There’s a very, very lot of treachery and trickery in the Torah, especially in Genesis. And it usually pays off! One type of deceit occurs in three episodes – two with Avraham, and one with Yitzchak. It is the “passing off the wife as the sister” routine.
"And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was severe in the land. It came to pass, when he came near to enter to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that you are a pretty woman to look upon; Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see you, that they shall say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but you they will keep alive. Say, I beg you, that you are my sister; that it may be well with me for your sake; and my soul shall live because of you." (Genesis 12:10-13)
Avraham’s strategy works as planned. Instead of killing him, the Egyptians shower him with gifts while taking his wife for Pharaoh.
Abarbanel pulls no punches in his formulation of the question. “What kind of noble person chooses to live via such a terrible disgrace, seeking advantage and benefit from his wife being taken by others?! It is more befitting to choose death rather than committing such a disgrace!” Cassuto notes that the approach of some Christian scholars was that Avraham did indeed commit a repulsive act. Avraham was the prototypical Jew, engaging in sneaky maneuvers for personal profit, at the cost of others. Christians saw this episode as providing a Biblical justification for the antisemitic stereotype of the “clever Jew.”
These are disturbing questions. The answer to them is in an essay that you can freely download (and distribute) at this link.