I find something very strange. Lot gets kidnapped; Avraham goes to war to get him back. Sarah his wife gets kidnapped; he does and says nothing. What is with this very strange discrepancy?

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    Note as well that according to the Ramban (Gen 12:10), Abraham committed a grave sin, albeit by accident, in allowing Sarah to be kidnapped: ודע כי אברהם אבינו חטא חטא גדול בשגגה שהביא אשתו הצדקת במכשול עון מפני פחדו פן יהרגוהו.
    – Shimon bM
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 6:44

2 Answers 2


The Zohar says that Avraham was confident that his wife's merits would protect her (see here).

If so, it is readily understandable why Avraham had to go to war for Lot. Lot did not have the merit to protect himself.


The discrepancy between the three kidnapping cases in Bereishit- twice with Sarah (Pharaoh in 12:10–20 and later by Gerar's king 20:1–18) and once with Lot (14:12–18), is that Lot was taken as an act of war (spoils), so he responded with an act of war in return. Sarah, on the other hand, was taken by the two kings while Abraham was a guest in their respective countries. Abraham told the two kings that she was his sister, in a bid to save his life, since apparently the king of a locale had rights on the women within his domain – similar to the "right of first night" allegedly enjoyed by some Medieval Lords and definitely enjoyed by some Ottoman Sultans as late as the 1800s – see here. He would have been unable to make war on Egypt with just his servants he was sojourning with, so, yes, he left it up to HaShem to protect his wife's virtue.

...or, as a humorous aside, maybe he figured he could always get another wife, but couldn't get another sister...

  • Interesting idea. Is it yours, or did you hear or see it somewhere?
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 1:17
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    ...the question just had me perusing Bereishit and thinking "Yeah, why IS there a discrepancy?"...my wife(!) helped me with the last line...
    – Gary
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 4:36

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