An interpretation of "covering of eyes" in Genesis 20:16
Near the end of the story of Sarah's adventure in the house of Abimelech in Genesis 20, Abimelech is said to give Abraham a thousand pieces of silver. Addressing Sarah, Abimelech claims that the silver will be a "covering of eyes" (כםות צינים) for her and all that is with her. The majority of interpreters have chosen a theological paradigm for the interpretation of Abimelech's actions and words. The gift is seen as an expiatory offering, absolving Sarah from the guilt of having been taken in as a concubine while she was in fact married to Abraham. This article attempts an alternative interpretation of the metaphor against the background of the ancient Near Eastern belief in the evil eye and the prophylactic qualities of silver. It is suggested that Abimelech may have believed the silver to have protective value against the baleful look of others.