Abram accepted Sarai’s offer to produce a child through Hagar and the result was the birth of Ishmael. Noun משרה (mishra) denotes the juice of grapes. These stories are generally understood by scholars as legends, but that does not sever their link with history. Noun שר (sar) means chief or ruler (someone in whom a society's wealth is concentrated). In fact, when Abraham heard this he laughed. However, He would also make her “a mother of nations” and “kings of people” would come from her descendants. Email. She argues that written records from the beginning of writing in ancient Sumer show that patriarchy was well-entrenched in the ancient Near East over 1500 years before the Bible; the Genesis narratives are not a bridge between some matriarchal pre-history and patriarchal history. How then can we understand the active, independent role of Sarah and the other matriarchs in directing they and their family’s lives? WORDsearch CROSS e-book.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'whatchristianswanttoknow_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_7',121,'0','0'])); Tagged as: For a meaning of the name Sarah, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Princess. Sarah takes her maid and gives her as a concubine to her husband. Abram had two other brothers, Nahor and Haran. Just as God tells Abraham that He will multiply Abraham’s progeny, but first his descendants will be degraded slaves, so too God promises Hagar that He will multiply her progeny, but first she must return to Abraham to be exploited as a slave. M ost people who are familiar with the Bible are familiar with the fact that Sarah was the wife of Abraham. Mystery verb שרה (sara) is used only to describe what Jacob did with the Angel (Genesis 32:29 and Hosea 12:4). Savina J. Teubal, in Sarah the Priestess, and Tikva Frymer-Kensky, in Reading the Women of the Bible, both draw on historical evidence from the ancient Near East in order to address this question, but come to different conclusions. We appreciate your help sir. Sarah means "princess." What Do Christians Believe About Dinosaurs? Teubal argues that Sarah, in taking this active role in the Hagar story, is preserving the ancient Mesopotamian tradition of priestesses, a privileged class of women who play a greater role than their husbands in directing their families’ lives. Hagar becomes pregnant, and Sarah sees that she “is diminished” in Hagar’s eyes (Genesis 16:4). Sarai and Abram had the same father but different mothers, according to Genesis 20:12. He also told her that she would bear a son, Ishmael, because God heard her affliction. Sarah is the only woman renamed by God in the Bible. This brought anguish, shame, and despair to Sarai. Later, when Sarah heard this she laughed as well (Genesis 18:9-15). At the core of Lamentations is an expression of faith in the human capacity to survive in a broken world. Her name was originally Sarai (quarrelsome), but God commanded that her name be changed to Sarah before the birth of her son. In Sarah’s case, God would bless her with the birth of Isaac. If Sarah is merely acting according to ancient Near Eastern law, what is the significance of the Hagar story? Hagar then left and went into the wilderness of Shur.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'whatchristianswanttoknow_com-box-4','ezslot_2',117,'0','0'])); Pregnant and alone in the wilderness, an angel of the Lord spoke to Hagar. Why does Sarah, the woman, act to determine her family’s future while her husband, Abraham, is passive? These supernatural beings appear widely throughout Jewish texts. Answer: Sarai began her life in the pagan world of Ur, in the land of the Chaldees, which was located in the area now known as Iraq. Is there another way to account for Sarah’s active role in the Hagar story? When she cannot have children, Sarah takes the initiative and gives her maid-servant, Hagar, to Abraham so that he can have children through Hagar on Sarah’s behalf. { 5 comments… read them below or add one }. Likewise, in the light of who Abraham was, Sarah held an important position and played a great role in the establishment of the Jewish people. In the Old Testament this is the name of Abraham's wife, considered the matriarch of the Jewish people. Smith, William. Sarah is the fourth woman mentioned by name in the Bible, and the first in the line of Seth. However, some do not know that Sarah had another name before she was named Sarah. Dr. Mike has worked in the information technology field for many years and he uses his talents and experience in the ministry for the glory of the Lord. If you like what you're reading, you can get free daily updates through the RSS feed here. I am researching and making an essay for Biology 30 and this can be a testimony to those concerned with reproductive technologies concerning childlessness. Sarah (formerly known as Sarai) is the half-sister of Abraham, Nahor and Haran (same father; Genesis 20:12), who becomes Abraham's wife. All Rights Reserved. 