sarah in the Bible

Sarah in the Bible: a blog post around the topic of Abrahma and Sarah in the bible as a new way to teach kids about Abraham and Sarah.

Sarah and Abraham were a couple in the bible. Sarah was Abraham’s wife and she was barren for many years. She was given to him by God when he was 99 years old. Sarah was 90 years old at this time.

Sarah was barren until she was 90 years old. When she gave birth to Isaac, her son by Abraham, she laughed in disbelief that God had given her a child so late in life.

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sarah in the Bible

When Sarah and Abraham had their son Isaac they took him to be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth as commanded by God. Isaac became a prophet at age 40 when he married Rebekah who also became a prophetess at age 65 when they had twin sons Esau and Jacob together.

The narrative of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis revolves around the themes of descendants and land promised by God. Abraham is commanded by God to depart the house of his father Terah and move to the land formerly given to Canaan but which God now promises to Abraham and his offspring.  Sarah, also known as Sarai, is the wife of Abraham. 

God tells Abraham to depart his homeland for a land that he would show him, ensuring to “make of him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless those who blessed him, and curse “him” that curses him.” Obeying God’s call, Abraham brought his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot, and the wealth that they had acquired, and traveled to Canaan.

Because there was a harsh famine in the land of Canaan, Abraham and Sarah traveled south to Egypt. On the journey to Egypt, Abram told Sarah to name herself as his sister, worrying that the Egyptians would kill him in order to take his wife, declaring, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘this is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” (Genesis 12:11-13)

When summoned before Pharaoh, Sarah stated that Abraham was her brother, and the king gave them gifts thinking he was a sibling of the beautiful Sarah. It is probable that Sarah received her Egyptian servant Hagar during this stay. However, when God afflicted Pharaoh’s family with plagues Pharaoh then realized that Sarah was Abraham’s wife and commanded that they leave Egypt.

Ten years after returning to Canaan, Abraham and Sarah were still childless. Sarah suggested that Abraham have a child with her Egyptian handmaid Hagar, to which he agreed. This produced stress between Sarah and Hagar, as Sarah protested to her husband that the handmaid no longer regarded her as an authority. Hagar fled from her mistress but returned after angels came to her. She then gave birth to Abraham’s son Ishmael.

In Genesis 17 when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God declared his name: “Abraham” – “a father of many nations”, and gave him the covenant of circumcision. Abraham was given certainty that Sarah would have a son. Shortly afterward, Abraham and Sarah were visited by three men. One of the guests told Abraham that upon his arrival next year, Sarah would have a son. While at the tent entrance, Sarah heard what was said, and she laughed to herself about the possibility of having a child at their ages. Sarah soon became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham, at the very moment which had been predicted. Abraham, then a hundred years old, named the child “Isaac.” Issac would go on to become a crucial character in the biblical narrative, fathering Jacob the eventual Patriarch of the Israelites. 

Sarah, also spelled Sarai, in the Old Testament, wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. Sarah was childless until she was 90 years old. God promised Abraham that she would be “a mother of nations” (Genesis 17:16) and that she would conceive and bear a son, but Sarah did not believe. Isaac, born to Sarah and Abraham in their old age, was the fulfillment of God’s promise to them. The barrenness of Sarah, cited in the preface (Genesis 11:30), stands in tension with the central theme of the Abraham saga, the promise that God will make him the founder of a mighty nation. With respect to the fulfillment of the promise, Sarah embodies the themes of fear and doubt, Abraham those of faith and hope. Her doubt drives Sarah to devise her own way of realizing the promise—she gives Abraham her maidservant, Hagar, so that Hagar might bear a child for them. When the promise is repeated, Sarah expresses her doubt in sarcastic laughter (Genesis 18:12). And when the promise is kept, Sarah, overcome by joy, still implies her doubt had been reasonable (Genesis 21:6–7). Her tomb at Hebron (Genesis 23) was a sign of Abraham’s faith that God’s promise of the land would also be kept.

Abraham and Sarah’s Hospitality (Genesis 18:1-15)

The story of Abraham and Sarah’s generous hospitality to three visitors who came to them by the oaks of Mamre is told in Genesis 18. Seminomadic life in the country would often bring people from different families into contact with one another, and the character of Canaan as a natural land bridge between Asia and Africa made it a popular trade route. In the absence of a formal industry of hospitality, people living in cities and encampments had a social obligation to welcome strangers. From Old Testament descriptions and other ancient Near Eastern texts, Matthews derived seven codes of conduct defining what counts for good hospitality that maintains the honor of persons, their households, and communities by receiving and offering protection to strangers.[1]Around a settlement was a zone in which the individuals and the town were obliged to show hospitality.

1. In this zone, the villagers were responsible to offer hospitality to strangers.

2. The stranger must be transformed from being a potential threat to becoming an ally by the offer of hospitality.

3. Only the male head of household or a male citizen of a town or village may offer the invitation of hospitality.

4. The invitation may include a time span statement for the period of hospitality, but this can then be extended, if agreeable to both parties, on the renewed invitation of the host.

5. The stranger has the right of refusal, but this could be considered an affront to the honor of the host and could be a cause for immediate hostilities or conflict.

6. Once the invitation is accepted, the roles of the host and the guest are set by the rules of custom. The guest must not ask for anything. The host provides the best he has available, despite what may be modestly offered in the initial offer of hospitality. The guest is expected to reciprocate immediately with news, predictions of good fortune, or expressions of gratitude for what he has been given, and praise of the host’s generosity and honor. The host must not ask personal questions of the guest. These matters can only be volunteered by the guest.

7. The guest remains under the protection of the host until the guest has left the zone of obligation of the host.

This episode provides the background for the New Testament command, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2). 

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