|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Princess, the wife and at the same time the half-sister of Abraham (Genesis 11:29; 20:12). This name was given to her at the time that it was announced to Abraham that she should be the mother of the promised child. Her story is from her marriage identified with that of the patriarch till the time of her death. Her death, at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven years (the only instance in Scripture where the age of a woman is recorded), was the occasion of Abraham's purchasing the cave of Machpelah as a family burying-place.
In the allegory of Galatians 4:22-31 she is the type of the "Jerusalem which is above." She is also mentioned as Sara in Hebrews 11:11 among the Old Testament worthies, who "all died in faith." (see ABRAHAM.)
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) In Genesis 17:15 the woman who up to that time has been known as Sarai (Saray; Sara) receives by divine command the name Sarah (Sarah; Sarra). (This last form in Greek preserves the ancient doubling of the r, lost in the Hebrew and the English forms.)
The former name appears to be derived from the same root as Israel, if, indeed, Genesis 32:28 is intended as an etymology of Israel. "She that strives," a contentious person, is a name that might be given to a child at birth (compare Hosea 12:3, 4, of Jacob), or later when the child's character developed; in Genesis 16:6 and 21:10 a contentious character appears. Yet comparison with the history of her husband's name (see ABRAHAM) warns us not to operate solely upon the basis of the Hebrew language. Sarai was the name this woman brought with her from Mesopotamia. On the other hand there can be little doubt that the name Sarah, which she received when her son was promised, means "princess," for it is the feminine form of the extremely common title sar, used by the Semites to designate a ruler of greater or lesser rank. In the verse following the one where this name is conferred, it is declared of Sarah that "kings of peoples shall be of her" (Genesis 17:16).
We are introduced to Sarai in Genesis 11:29. She is here mentioned as the wife that Abraham "took," while still in Ur of the Chaldees, that is, while among his kindred. It is immediately added that "Sarai was barren; she had no child." By this simple remark in the overture of his narrative, the writer sounds the motif that is to be developed in all the sequel. When the migration to Haran occurs, Sarai is named along with Abram and Lot as accompanying Terah. It has been held that the author (or authors) of Genesis 11 knew nothing of the relationship announced in 20:12. But there can be no proof of such ignorance, even on the assumption of diversity of authorship in the two passages.
Sarai's career as described in Genesis 11 was not dependent on her being the daughter of Terah. Terah had other descendants who did not accompany him. Her movements were determined by her being Abram's wife. It appears, however, that she was a daughter of Terah by a different mother from the mother of Abram. The language of 20:12 would indeed admit of her being Abram's niece, but the fact that there was but 10 years' difference between his age and hers (Genesis 17:17) renders this hypothesis less probable. Marriage with half-sisters seems to have been not uncommon in antiquity (even in the Old Testament compare 2 Samuel 13:13).
This double relationship suggested to Abraham the expedient that he twice used when he lacked faith in God to protect his life and in cowardice sought his own safety at the price of his wife's honor. The first of these occasions was in the earlier period of their wanderings (Genesis 12). From Canaan they went down into Egypt. Sarai, though above 60 years of age according to the chronology of the sacred historian, made the impression on the Egyptians by her beauty that Abraham had anticipated, and the result was her transfer to the royal palace. But this was in direct contravention of the purpose of God for His own kingdom. The earthly majesty of Pharaoh had to bow before the divine majesty, which plagued him and secured the stranger's exodus, thus foreshadowing those later plagues and that later exodus when Abraham's and Sarah's seed "spoiled the Egyptians."
We meet Sarah next in the narrative of the birth of Ishmael and of Isaac. Though 14 years separated the two births, they are closely associated in the story because of their logical continuity. Sarah's barrenness persisted. She was now far past middle life, even on a patriarchal scale of longevity, and there appeared no hope of her ever bearing that child who should inherit the promise of God. She therefore adopts the expedient of being "builded by" her personal slave, Hagar the Egyptian (see Genesis 16:2 margin). That is, according to contemporary law and custom as witnessed by the Code of Hammurabi (see ABRAHAM, iv, 2), a son born of this woman would be the freeborn son and heir of Abraham and Sarah.
Such was in fact the position of Ishmael later. But the insolence of the maid aroused the vindictive jealousy of the mistress and led to a painful scene of unjustified expulsion. Hagar, however, returned at God's behest, humbled herself before Sarah, and bore Ishmael in his own father's house. Here he remained the sole and rightful heir, until the miracle of Isaac's birth disappointed all human expectations and resulted in the ultimate expulsion of Hagar and her son.
The change of name from Sarai to Sarah when Isaac was promised has already been noted. Sarah's laughter of incredulity when she hears the promise is of course associated with the origin of the name of Isaac, but it serves also to emphasize the miraculous character of his birth, coming as it does after his parents are both so "well stricken in age" as to make parenthood seem an absurdity.
Before the birth of this child of promise, however, Sarah is again exposed, through the cowardice of her husband, to dishonor and ruin. Abimelech, king of Gerar, desiring to be allied by marriage with a man of Abraham's power, sends for Sarah, whom he knows only as Abraham's sister, and for the second time she takes her place in the harem of a prince. But the divine promise is not to be thwarted, even by persistent human weakness and sin. In a dream God reveals to Abimelech the true state of the case, and Sarah is restored to her husband with an indemnity. Thereupon the long-delayed son is born, the jealous mother secures the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, and her career comes to a close at the age of 127, at Hebroni long time her home. The grief and devotion of Abraham are broadly displayed in Genesis 23, in which he seeks and obtains a burying-place for his wife. She is thus the first to be interred in that cave of the field of Machpelah, which was to be the common resting-place of the fathers and mothers of the future Israel.
