Through the Window


Image Credit : Lady in Lace by Patricia Allingham Carlson

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! For more Jewrotica writing by Adam Arotti, check out The Barren Wife.

Rated R

He loved watching her bathe. The mere vision of her nourished his soul.

She would not come to bathe every day, but when she did, she would usually come in the late morning, when her nephews joined their father out in the fields.

On much rarer occasions, he would catch a glimpse of her in the marketplace as his royal retinue passed through. When he did, he would invariably come up with a reason for his servants to halt his carriage, as his eyes drank her in. The dust and the grime of the marketplace did little to subdue her natural beauty which, like a sparkling gem, would stand out in any environment. There was a timeless quality to her looks – he guessed that she was anywhere between twenty and forty years old – and had no need for the face-paints that were so common among less endowed women.

In the market though, she would be invariably and tirelessly preoccupied. She would be managing the boys, kindly but firmly, guiding them through the marketplace, making sure that their wandering hands were kept to themselves, that they properly thanked each and every vendor with whom they transacted, and that they shared generously of their new purchases with the many beggars that made their home in the streets of G’rar. She would be simultaneously in discussions with her brother regarding the quality of this cloth, or the condition of this fruit; and the inevitable haggling over price was left in her capable hands. She had a discerning eye – as much for the character of the vendors as for the quality of the goods that they sold – and it would not be unusual for Abimelekh to see a grudging look of admiration in a vendor’s eyes after their business was concluded that had nothing to do with her beauty.

Despite her simple attire and the relative squalor of her surroundings, she was possessed of a regal bearing, and both her posture and her sense of dignity put in Abimelekh’s mind that of a queen, rather than the sister of a farmer. Not a queen of Philistia – oh no. Those frail, whimpering creatures could not hold a candle to this one. No, this was a queen of perhaps the entire region – nay, even the world – who must have chosen to live for a time amongst her subjects disguised as an unassuming farmer. Abimelekh was in awe of her.

Still, Abimelekh much preferred it when she came to the palace to bathe; then, she would be alone, she would be relaxed, and she would be all his.

And she would be naked, of course.

A sigh of contentment escaped him as she reached up behind her to undo her long braid of shiny black hair, her delicate fingers separating the dark tresses, and then a practiced toss of her head merging them into a single lustrous mane. When her hands moved to untie the knot of her simple green dress just below her neck, he watched, breathlessly. His own hand moved to the windowsill as hers separated the ties of her dress. She shrugged her shoulders and shimmied her body as her dress slid off of her body, pooling about her feet beneath the tree. Her nude body was glorious to behold.

For a moment, she glanced over her shoulder self-consciously. Did she suspect that Abimelekh watched surreptitiously from his window? He suddenly noticed that his mouth had been open for quite some time, and had grown uncomfortably dry. He reached for his goblet and sipped wine, his eyes never leaving her, then placed it on the stone of the window still. It thrilled him that she might turn and spot the goblet in the window, and deduce that someone – perhaps the one – was watching her from the palace as she bathed. Feeling the stirrings of arousal, Abimelekh adjusted his robes to allow his desire to swell without hindrance as Rebecca stepped out of the ring of her crumpled dress and prepared to enter the pool.

Water was a commodity in the dusty city of G’rar. The Great Sea was more than eight parsecs away, its water wasn’t drinkable, and the brine in the water tended to eventually erode garments of even the most durable quality. The G’rar River was a nearby tributary, but the water was muddy and murky, and it dried up entirely during the summer.

In the past, Abimelekh knew, his family had been a group of mere desert nomads, which ruled over other desert nomads in the area simply by virtue its superior size and the fact that it had been there first. Water had always been an issue. During droughts, Abimelekh’s family had always been forced to move closer to water, and always at the risk of losing their stake in G’rar. Yet by the grace of the gods, human connivery and, occasionally, the point of a sword, they always managed to hold on to their territory.

