The Barren Wife


Image Credit – © Adamr | – Wet Lady Walking Cross River Photo

Written by Adam Arotti. Adam Arotti is an author of Jewish-themed erotica, highlighting the erotic elements in biblical and Talmudic stories, as well as capitalizing on the taboos created by Orthodox Judaism. Fresh, provocative and educational, his anthology of biblical erotica is well under way. He lives on the West Coast with his wife and children. Visit his temporary home at to stay tuned for more excerpts, stories and submissions! The following is an excerpt from “The Barren Wife”

Rated R

Abram stood on the crest of the sandy hilltop. Far off in the distance, he could see the thin blue strip that he knew signaled their approach to the Nile River. The Nile, and then Egypt. After months of wearying travel, they were finally nearing their destination; or at least, for someone like Abram, the next stage in his journey.

He looked around him. The plain was crowded with the animals, tents, bedrolls, campfires and smoke of countless caravans, families and groups of dusty and bedraggled travelers. Although it was early morning, already children were at play, scampering among the tents, kicking up more of the dirt that had become as a second skin to the weary group. Every day it seemed, some new contingency arrived, dirty and exhausted, with fresh stories of cities and towns ravaged by plague and famine, and the inevitable packs of brigands, thieves and marauders that would descend upon these hapless places, seeking to take advantage of the weakness of their inhabitants. Those who could, packed up what remained of their homes and set out for greener pastures.

Egypt was the greenest pasture in the region. The fresh water of the Nile still irrigated Egypt’s crops, and spared its population the dry aridity that now pervaded what was once the Fertile Crescent. And this was why thousands now converged on Egypt, with no plan other than to be as close as possible to water, the moisture of life and source of sustenance.

Many, Abram knew, would be turned away at the border. Egypt had little need for an overpopulation of dusty immigrants, and would be very particular with respect to whom it would grant entry. Abram had no doubt that G-d would protect him and his household, but he felt for poor souls who will have traveled so far, only to have their last vestiges of hope torn from them.

Abram sighed, and turned from the view of distant Egypt.

“We should be there the day after tomorrow, if we experience no further delays,” Abram addressed his bondsman, Eliezer, who was testing the tautness of the ropes that secured the entirety of Abram’s worldly possessions to his two camels.

“We’re ready to break camp as soon as you give the word, Abram.” Eliezer squinted in the rising sun.

“And where is my wife? And my nephew?”

“Lot went to retrieve one of your small cauldrons from one of the neighboring caravans, and Sarai is tending to one of the newborns who seems to have developed a rash of same kind. Both informed me that they would be but a few moments,” Eliezer reported competently.

“Yes, of course Sarai would be attending an infant.” Abram sighed again. He was well aware how much Sarai craved a child of her own. Their marriage had been passionate and stimulating, yet decades later, they were still childless. Sarai tried to compensate for her own lack by tending to every baby that entered her life; whether it was one of the servants’ children, a child from a neighboring town, or, in this case, the child of another woman simply traveling in the same direction.

Sensing the morose direction of Abram’s thoughts, Eliezer busied himself with rechecking the ties on the bundles. In more prosperous times, there had been many more bundles and many more camels. Now they were down to just these two, which were sufficient to carry all of Abram’s belongings, but no more. It pained Eliezer that Abram and Sarai were forced to endure such conditions, and particularly that they were compelled to travel on foot, but there simply wasn’t enough coin to purchase additional beasts of burden.

It was one thing for Abram, Lot and Eliezer. They were men, accustomed and well-suited to the rigors of long treks over desert dunes. Sarai, however, was a lady, and a beautiful one at that. Eliezer shook his head that such a lovely creature would be forced into such conditions. Yet Sarai embraced her circumstances with nary a complaint, nor even the slightest hint of dissatisfaction. She walked as far and for as long as the men, and then still took the energy to ensure that the servants– and, of course, the servants’ children – were faring just as well. As a result, she commanded the love, respect and loyalty of all of Abram’s household. It also helped that her beauty was extraordinary to behold, and many a man found himself seeking to serve her in some way simply to be in her presence to gaze upon her features, to watch the way she moved. There was nothing that any one of Abram’s house would not do for Sarai if she but hinted her desire of it. Unfortunately, the one thing that Sarai truly desired was the one thing that nobody, not even Abram, could give her: a child.

With Sarai, it always came back to a child. Eliezer shook his head abruptly, realizing that tending the camels had led his thoughts to the same place as Abram’s. Several yards away he saw Sarai rejoin Abram, and he watched them as they conferred quietly with each other. He saw Sarai shake her head vigorously, and then assume the stubborn posture that he knew so well – her hands resting on her lovely hips, which she thrust to one side, her head cocked to the other. He saw Abram shake his head gently and look heavenward, and he knew that their conversation was concluded. Then Abram approached him.

“We’re ready. I’d like to get an early start. Lot is old enough to follow on his own.” A shadow passed over Abram’s face.