The character of Sarah is of mingled light and shade. On the one hand we have seen that lapse from faith which resulted in the birth of Ishmael, and that lack of self-control and charity which resulted in a quarrel with Abraham, an act of injustice to Hagar, and the disinheriting of Ishmael. Yet on the other hand we see in Sarah, as the New Testament writers point out (Hebrews 11:11 1 Peter 3:6), one who through a long life of companionship with Abraham shared his hope in God, his faith in the promises, and his power to become God's agent for achieving what was humanly impossible. In fact, to Sarah is ascribed a sort of spiritual maternity, correlative with Abraham's position as "father of the faithful"; for all women are declared to be the (spiritual) daughters of Sarah, who like her are adorned in "the hidden man of the heart," and who are "doers of good" and "fearers of no terror" (1 Peter loc. cit., literally rendered). That in spite of her outbreak about Hagar and Ishmael she was in general "in subjection to her husband" and of "a meek and quiet spirit," appears from her husband's genuine grief at her decease, and still more clearly from her son's prolonged mourning for her (Genesis 24:67; compare Genesis 17:17, 23:1 with Genesis 25:20). And He who maketh even the wrath of man to praise Him used even Sarah's jealous anger to accomplish His purpose that "the son of the freewoman," Isaac, "born through promise," should alone inherit that promise (Galatians 4:22-31).
Apart from the three New Testament passages already cited, Sarah is alluded to only in Isaiah 51:2 ("Sarah that bare you," as the mother of the nation), in Romans 4:19 ("the deadness of Sarah's womb"), and in Romans 9:9, where God's promise in Genesis 18:10 is quoted. Yet her existence and her history are of course presupposed wherever allusion is made to the stories of Abraham and of Isaac.
To many modern critics Sarah supplies, by her name, a welcome argument in support of the mythical view of Abraham. She has been held to be the local numen to whom the cave near Hebron was sacred; or the deity whose consort was worshipped in Arabia under the title Dusares, i.e. Husband-of-Sarah; or, the female associate of Sin the moon-god, worshipped at Haran. On these views the student will do well to consult Baethgen, Beitrage, 94, 157, and, for the most recent point of view, Gressmann's article, "Sage und Geschichte in den Patriarchenerzahlungen," ZATW, 1910, and Eerdmans, Alttestamentliche Studien, II, 13.
(2) The daughter of Raguel, and wife of Tobias (Tobit 3:7, 17, etc.).
SeeTOBIT, BOOK OF.
J. Oscar Boyd
Sarah (38 Occurrences)
Romans 4:19 Without being weakened in faith, he didn't consider his own body, already having been worn out, (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Romans 9:9 For this is a word of promise, "At the appointed time I will come, and Sarah will have a son." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Hebrews 11:11 By faith, even Sarah herself received power to conceive, and she bore a child when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised. (WEB WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Peter 3:6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children you now are, if you do well, and are not put in fear by any terror. (WEB WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 17:15 God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but her name will be Sarah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to him who is one hundred years old? Will Sarah, who is ninety years old, give birth?" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 17:19 God said, "No, but Sarah, your wife, will bear you a son. You shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 17:21 But my covenant I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 18:6 Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Quickly make ready three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 18:9 They asked him, "Where is Sarah, your wife?" He said, "See, in the tent." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 18:10 He said, "I will certainly return to you when the season comes round. Behold, Sarah your wife will have a son." Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age. It had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 18:12 Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old will I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 18:13 Yahweh said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying,'Will I really bear a child, yet I am old?' (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for Yahweh? At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes round, and Sarah will have a son." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, "I didn't laugh," for she was afraid. He said, "No, but you did laugh." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 20:2 Abraham said about Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 20:14 Abimelech took sheep and cattle, male servants and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored Sarah, his wife, to him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 20:16 To Sarah he said, "Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. Behold, it is for you a covering of the eyes to all that are with you. In front of all you are vindicated." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 20:18 For Yahweh had closed up tight all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham's wife. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 21:1 Yahweh visited Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh did to Sarah as he had spoken. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 21:2 Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 21:3 Abraham called his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 21:6 Sarah said, "God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears will laugh with me." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 21:7 She said, "Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 21:9 Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 21:12 God said to Abraham, "Don't let it be grievous in your sight because of the boy, and because of your handmaid. In all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For from Isaac will your seed be called. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 23:1 Sarah lived one hundred twenty-seven years. This was the length of Sarah's life. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 23:2 Sarah died in Kiriath Arba (the same is Hebron), in the land of Canaan. Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 23:19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre (that is, Hebron), in the land of Canaan. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 24:36 Sarah, my master's wife, bore a son to my master when she was old. He has given all that he has to him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 24:67 Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife. He loved her. Isaac was comforted after his mother's death. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Genesis 25:10 the field which Abraham purchased of the children of Heth. Abraham was buried there with Sarah, his wife. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 25:12 Now this is the history of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore to Abraham. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 46:17 And the sons of Asher: Jimnah and Ishvah and Ishvi and Beriah, and Sarah, their sister; and the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. (BBE)
Genesis 49:31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah, his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, his wife, and there I buried Leah: (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 26:46 And the name of the daughter of Asher was Sarah. (KJV WBS YLT)
Isaiah 51:2 Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)