"I am so hungry! Aren't you Abram?" cried Sarai. "I feel so weak. I can't go another step."
"We are almost to Egypt. There is grain there, and soon we will make bread, and eat lamb stew with spices! Be patient my dear and be strong. God will not let us perish." Abram and Sarai bobbed up and down in syncopated rhythm on tall camels. Every day that went by with very little food made them weaker and more lethargic. Abram thanked God for the camels.
When Sarai stopped speaking, Abram thoughts turned to the future and how he could be noticed as a stranger worthy of Egyptian generosity. Sarai was right, they had moved frequently, but Egypt was different. Egypt was the big city. Certainly there would be food aplenty there brought in from the four corners of the world to feed Pharaoh. It occurred to Abram that the best place to get good food was right in Pharaoh's palace, but he wondered how he could get in. Fortunately Sarai's hunger kept her silent for a very long time. How could he, a pilgrim, attract Pharaoh's attention? What did he have that Pharaoh could possibly want?
Just as they were about to enter Egypt, the solution came to him, but he wondered how he would approach Sarai with his idea. They had known each other since they were children. There was nothing he wouldn't do for his lovely wife, and he was sure she felt the same way about him. Still Abram's thoughts were fixed on ways to tell her his plan, and he wondered if she was hungry enough to play along. Abram did not wonder what God thought about the idea.
He had to just say it, before it was too late. Timing was everything.
"Yes my dear what is it?"
"You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Even age has not diminished your elegance."
She replied, "That's kind of you to say, but I feel far from beautiful right now. I haven't even bathed in a month. I feel awful, hungry and dusty and awful."
Abram continued, "I am afraid that when the Egyptians see you, they will say, "This is his wife; then they will kill me, but they will let you live."
"Perish the thought my dear. If you believe that, then let's not go to Egypt! Let's go somewhere else! Surely we can find food back in Ur. Please let's go back to Ur!" she begged.
"The famine is there too my dear. Only in Egypt can we escape the famine. NO. But I have an idea."
"What idea?" She replied with deep curiosity.
Then Abram called up his courage and said very matter of factly, "Let's say that you are my sister, so that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account."
"Can you be serious my husband?! You know I have never known another man? How could we sustain this farce?"
"Let's think about that later, but for now we will find meat and a soft bed." Abram knew what mattered most to Sarai at that moment, and he knew also that this plan would only work when they first entered Egypt, while they were still strangers, still exotic pilgrims.
Perambula watched this scene in horror! "Lord, this plan is outrageous! How could this man care so much about his own belly that he would give his wife to satisfy it? "
The Lord shrugged his spirit shoulders and answered, "Time will tell."
Perambula replied, "Um Lord, Abram doesn't appear to be trusting you very much. Why did you pick this man? How in the world is a man who is willing to give his wife to Pharaoh to protect himself ...just for a good meal... how on earth is this disloyal man going to help us destroy death?"
Perambula added, "Don't look at me that way! I think you picked the wrong guy."
"Patience Perambula, and quiet!"
God knew that this flight was the first of three significant forays into Egypt where His chosen ones would find refuge.Their infidelity was simply a reoccurring theme that was humankind's natural distrust of God's care, just another of many infidelities God suffered from humankind. He was used to it and didn't expect more. Besides, He would not allow it to go on forever. How God longed for the day, that would certainly arrive, when His children would flee to Him rather than to Egypt. God knew that Abram was not unlike any other man He could have chosen.
Abram was particularly kind and loving to Sarai that evening. The next morning, rather than continue their journey at daybreak as usual, and despite their hunger, which had subsided on its own, they found a spring and washed themselves and their clothes. Sairai's hair was long and flowing; her milky white skin was unusual for that region and very beautiful. Her large blue eyes were clear and deep. Abram admired his lovely bride as if seeing her for the first time. Still, he didn't change his mind. Instead, he gave her time for the idea to settle.
"I wonder what it will be like inside a palace?" said Sarai softly. After so many weeks sleeping in a tent on the hard ground, Sarai was beginning to relish the idea of laying on a thick bed of feathers that she had only heard about, but never even seen. She figured that if her own husband didn't mind, then why should she.
"That's my girl! Are you ready?"
"Yes, I'm ready. Let's go."
When Sarai entered Egypt, two young Egyptian men saw the woman was very beautiful and ran to tell Pharaoh's palace guards about the strangers.
"Come, a new woman has entered our land! She is the most beautiful woman we have seen. Come, look!"
Two large swarthy and very muscular men, like happy puppies, rushed into the village square where Abram and Sarai and their entourage were trying to communicate with the locals.
The guards were stunned by Sarai's beauty, by her flawless milky-white skin and her flowing shiny black hair.
The smallest of the two spoke up first. "Pilgrims, from where do you travel? And to what do we owe the honor of your presence?" Of course the men were used to hungry refugees, but sensed that these two pilgrims were unusual.
Neither Abram nor Sarai spoke Egyptian. They looked at each other and then at the officials and guessing at their question Abram replied slowly and clearly in his foreign language,"My name is Abram and this is my sister Sarai. We have come originally from Ur, but most recently from Haran."
The officials looked at each other and again at Abram curiously. Then they interrupted Abram's introduction and called a man over and spoke to him in their language.
The interpreter joined them, listened, looked up at Abram and said, "Greetings, pilgrim. I too am from Ur. Welcome to our land. Please continue and I will translate your words."
Abram began to tell his lie again that Sarai was his sister, and continued, "As you may know there is famine in Haran, and we have come seeking relief lest we and our servants perish with hunger."
The translator quickly performed his service back and forth several times until it was decided that Abram and his beautiful sister should meet Pharaoh.
At the palace gates, Abram's servant and goods were asked to wait behind. A new palace official approached the couple and said, "Please allow Pharaoh to be the first to welcome you to our land. Follow me."
The moment they entered the palace building, Sarai looked around in awe. Never before had she seen such a large and ornate shelter. She marveled at the luxurious fabrics the women wore, sculptures and drawings everywhere, unusually dignified servants. A whisper inside Sarai's heart told her that she belonged there. Her beauty fit within the grandeur of the palace walls like a key opening its lock. She instantly felt at home and wanted nothing more than to be a part of this luxurious palace.
Pharaoh approach the two pilgrims in strong confident steps. When he drew near his eyes went immediately to Sarai's face and then, brushing down her curvy body paused briefly at her large firm breasts. Pharaoh then lifted his deep brown eyes to clasp onto Sarai's sea blue eyes which were wide open to receive him.
Then, Sarai recoiled a bit. It was all so intense; suddenly she felt timid, afraid to be viewed as an instrument of delight rather than Abram's wife whom she had always been. Sarai had never before experienced such flirtation and she wasn't quite sure she liked it, but she knew that she had to play along. Her stomach reminded her from time to time.
"Please, come, dine with me."said Pharaoh, and extended his arm to Sarai to lead her into the dining room.
Sarai was seated beside Pharaoh while Abram was seated between the interpreter and another stranger. Sarai was the only woman at the table, a jewel among rough stones.
Pharaoh's overtures to his wife irritated Abram, but he remained silent. Even after supper, when Pharaoh called for the woman in charge of his harem to escort Sarai to the ladies wing of the palace, Abram casually waved good bye.