In Beresheet 20:7 it says:

"וְעַתָּה הָשֵׁב אֵשֶׁת הָאִישׁ כִּי נָבִיא הוּא וְיִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעַדְךָ וֶחְיֵה וְאִם אֵינְךָ מֵשִׁיב דַּע כִּי מוֹת תָּמוּת אַתָּה וְכָל אֲשֶׁר לָךְ"

"Therefore, restore the man’s wife—since he is a prophet, he will intercede for you—to save your life. If you fail to restore her, know that you shall die, you and all that are yours.”"

Why is it necessary to state that Avraham is a prophet?

Edit: It was suggested by @TamirEvan and @rosends per the Radak that this was because the prophet is closer to Hashem than the non-prophet. If that's the case, then why not simply state that "since he is close to me, he will intercede for you"?

@rosends and @Shlomy brought Rashi's view that as a prophet, Avraham would know that Avimelech didn't touch Sarah, and would then be willing to pray for him. If that's the case, then why not simply state that "since he knows you did not touch her, he will intercede for you"?

In short, it seems to me there is some other meaning specific to the role of a prophet in this context. I am wondering what that is.

  • I don't think it's that a non-prophets can't pray to Hashem (as anybody can pray to Hashem), but rather that their prayers are less likely to be answered/fulfilled, considering Hashem doesn't see fit to talk to them.
    – Tamir Evan
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:04
  • @TamirEvan then why not say: "since he is close to me, he will intercede for you"?
    – Harel13
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:12
  • From Rashi -- "FOR HE IS A PROPHET and he knows that you have not touched her (Genesis Rabbah 52:8); therefore—ויתפלל בעדך HE WILL PRAY FOR THEE."
    – rosends
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:13
  • @rosends prophecy allows one to know such things?
    – Harel13
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:19
  • 1
    @Harel13 that sounds like a question on Rashi ;) The Or Hachaim says that it was a way to identify Avraham (as he was the only prophet) whereas the Radak says that because he was a prophet, his prayers are more likely to be persuasive.
    – rosends
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


One of the basic pshatim is that since he's a prophet he'll know that you actually didn't live with Sarah, and thus he'll pray for you.

  • This is what @rosends wrote in the comments and so I'll ask again what I asked him: Does nevuah allow a prophet to know such things? And I'll expand: why could Hashem not simply say this explicitly: "since he knows that you have not touched her, he will intercede for you"? Why is it necessary to specifically emphasize that Avraham was a prophet?
    – Harel13
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:30
  • That would imply he didn't know, through prophecy. And avimelech would make up suspicions how Avraham knew.
    – Shlomy
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:40
  • "make up suspicions"? He is being told this from Hashem, after all...I'm sorry, but I can't see that happening.
    – Harel13
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:41
  • Being told by Hashem Avraham knew... not how he knew..
    – Shlomy
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:43
  • I know, but I simply don't see someone actually talking to Hashem and going away with the thought of "hmm, this important servant of Hashem is devious".
    – Harel13
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:48

Ralbag explains that a prophet is someone who is particularly connected to God, and, as such, his prayers are more efficacious:

והזהירו שישיב לאברהם את אשתו כי הוא נביא וידע שלא קרב אליה ומפני היותו נביא תהיה תפילתו עליך נשמעת כי תפילת הדבק בה’ יתעלה היא הנשמעת

התועלת השני הוא בדעות והוא שתפילת הטובים הדבקים בה’ יתעלה היא הנשמעת ולזה אמר שכבר תשמע תפילת אברהם עליו מפני היותו נביא כי הוא מפני זה דבק בה’ יתעלה כטעם והתענג על ה’ ויתן לך משאלת לבך אם על שדי יתענג יקרא אלוה בכל עת וכבר ביארנו אמיתת זה בביאורנו לספר איוב ובמאמר הרביעי מספר מלחמות ה’

  • I don't see how this is different from the Radak, which I mentioned in my edited question.
    – Harel13
    Mar 4, 2022 at 8:24
  • @Harel13 It’s a little more explicit and elaborate, but it is indeed quite similar.
    – Alex
    Mar 4, 2022 at 11:54

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