The Bible Story of Abraham and Sarah
The narrative of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis revolves around the themes of descendants and land promised by God. Abraham is commanded by God to depart the house of his father Terah and move to the land formerly given to Canaan but which God now promises to Abraham and his offspring. Sarah, also known as Sarai, is the wife of Abraham.
God tells Abraham to depart his homeland for a land that he would show him, ensuring to "make of him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless those who blessed him, and curse "him" that curses him." Obeying God's call, Abraham brought his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot, and the wealth that they had acquired, and traveled to Canaan.
Because there was a harsh famine in the land of Canaan, Abraham and Sarah traveled south to Egypt. On the journey to Egypt, Abram told Sarah to name herself as his sister, worrying that the Egyptians would kill him in order to take his wife, declaring, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'this is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you." (Genesis 12:11-13)
When summoned before Pharaoh, Sarah stated that Abraham was her brother, and the king gave them gifts thinking he was a sibling of the beautiful Sarah. It is probable that Sarah received her Egyptian servant Hagar during this stay. However, when God afflicted Pharaoh's family with plagues Pharaoh then realized that Sarah was Abraham's wife and commanded that they leave Egypt.
Ten years after returning to Canaan, Abraham and Sarah were still childless. Sarah suggested that Abraham have a child with her Egyptian handmaid Hagar, to which he agreed. This produced stress between Sarah and Hagar, as Sarah protested to her husband that the handmaid no longer regarded her as an authority. Hagar fled from her mistress but returned after angels came to her. She then gave birth to Abraham's son Ishmael.
In Genesis 17 when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God declared his name: "Abraham" – "a father of many nations", and gave him the covenant of circumcision. Abraham was given certainty that Sarah would have a son. Shortly afterward, Abraham and Sarah were visited by three men. One of the guests told Abraham that upon his arrival next year, Sarah would have a son. While at the tent entrance, Sarah heard what was said, and she laughed to herself about the possibility of having a child at their ages. Sarah soon became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham, at the very moment which had been predicted. Abraham, then a hundred years old, named the child "Isaac." Issac would go on to become a crucial character in the biblical narrative, fathering Jacob the eventual Patriarch of the Israelites.
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