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  #1  
Old Nov 24, '11, 4:00 am
panevino panevino is offline
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Default Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

KJV
Abraham refers to sarah his wife, as his sister, and clarifies it in Gen 20:2-12
Gen 20:2And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.........11And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. 12And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.....15And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. 16And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved
Gen 11:26-31 appears to clarify that sarai was the daughter in law of Abram's father.
is this a clear OT example of Brother/sister being used for cousin.
if it is i think i am new to this one.

Gen 11:26And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
27Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. 28And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 29And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. 30But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees......

i found Augustines view on this and Jeromes
Augustine (Reply to Faustus - book XXII. 35)
35. It is waste of time to observe Faustus' remark, that Abraham falsely called Sara his sister; as if Faustus had discovered the family of Sara, though it is not mentioned in Scripture. In a matter which Abraham knew, and we do not, it is surely better to believe the patriarch when he says what he knows, than to believe Manichaeus when he finds fault with what he knows nothing about. Since, then, Abraham lived at that period in human history, when, though marriage had become unlawful between children of the same parents, or of the same father or mother, no law or authority interfered with the custom of marriage between the children of brothers, or any less degree of consanguinity, why should he not have had as wife his sister, that is, a woman descended from his father? For he himself told the king, when he restored Sara, that she was his sister by his father, and not by his mother. And on this occasion he could not have been led to tell a falsehood from fear, for the king knew that she was his wife, and was restoring her with honor, because he had been warned by God. We learn from Scripture that, among the ancients, it was customary to call cousins brothers and sisters. Thus Tobias says in his prayer to God, before having intercourse with his wife, 'And now, O Lord, Thou knowest that not in wantonness I take to wife my sister;"(1) though she was not sprung immediately from the same father or the same mother, but only belonged to the same family. And Lot is called the brother of Abraham, though Abraham was his uncle.(2) And, by the same use of the word, those called in the Gospel the Lord's brothers are certainly not children of the Virgin Mary, but all the blood relations of the Lord.(3)
Jerome (against Helvidius:17)
Just as Lot was called Abraham's brother, and Jacob Laban's, just as the daughters of Zelophehad received a lot among their brethren, just as Abraham himself had to wife Sarah his sister, for he says,(6) "She is indeed my sister, on the father's side, not on the mother's," that is to say, she was the daughter of his brother, not of his sister. Otherwise, what are we to say of Abraham, a just man, taking to wife the daughter of his own father ? Scripture, in relating the history of the men of early times, does not outrage our ears by speaking of the enormity in express terms, but prefers to leave it to be inferred by the reader: and God afterwards gives to the prohibition the sanction of the law, and threatens,(1) "He who takes his sister, born of his father, or of his mother, and beholds her nakedness, hath commited abomination, he shall be utterly destroyed. He hath uncovered his sister's nakedness, he shall bear his sin."
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Old Nov 24, '11, 4:14 am
DaveBj DaveBj is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

Gen. 20:21 clearly states that Sarah was the daughter of his father, but not his mother, which made her his [half]-sister, not his cousin. With regard to consanguinity, those laws, at least as far as the Children of Israel were concerned, were not established until hundreds of year later. Bear in mind that the prohibition of marriage between close relatives is a result of the deterioration in human DNA as a result of the fall. It would appear that the deterioration in DNA had not progressed far enough at the time of Abraham for close marriages to be a problem.
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Old Nov 24, '11, 4:29 am
panevino panevino is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

Gen11:31 appears to say that sarah was a daughter in law of
Abraham's father.
Why would it say daughter in law if she was his true daughter?

Ok, being married to Abraham his son, would make her a technically a daughter in law, however it seems very odd to use this title for their relationship (father/daughter) if she was his true daughter as Abraham was his son.

Therfore she was not half sister of Abraham.

Correct?
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Last edited by panevino; Nov 24, '11 at 4:39 am.
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Old Nov 24, '11, 4:55 am
DaveBj DaveBj is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

Quote:
Originally Posted by panevino View Post
Gen11:31 appears to say that sarah was a daughter in law of
Abraham's father.
Why would it say daughter in law if she was his true daughter?

Ok, being married to Abraham his son, would make her a technically a daughter in law, however it seems very odd to use this title for their relationship (father/daughter) if she was his true daughter as Abraham was his son.

Therfore she was not half sister of Abraham.

Correct?
No, not correct. Gen. 20:21 is clear. Sarai was Terah's daughter. When she married Abram, that made her also his daughter-in-law. The two relationships are not mutually exclusive.
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Old Nov 24, '11, 6:18 am
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Khalid Khalid is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

Adam and Eve were genetically closer than brother and sister, or any other relation, and bore many children.

