Why did he not trust in God to protect him?
ESV - 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.
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Later on in this chapter Abraham gives the answer as to why he lied: " '10 And Abimelek asked Abraham, "What was your reason for doing this?" 11 Abraham replied, "I said to myself, 'There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.' 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father's household, I said to her, 'This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, "He is my brother." ' " God covered Abraham and kept him safe, even though He could have punished him with some kind of calamity for his doubt in God's ability to keep both him and Sarah safe in this situation.
Jehovah used his spirit to protect individuals in the line of descent leading up to the Seed. To Abram (Abraham), Jehovah said: “I am a shield for you.” (Gen. 15:1) Those were not empty words. Consider, for example, what happened about 1919 B.C.E. when Abraham and Sarah took up temporary residence in Gerar. Not knowing that Sarah was Abraham’s wife, Abimelech, the king of Gerar, took Sarah with the intention of making her his wife. Was Satan manipulating matters behind the scenes, trying to prevent Sarah from bearing Abraham’s seed? The Bible does not say. What it does tell us is that Jehovah intervened. In a dream, he warned Abimelech not to touch Sarah.—Gen. 20:1-18.
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