At some point, though, some enterprising foreigners passing through the region managed to dig deeply enough into the earth to uncover living springs, providing an endless supply of fresh, clean water. According to the family history, some eighty years ago, Abimelekh’s father had commandeered the closest of these springs, and rebuilt his palace around it. A shrewd man, he realized the wealth that would be his to command with a monopoly over the fresh water supply in the area; thus, his servants had instructions to discourage further searches for other springs and the digging of wells. Transgressors who were caught digging were forcibly removed from the area, and any holes that they had managed to dig would be refilled with dirt. Eventually, the number of would-be-diggers willing to incur the ire of the king – and risk the undoing of their labor – dwindled, and Abimelekh father’s monopoly over fresh water was assured

Then, as a magnanimous monarch, full of concern for his subjects, Abimelekh’s father announced that he would be opening the palace pools to the public for a nominal fee. The spring both filled the several pools scattered over the palace grounds, and irrigated the beautiful gardens that Abimelekh’s household worked constantly to maintain. Hence began the tradition of bathing in the palace gardens, and the origin of the oft-used expression, “palace clean,” where one might ask of another, “are you clean?” to which the other would respond, “palace clean!”

The women who made use of the public pools on the palace grounds certainly knew that there was little opportunity for privacy. At least in the palace, though, the pools were surrounded by walls and gardens lush with trees and shrubbery, so there were several obstacles that might interrupt one’s view of the pools from a distance. The pools were shared with the many birds that rejected the aridity of the desert outside, and chose to make their nests in the tall trees of the palace gardens. They would preen and splash in the water, chirping with delight, and lending to the idyllic quality of the palace grounds.

Those who attempted to bathe in the G’rar River, on the other hand, where the riverside foliage was sparse, found themselves fully exposed to both the desert elements as well as as to any onlookers – and ended up hardly any cleaner than when they began.

Rebecca herself had cleverly picked a time when most men were busy at work, and most of the palace staff would be engaged in their daily chores. So, in truth, the pools and gardens were fairly empty at this time of the day. Perhaps Abimelekh was even the only one to be watching the pools.

Even Abimelekh was not one to spare the time to sit and watch the female bathers; he was a busy man, his own wives were quite comely, and he did not lack for female beauty or companionship in his life. He himself was tall and broad-shouldered, if somewhat portly, and if the women that vied eagerly for his bed noticed his prematurely thinning hair or his rather smaller endowment, they certainly pretended not to. Thus did Abimelekh enjoy as robust and as frequent a sex life as any king might. Nevertheless, his personal attendant knew to inform him whenever she came to bathe. A quickly-whispered message in his ear, and Abimelekh would set aside his royal affairs and excuse himself to find his favorite chair by the window overlooking the pool that he knew Rebecca frequented.

She was an exquisite creature, her every curve, every line, combining harmoniously into a masterful work of art, a symphony of feminine allure. Abimelekh found watching her to be restorative, her vision filling his senses and stimulating his imagination. He always found himself with increased vitality after watching her.

He watched her now.

Her dark brown locks hung from her head, freed of their braid, concealing most of her back. They stopped just short of a narrow waist that swelled outwards in perfectly-curved hips; hips that swayed seductively as she took the few short steps to the edge of the pool. Her hips framed a heart-shaped set of buttocks that drove Abimelekh very nearly insane with lust. Delectably round and plump, they cast a tantalizing shadow over smooth, strong thighs that tapered into a pair of long and shapely legs.

How often had he imagined approaching her from behind? In his mind he would come to her quietly – silent enough so as not to disturb the tranquil stillness of the gardens, but loud enough so as not to startle her. She would know he was there, but would not turn around; she would understand that this, their first encounter, would be a purely sensual one, without burdening it with the complexity and emotional commitment that would result from looking into each other’s eyes. That would come later.

Lowering his hands, he would, ever so gently, cup her flushed, swollen cheeks in his palms. Would she jump at the contact? Would she feel the caress in his touch? Would she detect his worshipfulness as his splayed fingers stretched to engulf as much of her as they physically could? He would slowly move his hands apart, separating her cheeks, and momentarily allowing the cool morning air to waft over her nether regions, liberating her womanly scent. Sitting at the window, Abimelekh inhaled deeply, imagining her musky aroma, the smell of her silky hair, the fragrance of her delectable body.