When God created mankind, the genome was perfect (as evidenced by the very long lifespans of the antediluvians, which, while not perfect, were still close to the original source). The quality of the genome deteriorated severely, with resultant shorter lifespans, in short order after the Flood, but were still far better than those of latter days, with average lifespans in the century range: soon after the genome had deteriorated greatly enough, the consanguinity laws were given to the B'nei Israel. In Eden, the body was fully subjected to the soul; only after the Fall did the body begin to deteriorate, after the soul lost control of it, one of the first effects of original sin, and the beginning of concupiscence: the first-fruits of disobedience and sin, echoed in Rom 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death".
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Old Nov 24, '11, 9:38 am
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chevalier chevalier is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

In the East, half-siblings were not considered unmarriageable for a very long time. It is possible that Abraham's family's high social status had something to do with it, although as far as I know they weren't royalty or a sovereign tribe.

I remember reading somewhere that married siblings (half-siblings?) weren't always required to split apart when being received into the Christian faith, although it seems that the prohibition in the second degree collateral line is at least very close to divine law rather than merely ecclesiastic. However, it can't be absolutely evil to marry one's own sibling or the human race couldn't have originated from just one couple.
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Old Nov 24, '11, 11:41 am
panevino panevino is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

Thanks everyone.
I was not overly concerned about her possibly being a true half sister, though was very surprised to see it.

My intent was to confirm/clarify another possible OT example of a cousin or relation being identified as sister/brother, to support Jesus being an only child of Mary.

Augustine/Jerome appeared to confirm my observation.
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Old Aug 20, '13, 9:38 am
BerhaneSelassie BerhaneSelassie is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

St Ephraim (Ephrem) the Syrian, who wrote before both St Augustine and St Jerome said Sarah was actually Abraham's cousin:

Quote:
"Sarah was indeed the sister of Abraham: from his father because she was the daughter of his father's brother, but not from his mother, for none of her sisters had been married to Haran the son of Terah. Another woman, a foreigner, was married to Haran. This one, who loved her tribe more than her children, remained with her family and refused to go out and accompany Lot, her son, or Sarah and Milkah, her daughters.--St Ephraim the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis 20,
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Old Aug 20, '13, 2:07 pm
Gorgias Gorgias is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

Quote:
Originally Posted by panevino View Post
Gen11:31 appears to say that sarah was a daughter in law of
Abraham's father.
Why would it say daughter in law if she was his true daughter?

Ok, being married to Abraham his son, would make her a technically a daughter in law, however it seems very odd to use this title for their relationship (father/daughter) if she was his true daughter as Abraham was his son.

Therfore she was not half sister of Abraham.

Correct?
Yes and no. I'm just thinking out loud here, but it seems to me that, when a woman left her father's care and entered into her husband's household, she became (for all intents and purposes) his, and his alone! Recall the words of Psalm 45: "Listen, my daughter, and understand; pay me careful heed. Forget your people and your father’s house, that the king might desire your beauty. He is your lord."

So, in a 'legal' sense, Sarai was Terah's daughter until she married Abram, at which point she became Abram's wife (and through Abram, Terah's daughter-in-law). Given the way that wives were treated essentially like property, this isn't too great a stretch of the imagination...
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Old Aug 20, '13, 3:21 pm
DaveBj DaveBj is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

Quote:
Originally Posted by BerhaneSelassie View Post
St Ephraim (Ephrem) the Syrian, who wrote before both St Augustine and St Jerome said Sarah was actually Abraham's cousin:
Given a choice between Ephrem the Syrian and the Book of Genesis, I'll take the latter any day.
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Old Aug 21, '13, 2:30 pm
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mikeeh mikeeh is offline
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Default Re: Abraham calling his cousin Sarah a Sister in Gen 20:2-12

From an academic standpoint, Abraham and Sarah may not be relatives. According to the documentary hypothesis, in Genesis 12:10-20 Abram tells Sarai to tell the Egyptians that she is his sister because she is so beautiful they might kill him for being her husband and take her to the Pharaoh.
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

-Genesis 12:10-20
This section is from the J text which is the oldest writings in the Torah. Genesis 20:2-12 is an E text and Genesis 11:27-31 is a P text, both were added later. It is believed the addition of Sarai as a relative of Abram was intended so that it would not be interpreted as Abram lying to the Egyptians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

The Bible with Sources Revealed by Richard Elliott Friedman
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