Women in the Bible: Sarah

Women in the Bible: Sarah

The story of Sarah is scattered among the narrative in Genesis 11 through 23. Not only was she the first wife of Abraham, she was also his half-sister. Before we get too weirded out by this, recall that at this time, marrying your half-sister wasn’t prohibited.

Sarah, whose name means princess, was a looker, and Abraham worried would-be suitors would kill him to take her, so he asked her to just say she was his sister. He even said this would be an act of love (Genesis 20:13). She agreed and did so twice, with other men taking her as their wife. Both times God worked things out, but I can’t imagine what she went through when they took her and Abraham did nothing to stop them.

Although God promised Abraham children, Sarah grew tired of waiting. In her old age she concocted a plan where Abraham could have his promised child through her servant. It was a boneheaded idea, and Abraham was even more stupid for going along with it. Heartache resulted.

Later God confirmed Abraham’s chosen child would come from Sarah. She laughed and was criticized for it. (Interestingly, Abraham also laughed but wasn’t chastised.) A year later, the child was born; she was ninety and Abraham was 100. They named him Isaac. Ironically, Isaac means laughter or he laughs. I think God’s still laughing now about a ninety-year old woman giving birth.

Sarah lived another thirty-seven years and died at 127.

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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