“Your Majesty.”

“What?” Abimelekh jumped, both startled and annoyed by the interruption. His personal attendant stood at the entrance to the chamber, his head bowed. “I thought I told you that I was not to be disturbed!”

“I deeply apologize, Your Majesty, but Pikhol was most insistent that he see you at once.”

Pikhol. Abimelekh’s chief of guard and mentor. Pikhol had been a young man when he had served and counseled Abimelekh’s father. He was a stout and weathered man, gifted in the arts of both warfare and diplomacy. Nor had his gifts failed him in old age; although his eyes were no longer as sharp at they had once been, and his limbs no longer obeyed his commands as swiftly as they had in his youth, his keen mind was ever alert.

Yes, Pikhol would want to see him at this precise moment. Pikhol knew of his obsession, and strongly disapproved – both of his window voyeurism, and of his pursuit of this particular woman.


When she had first arrived with her family, Abimelekh was immediately struck by her extraordinary beauty. After some discreet inquiries, he discovered that her name was Rebecca, and she travelled with her brother, Isaac, who had been recently widowed in Be’er Sheba. They, like many others, were escaping the famine that plagued the southeast, and had sufficient coin to pay for the water available in G’rar. Abimelekh, who prided himself on his discerning eye, concluded that Isaac and Rebecca likely shared the same father but a different mother. There were certain similarities in their faces, but on the whole, their features were too distinct to make it likely that they were full siblings. Isaac’s two sons, Jacob and Esau, called Rebecca “aunt.” They, too, looked so different from each other that Abimelekh wondered whether they might have been born to different mothers.

Rebecca herself was an enigma. She wore her lustrous hair uncovered and in a single braid in the way of unmarried girls. Yet it was hard to believe that a woman such as Rebecca had never been married. She was the kind of woman who would have had an endless stream of eligible suitors seeking her hand. Who were her parents? Where were they? Why did they not provide for her, a daughter such as she? Why was she traveling with her brother? Was she married but widowed?

She moved with the feminine grace and confidence of a woman who has known a man. Her clothing was demure and modest, but mature, the clothing of a married woman well taken care of. And Rebecca’s interactions with her nephews were so motherly that they bespoke a set of highly-developed maternal instincts, suggesting experience in child-rearing. Did she not have any of her own children? How long had she been living with Isaac and his sons?

Pikhol didn’t like enigmas; he was suspicious of anything that he did not fully understand. So when Abimelekh announced his intentions to court Rebecca, Pikhol forbade it.

“You ‘forbid’ it, Pikhol?” Abimelekh laughed, as he sat his bulk on the large cushioned chair in his private chamber. “And how will you enforce your unreasonable edict against your king?”

“Am I speaking to my king, or to my friend, whom I have counseled since he was but a babe?” Pikhol retorted.

“Speak as a friend then,” Abimelekh said, jovially.

“As a friend,” Pikhol said firmly, “you must not do this, for the following reasons.”

He ticked them off with his fingers.

“First, you already have six wives. They are all comely of appearance, and they are eager to perform their marital duties to you. You should be content with a marital life that most men only dream of. Moreover, as you are aware, the existing peace among your wives is already tenuous; introducing another would upset that delicate balance that we have scarcely managed to achieve.”

Abimelekh smiled, cocking his head in amusement at Pikhol’s concern for his marital bliss. Pikhol ignored him and continued.

“Second, most of your marriages were entered into to form alliances. The families of your wives would be most aggrieved to learn that you would so cheaply offer your hand in marriage to an unknown stranger, offering no strategic or economic benefit to your people.”

Abimelekh opened his mouth to speak, but Pikhol held up his hand.

