“But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.” Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless? “Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.” – Gen. 20:3-6
Why Did God speak to Abimelech? It is not uncommon for God to speak to a prophet or a righteous man, but to a pagan King? One must wonder if God did so because he acknowledged that Abimelech’s actions were out of pureness of heart. (20:6) Also, God stopped him from sinning, and further, warned him. Is there a correlation here? If we have a pure heart, will God prevent us from sinning and warn us from doing evil, even unintentionally?
In verse 4, Abimelech may be asking if God would wipe out Gerar, who he is stating is innocent (in the sense that he himself is innocent in the matter about Sarah), along with the guilty (that is, Sodom)? This question then, is just like the one Abraham asked God about concerning any who may be rigtheous in Sodom in Gen. 18:23.