Did Abraham order Sarah to be dishonest? (Is it always sinful to tell an untruth? – Part 4)
Abraham did not ask Sarah to tell an outright lie. He only asked her not to tell the whole truth… the whole truth being that she was his wife as well as his sister / half-sister.
11 Abraham replied [to Abimelech], “I thought, ‘There is absolutely no fear of God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 So when God had me wander from my father’s house, I said to her: Show your loyalty to me wherever we go and say about me: ‘He’s my brother.’”
– HCSB, to study it in context click here.
How do we know for sure that Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister?
Terah’s family tree. Source of diagram: Wikidepdia article on Terah
The Bible does not tell us the name of Terah’s wife or wives. Apart from Abraham’s statement to Abimelech in Genesis 20:12, there is no other verse which corroborates that Terah had more than one wife and that Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister since they shared the same father but not the same mother.
Abraham had asked Sarah to tell the Philistines (the people of Gerar) that she was his sister. If that was an out and out falsehood, if Sarah was not Abraham’s biological kin, if she was not his half-sister or his sister, then Abraham would have been asking Sarah to tell an outright lie.
It would seem that Abraham had not asked Sarah to tell an out and out lie. He had only asked her not to tell the whole truth… the whole truth being that she was his wife as well as his sister / half-sister.
The fact that Sarah complied with Abraham’s request suggests to me that she was indeed Abraham’s half-sister.
Maybe this relates in some way to what Paul was alluding to when he says Sarah obeyed Abraham.
(1 Peter 3:6 NMB) even as Sara obeyed Abraham, and called him Lord – whose daughters you are as long as you do well, not being afraid of every shadow.
Read that ^ verse in context — 1 Peter 3 NMB.
My post about 1 Peter 3:6 —
1 Peter 3:6 — Sarah’s children do what is right and do not give way to fear
Other parts in this series