“Wait,” he said. “Let me finish. Third, I am suspicious of this woman. Too many questions swirl around her. Where is she from? Why is she here? Why is she unmarried? She lives on the outskirts of G’rar. Why has she not moved into the city? Why is she not seeking exposure among our many eligible unmarried men? Why has she turned down every invitation to parties, festivals, and performances? Why has she steadfastly rejected the many courtship proposals that have been delivered to her? All of these unanswered questions tell me that something is not right here.”

At his words Abimelekh sat up straight.

“She has been receiving other proposals?” His brow furrowed. “Then I must make mine immediately, lest she accept another’s first!”

“Abimelekh!” Exasperated, Pikhol pounded his fist against wood-paneled wall. “You are not listening! You sound, not like a king, but as a love-sick boy, and for a woman that you haven’t even met!”

Abimelekh looked stunned by Pikhol’s outburst. His face reddened, and his hands gripped the chair’s armrests tightly. Then a wry smile turned his lips.

“You have only ever called me by name when you were angry with me.”

“As I am now,” Pikhol confirmed gruffly. “You are, as ever, too stubborn and proud to see the errors in your judgment.” He paused, expecting to be contradicted. When he saw that Abimelekh waited for him to continue, he went on.

“Yes, she has been receiving proposals – and she has rejected each one.”

“So perhaps she is awaiting a proposal from someone of a loftier position.” Abimelekh suggested meaningfully. He idly fingered the tapestry on the wall closest to him as he imagined winning her. To possess such a rare treasure! She would be the jewel of his harem! Surely his other wives and their families could be made to understand; no – they would but need to see her in order to understand.

“No, no,” Pikhol responded irritably, breaking into his reverie. “I don’t think that’s it at all. She is not holding out for someone better. There is something else there. Something that I cannot put my finger on. The problem is, I don’t know her. I don’t understand her. And it’s my job to protect you from harm – whether that harm comes from the tip of an enemy’s sword, or from the greed of your lust for a pretty face.”

“She is pretty, isn’t she,” Abimelekh grinned.

“She is that,” Pikhol nodded gravely. “But that’s no reason to compromise either yourself or your reign. At least let us wait.” His voice turned to pleading. “Let us do nothing for the time being, and perhaps our sources will be able to discover more about this Rebecca. Then we can revisit the question of whether she is fit to be this king’s consort. Can you agree to at least that?”

Pikhol fixed Abimelekh with a stern look. But looking into Pikhol’s eyes, Abimelekh saw his genuine concern and affection for a king whom Pikhol still saw as a lad. Such loyalty and care warmed him. Still, Rebecca inflamed his imagination, and the thought of her available, untaken, like a rare flower waiting to be plucked, caused his heart to hammer in his chest, and filled him with sense of desperate urgency. For a long while, Abimelekh stared off into the distance.

“I agree.” Abimelekh finally conceded, the reluctance evident in his voice. “We will wait. And watch.”

Pikhol’s shoulders sagged with visible relief. Then he straightened up, and formality returned to his voice.

“You have made a wise decision, my king. And now I must attend to other matters that require my attention.”

Abimelekh waived his hand at Pikhol absently, and Pikhol bowed low before exiting the chamber.


Lately, it seemed that Pikhol had an urgent need to see him at the precise moment that Abimelekh was watching Rebecca bathe.

“Tell Pikhol that I am otherwise occupied, and that I will see him in an hour.” Abimelekh ordered in his most commanding voice. His attendant bowed low, and left to deliver his king’s message.

Abimelekh sighed, and returned his gaze to the window. The unwanted interruption had caused him to miss Rebecca’s descent into the water. She was now nearly completely submerged, the water up to her chin, her ebony tresses floating about her like an ornate fan. There was little else he could see from this distance until she emerged.

When she finally did emerge, Abimelekh sat forward in his chair, watching intently.

