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Sarah (born: Sarai; meaning "princess"), daughter of Terah, was the wife of her half-brother Abraham. She journeyed with her husband throughout the land God had shown them as their inheritance.

Sarah was unable to conceive any children, so she tried to help fulfill God's promise to Abraham by giving him her handmaid Hagar as a wife, who conceived and had Ishmael.

Later she learned that she was to be the woman through whom the promised son was going to come. She originally laughed in disbelief at the news, but a year later she gave birth to Isaac. She later died and was given a burial in a cave bought by her husband at Machpelah from the sons of Heth.

Biography

Sarah (born Sarai), daughter of Terah[1], was born in in Ur of the Chaldees, about four generations following the dispersion from the Tower of Babel. Ur had been established soon after that, having grown to a prosperous city state with an unsurpassed civilization.

Marriage

Having been given in marriage to her half-brother Abram, Sarah had been found to be barren. The family moved upriver to Haran on the Euphrates when Sarai was about 65 years old[2]. When her father died, her husband Abram took about two thirds of their father's goods (theirs and their nephew Lot's family) and moved south into the land of Canaan[3]. After moving around a bit, the caravan found themselves in a famine. This forced them to travel down into Egypt where she agreed to pose as Abram's full sister so that her husband would not be killed to get her as a bride[4].

Rival

This did not work out well for the Egyptians when Pharaoh brought her into his harem. God intervened through dreams to warn Pharaoh of the consequences of violating their guest's wife. When the truth was known gifts were offered to Abram to appease the wrath of God. The traveling tribe left Egypt enriched with goods of all kinds, including slaves[5]. One of those was Hagar, a personal servant to Sarai, "the Princess." When she was 76 years old, Sarai became impatient with God and offered Hagar as a surrogate to bear her a son for Abram. After Hagar became pregnant, the Egyptian girl became arrogant. This was too much for her, so she banished the girl. But Hagar came back speaking of an angelic visitor who promised great things for her baby[6].

Isaac

Having moved back north the tribes of Abram and Lot had grown so big they had to split up. Abram ended up in the hill country while Lot went closer to the Jordan River. Soon after that, Abram moved back south, ending up living among the Philistines during the growing season. While there, Abram used the same lie to protect her. This time, the king of the Philistines ended up giving them the best of the land just to get rid of the threat.

Finally, having reached an age of 90 years old, Sarai had become pregnant. She had been given a slightly different name by God Himself. She would become a mother with the name of Sarah (the addition of one letter—the letter H, and the removal of another letter-the letter I). Her husband became known as Abraham, also gaining the letter H. While her name retained the same meaning, Abraham was now to be "Father of a multitude," rather than just an "exalted father."

After laughing at the possibility, and the reality, of being a mother[7], Sarah was blessed with a child to be named Isaac—that is, "laughter"[8]. In the course of time, she weaned the infant and Abraham had a celebration. At the party, the teenaged son of her husband and Hagar began to laugh at the toddler, his half brother. Again, Sarah was angry, demanding that the both of them be banished from the house[9]. This time God appeared to Abraham and assured him that everything would go well with the two of them. They would never see them again, though Isaac would see Ishmael when they buried Abraham.

When Sarah was over a hundred years old, Abraham told her that he and Isaac were going back north to worship God near the place where he had met with Melchizedek. The text does not indicate that he talked to her about it. It is certain that she noted an improved sense of purpose with them when they returned. Soon afterward, the family would move back towards the north. As Isaac reached maturity he had found no woman suitable to be his bride. As she got older, she learned to trust her husband's growing faith. But she died at the age of 127, to be buried in the only land actually owned by her husband, a field and cave owned by a Hittite (son of Heth)[10].

Verses

  1. Genesis 20:12 (Link)
  2. Genesis 11:29-31 (Link)
  3. Genesis 12:4-5 (Link)
  4. Genesis 12:10-16 (Link)
  5. Genesis 12:16--13:2 (Link)
  6. Genesis 16:1-14 (Link)
  7. Genesis 18:12-14 (Link)
  8. Genesis 21:2-3 (Link)
  9. Genesis 21:8-10 (Link)
  10. Genesis 23 (Link)

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