Eliezer knew that Abram did not approve of the company that Lot kept, choosing to travel with the young brigands that invariably cropped up in any large group of travelers. It pained him that Lot did not seem to take to the same sense of grace and destiny that characterized Abram’s house. He took Lot’s lack of interest in the one G-d as a personal failure; a failure magnified by his own childlessness, as if to say, If I cannot raise my own child, at least let me be successful in raising my brother’s.

But Lot was not Abram’s son. He had been raised by Abram’s hedonistic and opportunistic brother, Haran. Abram did his best with the boy after Haran’s untimely death, but the habits of an unguided youth were already too far ingrained in Lot to wring out.

Eliezer sighed.

“I suppose he is. Did you discuss the change of route with Sarai?”

“I did.” Abram smiled wryly.


“She won’t hear of it, of course.” It was Abram’s turn to sigh, although his sigh was tinged with humor. “You should have seen the flash in her eyes when I suggested that we take the longer route to avoid crossing the river.” Abram did his best to mimic Sarai’s indignant tone. “‘That shallow thing? Shall we prolong our party’s journey for the sake of keeping dry the hem of my robe?’”

Eliezer smiled. Abram had captured Sarai’s tone and mannerisms well.

“And your instructions?”

Abram gave a hearty laugh. “My instructions? Have you ever known my instructions to be anything other than my wife’s wishes?”

“To the river then,” Eliezer grinned, and Abram grinned back. Sarai got what she wanted.

The tributary that they had to cross turned out to be more stream than river, although Sarai was gracious enough not to look too triumphant when they got there. Abram found a spot that looked to be the most shallow, and he crossed first with one of the camels to test the depth of the water and to ensure that riverbed was truly solid, and not merely a deceptive layer of silt. The water rose half-way up his thigh, and he emerged onto the opposite bank with his wet robes clinging to his legs. With a sigh, he signaled to Sarai to join him.

Abram watched Sarai gather the hem of her robe into her hands, and slowly step into the cold water. She paused, adjusting to the water, then, turned, as if responding to a sound of encouragement from someone behind her. Abram saw Eliezer answering some question that Sarai had posed, and he watched as other families and travelers arrived at the riverbank, beginning to form a line to cross at Abram’s spot.

Sarai turned back towards the river, and, catching Abram’s gaze, flashed him a smile. She waded further into the water, with each step lifting her robes higher and higher. It was a dance among two partners, the rising water closely following her ascending hem, always leaving only a tantalizing few inches of exposed flesh in between them.

Tantalizing. Abram recognized the sensation that Sarai’s crossing evoked before the word came to him. She was tantalizing, as she teased her hems up, over her knees, exposing the bottom of her shapely thighs. Inch by inch, the soft flesh of Sarai’s bare legs came into view, as the robe climbed ever higher.

Abram suddenly realized that he was not the only one mesmerized by Sarai’s progress. Eliezer stood on the other riverbank, watching her from behind as though transfixed. And there were several men from the other travelers that appeared to be unconsciously drifting from their own families as they descended to the edge of the river to watch Sarai’s passage.

At the same moment, it occurred to Abram that there was no way that Sarai would be able to lift her robe high enough to keep it dry. The water, in its deepest spot, had almost reached the tops of his own thighs, and he was at least of a head taller than Sarai. On Sarai, the water would certainly reach…

Abram swallowed as Sarai lifted the robe from her thighs. Though shaded by the hem bunched around her waist, Abram could clearly see the curves of her inner thighs reaching their shadowed apex just above the water, and just below her robe. If he strained his eyes, he could just make out the beginnings of the soft, hairless cleft between her legs. And he knew precisely what view Sarai afforded those behind her. With the cloth of her robe gathered over her belly, they were being presented with an unobstructed view of Sarai’s magnificent ass, her globes round, plump and beckoning.

Abram watched Sarai shudder as the cold water rose to kiss her most sensitive spot. After a moment, she seemed to relax, and Abram guessed that she was now at the river’s deepest point. Uphill from here.

Sarai found Abram’s eyes on her, and she winked at him with a quick grin. Then she gathered her robe to her stomach tightly, and waded determinedly across the remaining length of the river.

As she emerged, she did not immediately drop her robe, but rather allowed a few moments for the sun and the day’s heat to dry her before she let go of her robes, allowing them to drop back into place.

Covered once more, she arched her back, stretching, her arms spread wide outwards. She turned her face towards the sky, eyes closed, basking in the warmth of the sun.

When she opened her eyes, Abram was beside her.

“That was quite a spectacle,” he murmured close to her ear, his hand on the small of her back.

“Oh?” she asked, teasingly. “Did you like it?”

“Not just I,” Abram replied. She looked at the steady flow of travelers now crossing the river, and a slow blush overtook her lovely features.

“I don’t imagine they could see much from behind, could they?” she looked at Abram hopefully.