As she always did, Rebecca stepped from the pool with her arms in front of her, her hands cupping her sex, concealing it from view. Abimelekh stared at her, willing her to remove her hands and to expose the soft treasure that he knew lay beneath. However, her blocking her sex was not without its benefits, as her arms crossed her body, pressing her full breasts together and enhancing their prominence on her chest. They bounced enticingly as she moved towards her dress. Then, Abimelekh knew, she would face the pool again, bend down, lift her dress over body, and then tie it closed beneath her wet hair.

Suddenly, however, Rebecca’s head turned sharply in the direction of the entrance of the gardens. A beatific smile dawned on her lovely face, and her hands fell from their protective position between her legs as she stretched her arms out in welcome to an unseen visitor.

For a split second, before she turned, Abimelekh was rewarded with an unobstructed view of that precious triangle between her thighs. He was both startled and aroused to notice that her flawless, creamy complexion flowed from her belly to her thighs, uninterrupted by the hair that he had expected to find guarding her entrance. Rebecca’s sex was entirely bare.

Abimelekh burned with a mixture of curiosity, jealousy and lust. What unmarried woman takes pains to beautify her sex by removing all of her pubic hair? And with whom could Rebecca possibly be so familiar with that she would abandon all care and modesty in a show of welcome? And – the most urgent question of all – who is it that right now that has the opportunity to gaze upon Rebecca’s most intimate spot?

“Isaac!” Rebecca’s voice rang out in the garden. Hushed words answered her, and she giggled, her laughter like crystal chimes.

Isaac? Isaac? Her brother? Abimelekh’s mind raced furiously. Why would her brother be here? Well, obviously, he wishes to bathe as well. But why wouldn’t the arrival of her brother prompt a greater degree of modesty on her part? Why would she be standing, naked as the day she was born, with her arms out to her brother in greeting?

And then Isaac entered his view, his swift strides bringing him closer and closer to his sister. Abimelekh watched, spellbound, as he finally reached her, grabbing her to him and lifting her off of her feet in a vigorous embrace. She began to giggle once again – ah, that giggle! – but Isaac cut her off by firmly planting his mouth on her own. Abimelekh watched her beautiful body slacken, as she surrendered all of her energy to Isaac’s kiss. Their heads were tilted in opposite directions, and Abimelekh knew that she was being kissed deeply and passionately. As though the world at slowed, he watched Isaac’s hands reached down to clutch her fleshy buttocks, the objects of Abimelekh’s dreams, pulling her to him. She cooperated by jumping into Isaac’s embrace, wrapping her legs around his waist. Soon the soft sounds of her passion were loud enough to reach the window.

What kind of indecency was this? Abimelekh’s mind was on fire. He desired her. He hated her. Was this why she showed no interest in being courted by other men? Because she was in love with her brother?

“Not her brother.” Pikhol said, as though he read Abimelekh’s thoughts, his voice gentle in its sadness. Abimelekh had not even noticed that Pikhol had entered the room and now stood behind him, witnessing the same disturbing scene.

“Not her brother?” Abimelekh repeated weakly. He could not comprehend Pikhol’s words, nor the spectacle that was occurring before his eyes from which he could not tear himself away.

He watched Isaac carry Rebecca to where her dress still lay on the floor of the garden. Gently, he laid her down on top of the dress, and then stood to remove his own robes. Lying on her back, the soles of her feet flat against the ground, Rebecca looked up at him, his erection bobbing above her. Again, she giggled, and made a show of looking to the right and to the left. She snapped her legs shut. Isaac growled audibly and crouched before her, gripping her knees. She laughed as he tried to forcibly pry them apart, and then willingly surrendered, throwing her legs open to him. Isaac climbed between them, positioning himself above her, and then slowly lowered himself into her. The expression on her beautiful face changed immediately from playful mirth to intense pleasure. Wider and wider her thighs spread, until Isaac’s body was firmly between them.

His eyes glued to the erotic scene, Abimelekh watched Isaac thrust into Rebecca; he watched Rebecca throw her head back in ecstasy, her hips moving in sync with his, her back arched with pleasure.

“Not her brother.” Pikhol repeated firmly. “Her husband.”

