Many people look at Abraham’s life as a model of faith. After all, this is the man about whom it is recorded, “And he had faith in Hashem, and He accounted it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:8). Additionally, Abraham is held up as the paragon of obedience and submission to the will of G-d, not even withholding his only son from the altar when G-d asked him to offer him up.
And yet, there are incidents in his life which seem to contradict such a picture of perfect faith and obedience.
Early on in his sojourn in the land of Canaan (when he was but a young lad of seventy-five years), a famine came upon the land and Abraham went down to Egypt for relief. While on the way there, he spoke to his wife Sarah and asked her to tell people that she was his sister rather than his wife, for fear that the Egyptians would kill him to get her. Once in Egypt, Sarah came to the attention of the Pharaoh, who took her into his house and showered Abraham with gifts. After G-d brought plagues on Pharaoh and his household, Pharaoh released Sarah and sent Abraham away from Egypt.
Some who read this are shocked, wondering 1) why Abraham left the Land of promise to visit Egypt in the first place instead of trusting G-d to take care of him where he was, 2) why he resorted to blatantly lying about his wife, 3) why he so callously risked his wife’s honor by presenting her as single, just to save his own skin, 4) why he didn’t trust G-d to keep him safe in Egypt, 5) why he permitted himself to profit from Pharaoh’s gifts at the expense of his wife being placed in a dangerous and compromising situation.
As if this weren’t enough, several years later Abraham did the same thing again, this time in the land of the Philistines! Didn’t he learn anything from the last debacle?
As a corollary, there are those who see Abraham’s marriage to Hagar as another example of a lack of faith. If only he had waited for G-d to bring the promised offspring, who knows how much heartache could have been avoided?
In summary, the charges are:
• 1 count of leaving the Promised Land due to fear, after G-d brought him there
• 4 counts of generally lacking faith
• 2 counts of lying due of fear
• 2 counts of risking his wife’s honor in exchange for his own safety
• 1 count of profiting from his wife’s ordeal
• 1 count of not waiting for G-d to fulfill His promise
• 1 count of doubting by asking G-d to prove Himself
How do we plead? Not guilty on all counts.
To read more, download part one of this e-Book series to read about these charges in detail, to learn the facts and to discover how Abraham truly was a man of faith.