Bereshit 20:12-Avraham and Sarah

Question

Gen 20:12 Abraham says Sarah is my sister, the daughter of my father (i.e., Terah), but not the daughter of my mother.

Assuming Sarah was Iscah, Abraham married Sarah (Iscah),
the daughter of his brother Haran. Therefore, Sarah was Abraham’s niece.

Question: What does “Sarah is not the daughter of my mother” mean?
It seems to imply that Abraham’s father (Terah) had two different wives – one was the mother of Abraham, one was the mother of Haran, and one of them was also Nahor’s mother.

Also, does the bible provide the names of these wives?

Thanks.

4 weeks

Answers

  1. The commentaries explain that Avraham was being deliberately obtuse so as not to be seen to be lying outright to Avimelech (which would have been permissible as he feared for his life). Rashi explains that even though he called Sarah his sister he was not being entirely dishonest as “grandchildren are considered to be children”. That means that Avraham’s calling Sarah his sister was, in a figurative sense, true.

    Did Terach have more than one wife? There is no reason to think that he did not although I could not track down a source that mentions them.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team