Abimelekh squinted. His head pounded, and he wanted to retreat into the cool darkness of the chamber and his own mind, but he still could not bring himself to leave the window.

“I don’t understand,” he managed. “She married her brother?”

Pikhol sighed.

“No, my king.” He placed his hands on Abimelekh’s shoulders and forcibly turned him around to face him, his back to the window. “Isaac and Rebecca are not siblings. They never were siblings. They share no parents. They are husband and wife.”

Abimelekh was still not comprehending.

“But, everyone knows that they are siblings.”

Pikhol shook is head. “Everyone ‘knows’ only what they were told when Isaac and Rebecca first arrived to our city,” Pikhol snorted. “Having no reason to disbelieve them, we took them at their word.”

“Why would they do that?” Abimelekh was still confused.

Pikhol sighed again. In the background, they could hear Rebecca’s ardent cries as she reached her climax. Abimelekh shook his head, banishing the sound and the accompanying image, and focused his attention on Pikhol.

“Let me tell you a story,” he said. “It is a story that I had completely forgotten until several days ago.” He began to pace the chamber.

“Many years ago, before you were born, before Isaac was born, we were visited by a man and woman, Abraham and Sarah. Like Rebecca, she was a beautiful woman, a rare bird. Oh, she was beautiful, indeed. Breathtakingly so.” A dreamlike note crept into Pikhol’s voice and his eyes looked into the distance as he retrieved his memory of her. Then he cleared his throat and continued.

“Like Rebecca, she claimed to be Abraham’s brother, and they entered the city introducing each other as siblings. Soon word of both her beauty and her unwed status reached your father.

“I was then too young and inexperienced to imbue your father with the same sense of caution that I was successfully able to impart to you – and, to be honest, I too was completely taken with her allure. So when your father heard of her great beauty, he sent for her, intending to make her his wife. He provided her with the very best chamber in the women’s quarters, to the extreme envy of his other wives, and planned to marry her the very next day.

“That night, your father had a dream. In his dream, a god – that your father somehow knew as ‘Elokim’ – came to him, and warned him not to lay a hand on Sarah. He warned him that, despite her words, Sarah was Abraham’s lawfully-wedded wife, and that lying with her would be a grave sin for which both he and his household would suffer an equally grave punishment. When your father awoke, the dream was as vivid to him as when he had been asleep, and he was very disturbed. His concern grew when he learned that, overnight, the entire household had become afflicted with a rare disease, in which every bodily orifice found itself blocked.”

Pikhol stood in place, shaking his head at the troubling memory. Abimelekh’s eyes were wide, listening to the story intently.

“That morning,” Pikhol continued, “your father summoned Abraham, and confronted him regarding Sarah. Abraham admitted that Sarah was, indeed, his wife, but explained that he had felt the lie to be necessary. You see, he was concerned that Sarah’s beauty was so great that one with a sufficiently immoral character might contrive to kill him, as her husband, in order to free her to be married to another.”

“Immoral enough to commit murder, but moral enough to avoid adultery?” Abimelekh asked skeptically. Then the light of understanding dawned on Abimelekh’s face. “So, you think that Isaac might have arrived here with similar concerns.”

“I am certain of it,” Pikhol said simply.

He watched Abimelekh, and new that he was going back now, trying to reassemble all of the puzzle pieces in light of this new possibility. Then he saw Abimelekh set his jaw, and Pikhol knew that Abimelekh had arrived at the same conclusion, as uncomfortable as it was for him to think of the implications.

“So what happened in the end? With Abraham and Sarah?” Abimelekh asked with some strain in his voice.

“Ah,” Pikhol resumed his pacing. “Well, smartly, your father took Elokim’s advice, and asked Abraham to pray for him. For all of us,” Pikhol added wistfully. “He did, and sure enough, the affliction vanished as quickly as it had arrived. Your father lavished Abraham and Sarah with gifts, and sent them on their way. They actually camped not far from here. Your father and Abraham had several dealings after that. In fact, the two of them founded Be’er Sheba.”

