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The Bible’s Indecent Proposal

The storyline behind the 1993 film Indecent Proposal shocked many married Americans when it debuted in theaters 30 years ago. Unfortunately, the envelope has been pushed so far beyond what is good and decent that it takes a stunning plot like Indecent Proposal to get the attention of Christians. After losing all their money in Las Vegas, a couple is approached by a billionaire who offers a million dollars in exchange for one night with Diana. Yet, the Bible has its own indecent proposal.

And when he was about to enter into Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, I know that you are beautiful to behold. 12 So when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say, I beg of you, that you are [c]my sister, so that it may go well with me for your sake and my life will be spared because of you. 14 And when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into Pharaoh’s house [harem], Genesis 12:11-15.

Moses provides a summary of Abram’s call from God to leave Haran for another land beginning in Genesis 12:1. While a timeline is not mentioned, a famine forces Abram to reside in Egypt until this food shortage subsides. This sets the scene for a man who was called by God, but his action reveals that Abram had not fully trusted God on his way to a promised land. Subsequently, Abram tells Egyptian leaders that Sarai is his sister, lying to save his own life.

But the Lord scourged Pharaoh and his household with serious plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, She is my sister, so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her and get away [from here]! 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him, and they brought him on his way with his wife and all that he had, Genesis 12:17-20.

Abram’s indecent proposal opens the doors for Sarai to be added to Pharoah’s harem. While Moses doesn’t specify if Pharoah had sex with Sarai, he does take her to be his wife. Whatever this ceremony consisted of Abram was powerless to act. If Genesis 12 was made into a movie, Abram would have the same agonizing emptions as David Murphy in Indecent Proposal. As you consider the Bible’s version of Indecent Proposal, may the Holy Spirit guide you to make prudent decisions in the future.

by Jay Mankus

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