Abraham Lies About Marital Status in PoGP and DDS

Some critics (Evangelicals in specific) feign disgust at the thought of God approving of one of his prophets lying. A while back I discussed this issue with a few Evangelicals on a message board called bible.org, because of the story in the PoGP which describes the Lord as suggesting to Abraham that he lie to the Egyptians about his marital status.

While modern Evangelicals may reject the possibility of God approving of a lie, some ancient Jews did not. What is more, these ancient Jews believed that God himself recommended to Abraham that he lie about the exact situation described in the PoGP!

A while back I picked up a book at the library called The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 3rd edition, by G. Vermes-1987. That was the first time I read the account, but below I reproduce the text as found at this website: http://www.religiousstudies.uncc.edu/jcreeves/1qapgen.htm

And I, Abram, dreamed a dream during the night of my entering the land of Egypt. I saw in my dream one cedar tree and one palm tree, [a very beautifu]l one, and huma[n] figures came and tried to chop down and uproot the cedar in order to leave the palm by itself. But the palm restrained (them) when she said, ‘Do not chop down the cedar, for both of us are from o[ne r]oot!’ And the cedar was left alone thanks to the protection of the palm and was not [chopped down]. vacat

I woke up from my dream in the night, and said to Sarai, my wife, ‘I have (just) dreamed a dream, [and I] am afraid [on account of] this dream!’ And she said to me, ‘Tell me your dream that I might know (it), and so I began to relate this dream to her. [And I revealed] to [her the meaning of that] dream, and I [said, ‘… …] for they will seek to kill me, but you they will spare [… …] this, every favor [which you must do for me] in every [place] where [we are, say] of me that “he is my brother,” and I will remain alive by your protection and survive thanks to you.’ [… … ‘they will try] to remove you from me and to kill me!’ And Sarai wept over my words that night.

Abraham prophetically interprets this dream and insturcts Sarai to tell the Egyptians that Abraham is her brother.

This is just another little bit of the ancient world that fits so nicely with the Mormon tradition.

I am in one of the busiest semesters of my college career right now, and so my posting will be a bit limited (as witnesses by the time between this post and the last one). I will try to update it whenever I can though!!

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One comment on “Abraham Lies About Marital Status in PoGP and DDS

  1. Steve Smoot says:

    Great post James. Don’t forget also other ancient Jewish and Muslim commentaries that also approve of the lie of Abraham as God directed. They are discussed in the wonderful book “Traditions About the Early Life of Abraham”.

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