Is the purpose of this story to tell us that Abraham was a coward lacking in faith that he would use his wife to protect him from death? No, God brought Abraham there to teach Abimelech a lesson.
Why is it that God specifically told Moses to write down these places? We may not have a complete picture of it but God did not ask Moses to write this down just for the sake of history. As in parts 1 and 2 of this discussion of Numbers 33, we see there’s a bigger picture to be found in the names of these places that Moses records and we endeavor to discover God’s picture.
We will look at this chapter carefully. The events of this chapter occur near the end 40 year wilderness exile. After nearly 40 years, the people still complain about being removed from Egypt and “dying in the wilderness.”