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Genesis 12:11

And it came to pass, when he came near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that you are a fair woman to look upon:
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Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
There came a famine, and so he went to Egypt. He knew that in Egypt the dissipation of youth was widespread, characterized by lust, impudent desires and unrestrained passions. He understood that among such men the modesty of his wife would be defenseless and that her beauty would be a danger for him. So he told his wife to say that she was his sister. By this we are taught that it is not so much beauty that one should seek in a wife, for this often leads to the death of the husband. In fact, it is not so much the beauty of the wife but her virtue and her seriousness that make a husband happy. Whoever desires the happiness of marriage should look not for a wealthy woman, who will not be held in check by the obligations of marriage. One looks not for one ornamented with jewels but with good manners. The wife who is conscious of being of a higher social level generally humiliates her husband. These things have a close connection with pride. Sarah was not richer in goods. She was not of mo...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Having built an altar there and called upon God, Abraham proceeded thence and dwelt in the desert and was compelled by pressure of famine to go on into Egypt. There he called his wife his sister, and he told no lie. For she was this also, because she was near of blood; just as Lot, on account of the same nearness, being his brother’s son, is called his brother. Now he did not deny that she was his wife but held his peace about it, committing to God the defense of his wife’s chastity and providing as a man against human wiles. If he had not provided against the danger as much as he could, he would have been tempting God rather than trusting in him. We have said enough about this matter against the calumnies of Faustus the Manichaean. At last what Abraham had expected the Lord to do took place. For Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who had taken her to him as his wife, restored her to her husband when faced with severe plague. And far be it from us to believe that she was defiled by lying with ano...

Didymus the Blind

AD 398
On the literal level Abraham made an intelligent compromise with the lustfulness of the Egyptians, being certain that God, who had made him leave his own country, would watch over his marriage. He suggested to his wife that she tell them that she was his sister, because if they were told that and only that at the beginning, they would not have the idea that she was his wife, and by that means he would deceive them. In fact, marriage between brother and sister was practiced in Egypt and in his own country, as he said later, “She really is my sister.” It was therefore a clever strategy to suggest to Sarah to say only that at first. As the laws against adultery were probably respected among the Egyptians, Abraham thought in fact that they would kill him in order not to be considered as adulterers. So much for the literal level. As for the spiritual meaning, those who pass from virtue to vice are said to descend into Egypt. One finds often in the Scriptures, “Woe to those who descend into ...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
Abraham gave a human reason as human beings do. Nevertheless, because Sarah thought it was Abraham who was sterile, she was taken to the palace. [This happened] first, so that she might learn that it was she who was barren; second, so that her love for her husband might be seen, for she did not exchange [her husband] for a king while she was a sojourner; and [last], so that the mystery of her descendants might be prefigured in her. Just as she had no love for the kingdom of Egypt, they would not love the idols, the garlic or the onions of Egypt. The entire house of Pharaoh was struck down by Sarah’s deliverance. So too would all Egypt be struck down by the deliverance of her descendants. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Beautiful: having yet had no children, though she must have been 65 years old. Abram acts with prudence, and does not tempt God: if he had made known that the woman was his wife, he would have exposed his life to imminent danger, amid a cruel and lascivious people; and being convinced of the chastity of Sarai, he did not, in the least, apprehend that she would consent to any violation of her conjugal engagements. He did not, therefore, expose her virtue as the Manichees pretended. (St. Augustine, contra Faust. xxii. 33; City of God xvi. 19.) (Haydock; Calmet) The event proved the justice of Abram's suspicions, and God's interference showed that he was not displeased with his concealing part of the truth. Who can be so simple as to suppose, that we are bound to explain all our concerns to a foe? Do not we every day act with the like caution as Abram did, when we have reason to fear danger? Do not we wish, when fleeing from an enemy's country, that he should conclude we were taking a wa...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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