For a few moments, silence filled the chamber. Pikhol waited for Abimelekh to ask his next question, but when he did not, Pikhol spoke again.

“Still, just because Abraham did it, didn’t mean that Isaac had done the same thing. It could simply have been coincidental that two different men, a generation apart, came to live in G’rar with strikingly beautiful sisters.”

Abimelekh nodded. “And yet you are sure that it is more than a coincidence.” It was a statement, not a question.

“Yes,” Pikhol acknowledged. “But because I knew of your keen interest in the woman, I wanted to be absolutely certain. I remembered that, about a year after Abraham and Sarah moved to G’rar, they had their first child. It was enormous news at the time, given that both Abraham and Sarah were well past child-bearing age. I remember it particularly well, though, as there was some speculation that Sarah’s brief stay in the palace had something to do with her pregnancy.” Pikhol’s face darkened slightly at the recollection. Then he sniffed, shrugged his shoulders and went on.

“That rumor was thoroughly debunked, but it certainly made the birth stand out in my mind. So, I went back and checked the birth records. Do you want to know what the child’s name was?”


Abimelekh stared at him.

Isaac. You think Isaac –”

“—is Abraham’s son,” Pikhol finished. “Yes, I am certain of it. All of this occurred about seventy-five years ago, and Isaac is in his seventies.” Pikhol leaned against the wall of the chamber and rubbed his jaw. “I think Isaac probably heard of how his father tried to protect himself when he came to G’rar, and he decided to try the same thing. Perhaps he felt that the threat to Abraham had only been averted once Abraham was under your father’s protection – but he had no guaranty that he would enjoy the same protection.”

Abimelekh stood, and returned to the window. The garden was empty. Isaac and Rebecca were gone. He turned his head.

“So what do you suggest I do now?” he asked quietly.

Pikhol came up behind him.

“About Isaac? Or Rebecca?” he asked softly.

“About Isaac. About both of them. Oh, curse it!” Abimelekh swore. “Yes, about Rebecca. I can’t get her out of my mind.”

Pikhol placed his weathered hand gently onto Abimelekh’s shoulder.

“You need to let her go, my king. You must let her go, and never ever give Isaac cause to feel that his concerns about either you or your subjects were justified.” He spoke kindly but firmly.

“And you must confront Isaac. Because even though the circumstances are different, even though you never took Rebecca, you very well might have.”

Abimelekh ignored the admonishing note in Pikhol’s voice.

“And one your subjects still might,” Pikhol continued, “which would be an unacceptable stain upon your reign and the reputation of your people.”

Abimelekh nodded in agreement. “So the lie must be exposed. Agreed. What else?”

“Well, if Isaac is truly the son of Abraham, then he is a powerful ally. Anyone who enjoys Elokim’s personal protection and blessing is someone that you want to have on your side.” Pikhol resumed his pacing. “In fact, this time, it would seem that righteousness – which is the only kind of leverage that you need with a son of Abraham – is definitively on your side. For not only were your citizens lied to, but when your father and Abraham founded Be’er Sheba, your father made swear that he would not lie to your father or his son or grandson, that he would reciprocate the kindness that your father showed to him to both your father and the land.
“How do you know all this?” Abimelekh inquired, skeptically.

“Because I was there,” Pikhol smiled. “I’m a living witness. It was a long time ago, but my memory of that day is still as clear as though it happened a year ago. I do not doubt that Isaac will believe me, and that he will see his father’s oath as binding upon him as well.”

“So,” Abimelekh summarized, “confront him respectfully. Point out that I am the aggrieved righteous party, remind him of his father’s oath, and strike up an alliance.”

“Yes.” Pikhol concurred.

“And give up Rebecca.” His expression was sour, and Pikhol knew that this would be the most difficult condition of the future alliance.

“My king,” Pikhol ventured soothingly, “Rebecca was never yours to give up. She has been another man’s wife from the moment that you first laid eyes upon her. You must reconcile yourself to that, and let her go.”