1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Despite these promises, both Abraham and Sarah both found it hard to believe as they were 100 and 90 years old respectively. Archaeological evidence shows that both Ur and Haran, the cities from which Sarah and Abraham emigrated, were centers of goddess worship; pictures of Mesopotamian goddesses appear on pottery plaques unearthed from both areas. Yom Kippur FAQ: All About the Day of Atonement, Rosh Hashanah FAQ: All About the Jewish New Year. Sarah (formerly known as Sarai) is the half-sister of Abraham, Nahor and Haran (same father; Genesis 20:12), who becomes Abraham's wife. She explains that Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham in keeping with ancient Near Eastern tradition. Sarah, she explains, was a priestess in Mesopotamia, before she chose to leave her family and homeland behind and journey with Abraham to Canaan. Bible Character study Sarah, How can we account for Sarah’s independent behavior in the patriarchal biblical world in which she lived? Her name was originally Sarai, but God changed it at the same time Abraham's name was changed (see Genesis 17:15).. It appears that each time Sarah changed her name, it was symbolic of a greater spiritual refinement. In the Bible, Sarah was the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. Dr. Michael L. Williams According to Genesis 17:17 she was “90” not “99”. She was the half-sister, as well as the wife, of Abram, who would be called Abraham. Overall this article was very helpful and fun reading! The families depicted in Genesis may or may not represent actual people, but these literary portraits are valuable sources for understanding the general social and cultural world that produced them. Copyright © 2002-2020 My Jewish Learning. Her impatience resulted in poor decisions that revealed she could be jealous and harsh. Noun שר (shor) refers to the umbilical cord and noun שרה (shera) to a bracelet of some sort. With these name changes would come changes to Abraham and Sarah’s life. My Jewish Learning is a not-for-profit and relies on your help. Sarah lived to be 127 years old and her burial is the first one to be mentioned in the Bible. The Bible explains that Sarai was her earlier name and that she was renamed at the annunciation of the birth of Isaac (Gen 17:15). The denominative verb שרר (sarar) means to be a chief. However, more than just a child was produced. He changed Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. Worship of goddesses did not lessen the actual social subordination of women. Derived noun משרה (misra) literally means "place or agent of שרה (sara)." Frymer-Kensky argues that Hagar, too, symbolizes Israel. Biblical Sarah, Abraham’s wife and the matriarch of the Jewish people, is a strong and independent character. They traveled far up stream to the land of Haran where they lived until Terah died. The Bible, through its portrayal of female characters, provides a model for how the people of Israel, despite their lack of political power, are not essentially inferior and can play an active role in determining history. Faith is the entire basis of our Salvation in Christ. However, as God had promised, Isaac, whose name means laughter (Genesis 21:3-7), was born and the covenant was established. Hello, it seems that you made a mistake with the age of Sarah. A Christian Study. In treating Hagar as she does, Sarah asserts the authority granted to her as priestess by the legal code of her homeland. Sarah brings this problem to Abraham, and Abraham, rather than deciding himself what to do, lets Sarah choose how to deal with Hagar, saying: “Here, your slave-woman is in your hands. He said that Ishmael would be a wild man and his hand would be against every man and would one day have many sons and live in the presence of all his brethren in Shur. It was located on the Euphrates River not far upstream from where the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers join. 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It was after this that God spoke to Abram and made a covenant with him. At Isaac’s weaning ceremony, Sarah sees Ishmael “playing” (it is unclear exactly what he was doing) and again, Sarah takes the initiative. Learn more about Dr. Mike at Christianity Every Day.