“I imagine they will all be comparing their wives to you this evening,” Abram replied, “for you are very nearly as beautiful from the back as you are from the front.” Then he frowned. “But it is not they that I was referring to.”

Abram tilted his head, and Sarai followed the direction of his glance. It was then that she saw them for the first time. Just over the crest leading down to the river. Three men lithe and muscled, each clad only in deep red loincloth with a round golden buckle in its center, securing the cloth to a slim waist. Gold bands adorned their wrists and upper arms, and red headdresses sat atop heads of jet-black hair. Although their posture was relaxed as they conversed with one another, each man held a spear. The metal glinted in the sunlight.

And even as they spoke to each other, their eyes were fixed on Sarai.

“Are they Egyptians?” Sarai whispered to Abram.

“Not just Egyptians,” Abram spoke quietly. “From the look of their waist-buckles, these belong to Pharaoh’s guard. And you seem to have caught their attention…” His voice trailed off. The guards looked back at them, still talking. Then they seemed to have to come to some decision.

Abruptly, Abram turned to face Sarai, holding her arms.

“Sarai, listen closely and quickly. You are an extraordinarily beautiful woman, and you have just exhibited quite a bit of that beauty. These men will have never seen a woman such as yourself…” He shook his head.

Sarai rolled her eyes. Abram was so prone to exaggeration.

“No, listen, my love,” Abram said forcefully, and Sarai was alarmed at the intensity in his tone. “The Egyptians have a culture that is far different than that of the Chaldeans.” Abram paused.

“They do not share their women; they must possess them fully and exclusively. Unfortunately, if they desire a woman who is already bound to another, they have no compunction about killing him so that she is no longer so bound.

“While I’m not sure that we have anything to fear from these men themselves – not with Eliezer, Lot, myself, and our fellow travelers about – I suspect that these are Pharaoh’s men. They will almost certainly seek to secure such a beautiful prize as yourself for their master; and I am equally certain that if they think you are my wife, they will contrive to kill me, so that you may be free to belong to Pharaoh.”

A pallor descended over Sarai’s face.

“What will we do?” she asked, her voice quavering.

“They’re coming,” Abram said in a low voice. From the corner of her eye, Sarai could see that he was correct. The three Egyptians were slowly sauntering in their direction. Abram saw panic in her look. His own eyes darted about him, measuring the distance of the guards, Eliezer’s slow progress across the river. Lot, as always, lagged behind. Few of the male travelers had yet crossed the river, and there was no reason to expect even them to come to Abram’s aid, should aid be required.

“Sarai,” he took her hands, and looked into her eyes. “We must buy time, and hopefully, our lives. You must promise to do exactly as I say. Can you do that?”

He waited for her to nod her consent.

“Here is what we will do. If anybody asks you – anybody – say only that you are my sister – not my wife. Never my wife.”

Sarai’s face was a mask of fear and confusion. Then, as she understood the implications of Abram’s words, it darkened, her fear replaced by anger. “What do you mean??” she asked furiously. “Are you planning on letting them take me from you? And besides, everyone here already knows that I’m your wife! You must have a better plan than this!”

Her words hit their mark, and Abram cringed visibly.

“Sarai, my dove,” he said, pleadingly. “I fear that the very fact that these men are approaching us at this moment means that you will be taken from me. But I have no doubt that G-d will protect you, and that he will restore you to me. In the meantime, however, please, say that you are my sister. In this way, they will see me, not as competition to be quietly eliminated, but as a brother to be honored. This will give me more time and opportunity to find a way out of this for both of us.”

Sarai’s cheeks burned crimson.

“You have no doubt that G-d will protect me as your sister, you say? Yet you have every doubt that G-d will protect you as my husband, or me as your wife?” she scoffed, and then she shook her head in disbelief.

She immediately felt guilty. She had never spoken to Abram so. And yet never had Abram displayed such shaken faith. Something was not right here; but the Egyptians had almost reached them, and the time for conversation was over. There would be no time to discover what was amiss. She breathed deeply, and made her decision.

“I will tell them you are my brother. I will stick to your plan. But do not complain if I am overly convincing in playing my role as a single woman.” She meant to speak harshly; she meant to threaten him. But a small slow smile curled his lips.

“I shall not complain. You are so irresistible, I suspect that Pharaoh will not even think to question your story.”

She glared at him. And then the Egyptians were there, peppering them with questions in their strange, guttural tongue. Abram could speak it of course. How did Abram know so many things? But these Egyptians could also speak a halting Chaldean, enough for her to discern that they were asking her who she was. She knew that this was the moment to confirm the nature of her relationship with Abram.

She pointed at Abram. Brother. She pointed at Abram then herself. Sister. They understood. There were suddenly nods and smiles all around. Abram had been right. Sarai’s confirmation that she was Abram’s sister had dispelled an undercurrent of tension that she did not even realize had been there until it was gone. Abram no longer presented an obstacle to Pharaoh.

And Sarai was now available to the ruler of Egypt.