Abimelekh sat heavily in his chair and stared out the window. The sun was high over the eastern skies, its reflection shimmering in the garden pools. The flow of afternoon bathers had begun to populate the gardens. That Rebecca had graced these same gardens but an hour before seemed a distant memory.
Abimelekh turned his head to Pikhol.

“So shall it be done,” he commanded. “Summon Isaac at once.”

So Abimelekh called Isaac, and he said, “Behold, she is your wife; so how could you have said, ‘She is my sister’?”

And Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die because of her.'”

And Abimelekh said, “What have you done to us? The most prominent of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”

And Abimelekh commanded all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall be put to death.”


This short story is based upon five verses in Genesis, Chapter 26. In those verses, Isaac moves to the Philistine city of G’rar, where he continues his father Abraham’s practice of passing off his beautiful wife as his sister.

In Abraham’s travels, however, both times that he and his wife Sarah pretended to be siblings, she was indeed, apprehended by the king of the city to which they had journeyed – first to Pharaoh in Egypt, and then to Abimelekh in Philistia. Conversely, in the case of Isaac and Rebecca, despite Rebecca’s great beauty, she remains unmolested, and over time, she and Isaac lower their guard. Thus, “it came to pass, when he had been there for many days, that Abimelekh, the king of the Philistines, looked out of the window, and he saw, and behold, Isaac was jesting with Rebecca his wife.”

It is generally understood by the major biblical commentaries that “jesting with his wife” is a euphemism for sex. In other words, Abimelekh looked through the window and saw Isaac having sex with his wife. How scandalous! Several commentaries trip over themselves trying to apologize for Isaac and Rebecca’s brazen conduct, which would never be tolerated in today’s sexual culture. How could they have sex in front of an open window?! And during the day yet?!

Their behavior is particularly shocking when you examine the Hebrew word for “looked out of the window” – Vayashkeif – which indeed means looking out of the window. So this was not Abimelekh passing by Isaac and Rebecca’s tent and looking in to their window (if tents even have windows); this was Abimelekh looking out of his own window at Isaac and Rebecca having sex. How did they come to be having sex in view of Abimelekh’s window – and so close that he could look out and recognize the participants?

This story attempts to provide the context for our patriarchs’ “scandalous” behavior, and seeks to answer several other questions in the process.

For example:

  • Vayashkeif not only means “looking out,” but it denotes a deliberate viewing. Why was Abimelekh deliberately looking out of his window?
  • Why did Abimelekh later confront Isaac saying “the most prominent of the people might easily have lain with your wife,” if so much time had passed and he had made no overtures towards Rebecca?
  • Why was he so protective over Isaac and Rebecca immediately after discovering that Rebecca was actually Isaac’s wife?
  • How does a married couple with teenage children simply start pretending that they are siblings?
  • How would Rebecca have altered her appearance to support her role as an unmarried woman?
  • The Abimelekh that confronted Isaac (Abimelekh II) is the son and heir of the Abimelekh that took his mother, Sarah (Abimelekh I), although they both shared the same name or title. However, there is nothing to suggest that the Pikhol who accompanied Abimelekh II (several verses later, in Genesis 26:26) was anyone other than the same Pikhol who had accompanied Abimelekh I in his dealings with Abraham. What role would Pikhol have played in this new episode?
  • Both Abraham and Isaac are described as men who dug wells in the area, and who had altercations with the Philistines, who would either claim the wells as their own, or fill up the wells dug by Abraham. Why would they fill up wells in a parched land, which frequently suffered from drought?

In this story, I have attempted to weave together the biblical verses, the major commentaries, the historical context, and some of the details of the episode that tend to get overlooked, while preserving the righteousness and dignity of our second Patriarch/Matriarch pair. But of course, as is the case with most of my work, the primary purpose of the story is to illustrate the sex-positive lives of those after whom our own are modeled, and to do my bit in unpeeling the uptightness and negativity that has been slapped on our collective sexuality, so that, in time, we may perhaps play a bit harder, and fly a bit freer.