Sarah
Overview
 
Sarah or Sara was the wife of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 and the mother of Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

 as described in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 and the Quran. Her name was originally Sarai. According to Genesis 17:15 God changed her name to Sarah as part of a covenant
Covenant (biblical)
A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

 after Hagar
Hagar (Bible)
Hagar , according to the Abrahamic faiths, was the second wife of Abraham, and the mother of his first son, Ishmael. Her story is recorded in the Book of Genesis, mentioned in Hadith, and alluded to in the Qur'an...

 bore Abraham his first son, Ishmael
Ishmael
Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first born child according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar...

.

The Hebrew name Sarah indicates a woman of high rank and is sometimes translated as "princess".
Sarah was the wife of Abraham, as well as being his half-sister, the daughter of his father Terah
Terah
Terah or Térach is a biblical figure in the book of Genesis, son of Nahor, son of Serug and father of the Patriarch Abraham, all descendants of Shem. He is mentioned in the Hebrew bible and the New Testament.-Genesis narrative:...

 (Genesis 20:12).
Encyclopedia
Sarah or Sara was the wife of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 and the mother of Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

 as described in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 and the Quran. Her name was originally Sarai. According to Genesis 17:15 God changed her name to Sarah as part of a covenant
Covenant (biblical)
A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

 after Hagar
Hagar (Bible)
Hagar , according to the Abrahamic faiths, was the second wife of Abraham, and the mother of his first son, Ishmael. Her story is recorded in the Book of Genesis, mentioned in Hadith, and alluded to in the Qur'an...

 bore Abraham his first son, Ishmael
Ishmael
Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first born child according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar...

.

The Hebrew name Sarah indicates a woman of high rank and is sometimes translated as "princess".

Sarah in the Bible

Sarah was the wife of Abraham, as well as being his half-sister, the daughter of his father Terah
Terah
Terah or Térach is a biblical figure in the book of Genesis, son of Nahor, son of Serug and father of the Patriarch Abraham, all descendants of Shem. He is mentioned in the Hebrew bible and the New Testament.-Genesis narrative:...

 (Genesis 20:12). The Talmud identifies Sarai with Iscah
Iscah
Iscah is Hebrew for Jessica. Iscah was daughter of Haran, and sister or half-sister of Lot and Milcah.The name Iscah is mentioned only once throughout the entire Hebrew Bible, found in Genesis 11:29....

, daughter of Abraham's deceased brother Haran
Haran
Haran or Aran is a figure in Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. Haran was born in Ur Kaśdim , the son of Terah and thus a descendant of Shem. Haran's brothers were Abram/Abraham and Nahor...

 (Genesis 11:29), so that Sarah turns out to be the niece of Abraham and the sister of Lot
Lot (Bible)
Lot is a man from the Book of Genesis chapters 11-14 and 19, in the Hebrew Bible. Notable episodes in his life include his travels with his uncle Abram ; his flight from the destruction of Sodom, in the course of which Lot's wife looked back and became a pillar of salt; and the seduction by his...

 and Milcah
Milcah
Milcah was thedaughter of Haran and the wife of Nahor in Genesis.Milcah was a woman of ancient Mesopotamia and an ancestor of the patriarch Jacob. Milcah was born to Haran, who had another daughter, Iscah. This Haran seemed to be different from Haran, Abraham's brother, who had a son, Lot...

. She was also the mother-in-law of Rebecca
Rebecca
Rebecca a biblical matriarch from the Book of Genesis and a common first name. In this book Rebecca was said to be a beautiful girl. As a name it is often shortened to Becky, Becki or Becca; see Rebecca ....

, her successor. She was considered beautiful to the point that Abraham feared that when they were near more powerful rulers she would be taken away and given to another man. Twice he purposefully identified her as being only his sister so that he would be "treated well" for her sake. It is apparent that she remained attractive into her later years. Despite her great beauty, she was barren for an unknown reason. She was originally called "Sarai" which is translated "my princess." Later she was called "Sarah" i.e., princess." In Biblical times, the changing of one's name was significant and used to symbolize the binding of a covenant. In this case, God promised to put an end to her barrenness and give her a child (Isaac).

