Genesis 12:10–20; 20:1–18—Why did God let Abraham prosper by lying?

Problem: We are told in the Bible not to lie (Ex. 20:16), but, when Abraham lied about Sarah, his wealth was increased.

Solution: First, Abraham’s increase in wealth should not be viewed as a divine reward for his lie. Pharaoh’s gifts to him were understandable. Pharaoh may have felt obligated to pay amends for the wicked constraint that his corrupt society put on strangers who visited his land.

Furthermore, Pharaoh may have felt he had to make amends to Abraham for unwittingly taking his wife into his palace. Adultery was strictly forbidden by the Egyptian religion.

What is more, Abraham paid for his sin. The years of trouble that followed may have been a direct result of his lack of faith in God’s protecting power.

Finally, although some people are portrayed as men of God, they are still fallible and responsible for their own sin (e.g., David and Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 12). God blessed them in spite of, not because of, their sins.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.