Plenty of people are familiar with the Bible story of how Abraham the patriarch lied about Sarah being his wife. He was afraid of powerful men killing him so that they could take Sarah into their harems. The king of Egypt and the king of the Philistines both wanted Sarah and took her from Abraham, but God did not allow either of them to defile her.
In the first instance, Pharoah and his household were plagued with disease. Sarah was not, so the finger of suspicion pointed at her as the reason behind it. In the case of Abimelech, none of the women in his household who were able to deliver their babies when they were due. They were in agony of labour for days. God warned Abimelech in a dream about why this was happening.
Both of these kings were furious when they realized that Abraham had lied to them about Sarah, though they dared not lay a hand on the couple. But Abraham was still not sure of Godís protection, and he was embarrassed, so he lied again, in a roundabout way, leading them to believe Sarah was his half-sister. That made him not look so bad, rather then telling them the complete truth.
What was the complete truth? That Sarah was his niece. In The Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus asserts that Sarah was Iscah, the sister of Lot and Milcah, who were the children of Abrahamís deceased brother Haran. They were probably raised in Terahís household after their father died.
In those days, there was not law against uncles marrying nieces, nor against aunts marrying nephews. In fact, Mosesí mother was his fatherís aunt. They were probably close in age; Amram could even have been older than his aunt.
The way Abraham explained the situation was not technically a lie, when judged by ancient middle eastern standards. He said that he and Sarah had the same father, but not the same mother. All of a manís descendants were said to be his children. Sarah was Terahís granddaughter, but Sarahís mother was not one of Terahís wives or concubines. She was his son Haranís wife. The part Abraham lied about was saying that she was his half–sister.
Abrahamís son Isaac used the same reasoning to claim his wife Rebekah was his sister, as she was Terahís great–granddaughter. She was Isaacís second cousin. Even today, it is legal for second cousins to marry. Telling Abimelech that Rebekah was his second cousin would have been a confession that she was his wife, for there would be no other reason for her to travel with him, instead of living with her own family.
These facts are small details, but they put the stories of Abrahamís and Isaacís deception about their wives in a clearer focus. Neither man was sure that God would protect them from being killed for their wives, and their wives must have been worried about it, too, as they went along with the lies. As it turned out, God brought out some powerful weapons to protect them, and they were reproached for not trusting Him to do that.
When God gifts His children with beauty, He wants them to trust Him to protect them from those who covet that beauty. He wants all of us, regardless of whether we are gifted with good looks or not, to believe Him for protection.
The purer the faith, the greater the protection. In modern times, a teenaged German girl with average looks, who was in the Nazi youth during World War II, had a Christian mother who prayed for her. When the Russians moved into the area where Hansi was, they made the German women and girls work in the fields.
At night, the soldiers descended on the barn where the women slept and raped every girl and woman there, including the pre-teens and old ladies, except for Hansi. She held a friendís hand while the girl was raped, but Hansi herself was still a virgin when she got married. The Holy Spirit alerted Hansiís mother to pray for her when these things were happening.
I think that God wants us to believe Him for all sorts of things that seem impossible, including supernatural protection for our loved ones and ourselves. All His children are just as loved as Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah, and He wants us to believe it. If circumstances seem to say otherwise, trust Him anyway. God always redeems our suffering when we yield it to Him.†
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.