah went to live Gerar, a territory ruled by a righteous king by the name Abim’elech. To the King, Abraham again declared of Sarah, “She is my sister”.

Genesis 20: 2-18 proceeds to tell the similar story: And Abim’elech King of Gerah sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abim’elech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken; for she is a man’s wife”. Now Abim’elech had not yet slept with her; so he said, “Lord, will you slay an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And herself said, ‘He is my brother’? In the integrity of my heart and innocent of my hands I have done this.

Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you, and all that are yours.”

So Abim’elech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told them all these things; and the men were very much afraid. Then the King called Abraham, and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done”. And Abim’elech said to Abraham, “What were you thinking of, that you did this things?” Abraham replied, “I did it because I thought that there is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother (a typical human excuse); and she because my wife. And when God caused me to wander from my father’s home, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me; at every place to which we come, say of me, ‘He is my brother’”.

Then Abim’elech took sheep and oxen, male and female salves, and gave them to Abraham, and restored Sarah his wife to him. And Abim’elech said, “Behold, my hand is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; it is  your vindication in the eyes of all who are with you; and before everyone you are righted”. Amen.

  • Prosper Tingini is the Scribe of the Children of God Missionary Assembly – God’s messengers. Contact details: Mobile and Whatsapp – 0771 260 195. Email address: ptingini@gmail.com 

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