24 March, 2016

Genesis 20:5—Abimelech’s “Integrity of Heart” and “Innocency of Hands”

Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this (Genesis 20:5 KJV).


Rev. Robert C. Harbach

[Source: Studies in the Book of Genesis, pp. 411–412]

“In the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this” (v. 5). Does this make it clear, as some suppose, that both this Philistine and the Egyptian Pharaoh (12:18–20) had an aversion to the sin of adultery, regarding it as a lack of integrity? It does not; for whether he took another man’s wife or a man’s sister, he would still be committing adultery, for he had his own wife (v. 17). It is this very sin of kings (I Kings 11:1–4, 9–11) which crumbles and totters their thrones!

Integrity and Innocency. Is this, perhaps, an instance of “common grace”? Not in God’s sight, but according to Abimelech’s viewpoint. “Yes, I know,” the Lord answered, “that you did this in what you regard as the “integrity” of your heart. But still you are not innocent and blameless, for you cannot expect to live further, unless you seek the mediation of the prophet (v. 7)! Your claim to “integrity” reveals that you do not have, but ought to have, a higher morality. You stand condemned out of your own mouth!” Thus the Lord throws Abimelech’s “common grace” back into his teeth.

But if the Lord does not recognize his “innocency” and “integrity,” is there not at least some “common grace” evident in the fact that God exhorted him to seek forgiveness through the prayers of a godly man? Thus God would also continue his earthly existence, rather than to end it in severe judgment? Not so; the temporal life of the wicked is not by grace, but by providence and the sovereign will of God, and is extended to whatever lengths God ordains that they may fill up their cup of iniquity.



More to come! (DV)

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