Sarah or Sarai

Sarah was the wife and half-sister or niece of Abraham. Both have Terah as their father (or grandfather) and later became the parents of Isaac. Originally named Sarai which means “my princess”, her named was changed to Sarah meaning “princess” after a covenant with God. She appears on the Bible Timeline from 1986 BC to 1859 BC (127 years)

Originally named Abram and Sarai, Abraham and Sarah were dwellers from Ur, presently known as Iraq. They got married before leaving for Canaan after following God’s command.

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Sarah was described as exceptionally beautiful even as she aged. But aside from her attractiveness, Sarai was also barren. She was barren until her covenant with God wherein God promised to give her a child. It was because of this covenant that her name was changed to Sarah. True to His word, Sarah got pregnant and gave birth to the prophet Isaac.

Isaac became the father of Jacob, later renamed as Israel by God. This fact makes Sarah one of the mothers of the Israelites and Jesus Christ.

Sarah died at age 127 and was thought to be buried in Kiryat Arba, presently located in Hebron. The Cave of Machpelah, commonly known today as the Cave of the Patriarchs or the Sanctuary of Abraham to the Muslims is believed to be the burial place of Abraham and Sarah, their son Isaac and his wife Rebecca, and their grandson Jacob and his wife Leah. The cave was purchased by Abraham from the Hittite named Ephron. This site is now considered the second holiest place for the Jews and is also honoured by both the Muslims and the Christians.

Sarai Pretending to be Abraham’s Sister

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Sarai Is Taken to Pharaoh’s Palace

Because of her beauty, Abraham introduced her as his sister and let her pretend to be so to protect himself from being murdered by the king of the land so the king could have Sarah to wife.

The first incident was when they went to Egypt. She was 65 years old then. After being introduced to the Pharaoh, the Pharaoh took her into his harem as one of his concubines. The Pharaoh gave all of his assets to her with Goshen as her hereditary land. Sarai deliberately prayed to the Lord to free her from the Pharaoh. The Lord heard her prayer and sent her an angel who protected her from the pharaoh’s anger after she confessed her true relationship with Abraham. Epidemics were sent to the kingdom until Pharaoh released the couple.

The second incident was with the king of Gerar named Abimelech. King Abimelech also believed that she was Abraham’s sister and took her into his harem. But God told Abimelech the truth through a dream and Abimelech sent her back to Abraham with gifts namely; cattle, sheep, slaves, and silver.

The Birth of Isaac

Being childless for years, the aging Sarai had lost hope of becoming pregnant. Having a child was important for Abraham because the Lord promised him that his children would lead great nations. And so, Sarah gave her Egyptian slave, Hagar to her husband Abraham to become his concubine. Hagar gave the 86-year-old Abraham a son, and they named him Ishmael. Ishmael was the ancestor of many Arab nations.

But years later, the 100-year-old Abraham became a father again with Sarah’s son, and they named him Isaac. Sarah laughed when God told her about the prediction. But at age 90, Sarah gave birth to Isaac.

As the two children were growing up, Sarah asked her husband, Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael out from their land and not to share Isaac’s inheritance with Ishmael. Abraham was hesitant, but God told him to follow his wife’s wish. So the next day, Hagar and Ishmael were sent away.

Sarah in the Bible

Genesis 17:15. Sarai was renamed Sarah.

Genesis 17:19. God told Abraham that Sarah would give birth to a son that would be named Isaac.

Genesis 18:12. Sarah laughed after learning about God’s prophecy of her giving birth to a son.

Genesis 20:2. Abraham introduced Sarah as his sister to King Abimelek of Gerar.

Genesis 20:14-16. King Abimelek returned Sarah to Abraham along with gifts of sheep, cattle, slaves, and silvers.

Genesis 21:12. God told Abraham to follow Sarah and send Hagar and Ishmael away.

Genesis 23:1-2. Sarah died at age 127 at Hebron.

Genesis 23:19. Abraham buried Sarah in the cave in Machpelah.

Genesis 25:10. Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah in the cave he purchased from the Hittites.

One thought on “Sarah or Sarai

  1. I enjoyed to read the story of Sarai, then why God changed her name to Sara?

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