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At the time of her marriage to Abraham in Mesopotamia, Sarah’s name was Sarai and Abraham’s was Abram. God gave them their new names (Abraham meaning ‘father of a multitude’, Sarah meaning ‘princess’) to confirm to them that they would be the parents of a multitude of people, the nation Israel (Genesis 11:29; Genesis 17:5-6; Genesis 17:15-16; Isaiah 51:2). From Mesopotamia God directed Abraham and Sarah into Canaan, the land that he promised would be Israel’s eventual homeland (Genesis 12:1; Genesis 12:5-8).

Abraham accepted God’s promise by faith and, because of this, God accepted him as righteous (Genesis 15:6). (For details of the New Testament teaching on faith in the lives of Abraham and Sarah see ABRAHAM.) However, Abraham’s faith failed on occasions. Twice he deceived people by saying Sarah was his sister. This was partly true, as Sarah was a daughter of his father by a different wife; but it was wrong to tell only part of the truth in order to deceive (Genesis 12:18-20; Genesis 20:11-12).

God had promised that Abraham and Sarah, in spite of their many years without children, would in due course produce a son through whom God’s promises would be fulfilled. The older they grew, the less likely it seemed that Sarah would bear a child, so Sarah suggested that Abraham obtain the desired son through their slave-girl, Hagar. A son was born, but God said it was not the child he had promised (Genesis 16:1-4; Genesis 16:15; Genesis 17:18-19).

Sarah found it difficult to believe that a woman as old as she could bear a son, and therefore God sent special heavenly messengers to convince her. Sarah had to share Abraham’s faith (Genesis 18:10-14). The next year, when Abraham was about a hundred years old and Sarah about ninety, Sarah gave birth to Isaac, the son whom God had promised (Genesis 17:17; Genesis 17:19; Genesis 17:21; Genesis 21:1-5). The faith of Abraham and Sarah had been tested constantly for twenty-five years (cf. Genesis 12:4), and had shown itself to be genuine and enduring (Romans 4:17-21; Hebrews 11:11-12).

Earlier there had been friction between Sarah and Hagar (Genesis 16:4-9). When it appeared again, Sarah said to Abraham that he should drive out Hagar and her son from the household (Genesis 21:10). Although Sarah respected Abraham as head of the household, she also had a role in family decisions, and in this case God told Abraham to do as Sarah suggested (Genesis 21:12; cf. 1 Peter 3:6). Isaac alone was to be heir to the promises God gave concerning his chosen land and people. Sarah lived to see her son grow into a mature and responsible leader. He was about thirty-seven years old when Sarah died (Genesis 23:1; Genesis 23:19).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Sarah'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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