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(ssay ruh) Personal name meaning, “princess.” Wife and half sister of Abraham (Genesis 11:29-25:10 ). Sarah, first called Sarai, had the same father as Abraham. Marriages with half brothers were not uncommon in her time. Sarah traveled with Abraham from Ur to Haran. Then at the age of 65 she accompanied him to Canaan as Abraham followed God's leadership in moving to the land God had promised. During a famine in Canaan, Abraham and Sarah fled to Egypt. This was Abraham's first attempt to pass off Sarah as his sister rather than wife because he feared that he would be killed when the Egyptians saw Sarah's beauty. Consequently, the Pharaoh thought Sarah was Abraham's sister, took Sarah into court, and treated Abraham well. When the Lord sent serious disease on Pharaoh's household, he saw the deception and sent them away. The second trick about Abraham's relationship with Sarah was in the court of Abimelech, king of Gerar, who also took in Sarah. God intervened in Abimelech's dream and protected Sarah. He sent them away with the right to live there and with a gift for Sarah.

In her grief over her barrenness, Sarah gave her maid Hagar to Abraham in the hope of an heir; but she expressed resentment when Hagar conceived. When Sarah was almost 90 years old, God changed her name and promised her a son. A year later, she bore Isaac.

At the age of 127, Sarah died at Hebron, where she was buried in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre.

In the New Testament, Romans 4:19 refers to Sarah's barrenness as evidence of Abraham's faith; Romans 9:9 cites her conception of Isaac as an example of God's power in fulfilling a promise. Galatians 4:21-31 contrasts her with Hagar without naming her, Hebrews 11:11 lauds her faith, and 1 Peter 3:6 describes her relationship with Abraham.

Judith Wooldridge

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Sarai'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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