And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.…
The transgression of Abram was the saying that Sarah was his sister when she was his wife, and the saying was not distinctly false, but rather an evasion, for she was his half-sister. Now we do not say that every evasion is wrong. For example, when an impertinent question is asked respecting family circumstances or religious feelings it is not necessary that we should tell all. There are cases, therefore, in which we may tell the truth, though not the whole truth. It was even so with our Redeemer; for when asked by the Pharisees how He made Himself the Son of God, He would give them no answer. But it will be observed that Abram's evasion was nothing of this kind, it was a deception. It was not keeping back part of the truth when the questioner has no right to ask; it was false expediency. It was a right expediency in Samuel when he permitted Israel to have a king, and the law of Christian expediency is to select the imperfect when the perfect cannot be had. It will be observed however that the expediency of Abram was altogether different. It was not the selection of the imperfect because the perfect could not be had, but it was the choice between telling the truth and saving his life; and Abram chose the falsehood that he might save his life — that is, he used an expediency which had nothing to do with Christian expediency. Of two blessings let the temporal blessing be the higher, and the spiritual blessing the lesser; still they are not commensurate. Man must not stop to ask himself which is best, right or wrong; he must do right. It was on this principle that the blessed martyrs of old died for the truth; it was but an evasion that was asked of them, but they felt that there was no comparison between the right and the wrong in the matter. "I have a life, you may take that: I have a soul, you cannot destroy that." It was thus they felt and acted. There is but one apology that can be offered for Abram — the low standard of the age in which he lived; it must be remembered that he was not a Christian.
(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.