In Pharaoh's harem

On the journey to Egypt, Abraham instructed Sarai to identify herself only as his sister, fearing that Pharaoh would kill him in order to take his wife, saying, "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." When brought before Pharaoh, Sarai said that Abraham was her brother, and the king thereupon bestowed upon the latter many presents and marks of distinction ("Sefer ha-Yashar," l.c.). As a token of his love for Sarai the king deeded his entire property to her, and gave her the land of Goshen as her hereditary possession: for this reason the Israelites subsequently lived in that land (Pirḳe R. El. xxxvi.). It is likely that she acquired her Egyptian maidservant Hagar during this stay. Sarai prayed to God to deliver her from the king, and He thereupon sent an angel, who struck Pharaoh whenever he attempted to touch her. Pharaoh was so astonished at these blows that he spoke kindly to Sarai, who confessed that she was Abraham's wife. The king then ceased to annoy her ("Sefer ha-Yashar," l.c.). According to another version, Pharaoh persisted in annoying her after she had told him that she was a married woman; thereupon the angel struck him so violently that he became ill, and was thereby prevented from continuing to trouble her (Genesis Rabbah xli. 2). According to one tradition it was when Pharaoh saw these miracles wrought in Sarai's behalf that he gave her his daughter Hagar as slave, saying: "It is better that my daughter should be a slave in the house of such a woman than mistress in another house"; Abimelech acted likewise (Genesis Rabbah xlv. 2). Sarai treated Hagar well, and induced women who came to visit her to visit Hagar also. Hagar, when pregnant by Abraham, began to act superciliously toward Sarai, provoking the latter to treat her harshly, to impose heavy work upon her, and even to strike her (ib. xlv. 9).

Relations with Hagar

Some believe Sarai was originally destined to reach the age of 175 years, but forty-eight years of this span of life were taken away from her because she complained of Abraham, blaming him as though the cause that Hagar no longer respected her (R. H. 16b; Genesis Rabbah xlv. 7). Sarah was sterile; but a miracle was vouchsafed to her (Genesis Rabbah xlvii. 3) after her name was changed from "Sarai" to "Sarah" (R. H. 16b). According to one myth, when her fertility had been restored and she had given birth to Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

, the people would not believe in the miracle, saying that the patriarch and his wife had adopted a foundling and pretended that it was their own son. Abraham thereupon invited all the notabilities to a banquet on the day when Isaac was to be weaned. Sarah invited the women, also, who brought their infants with them; and on this occasion she gave milk from her breasts to all the strange children, thus convincing the guests of the miracle (B. M. 87a; comp. Gen. R. liii. 13). None of this is Biblical, however, except for the fact that Abraham organized a celebration when Isaac was weaned. It was during this banquet that Sarah happened upon the then teenaged Ishmael "mocking" her son and was so disturbed that she requested that both he and Hagar be removed from their company.

Death

Legends connect Sarah's death with the attempted sacrifice of Isaac, there being two versions of the story. According to one, Samael came to her and said: "Your old husband seized the boy and sacrificed him. The boy wailed and wept; but he could not escape from his father." Sarah began to cry bitterly, and ultimately died of her grief. According to the other legend, Satan, disguised as an old man, came to Sarah and told her that Isaac had been sacrificed. She, believing it to be true, cried bitterly, but soon comforted herself with the thought that the sacrifice had been offered at the command of God. She started from Beer-sheba to Hebron, asking everyone she met if he knew in which direction Abraham had gone. Then Satan came again in human shape and told her that it was not true that Isaac had been sacrificed, but that he was living and would soon return with his father. Sarah, on hearing this, died of joy at Hebron. Abraham and Isaac returned to their home at Beer-sheba, and, not finding Sarah there, went to Hebron, where they discovered her dead. According to the Genesis Rabba
Genesis Rabba
Genesis Rabba is a religious text from Judaism's classical period. It is a midrash comprising a collection of ancient rabbinical homiletical interpretations of the Book of Genesis ....

, during Sarah's lifetime her house was always hospitably open, the dough was miraculously increased, a light burned from Saturday evening to Saturday evening, and a pillar of cloud rested upon the entrance to her tent.

New Testament references

The First Epistle of Peter
First Epistle of Peter
The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament. The author claims to be Saint Peter the apostle, and the epistle was traditionally held to have been written during his time as bishop of Rome or Bishop of Antioch,...

 praises Sarah for obeying her husband. Other New Testament references to Sarah are in Romans, Galatians and Hebrews. In Galatians 4, she and Hagar are used as an allegory of the old and new covenants:

"For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother...Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise...Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman."

Sarah in Islam

Sarah (Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: سارة, Sara), the wife of the patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 and Islamic prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 Abraham and the mother of the prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 Isaac is an honoured woman in the Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic faith. According to Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 belief, she was Abraham's first wife. Although not mentioned by name in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, she is referenced and alluded to via the story of her husband. She lived with Abraham throughout her life and, although she was barren, God
God in Islam
In Islamic theology, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular . God is unique and inherently One , all-merciful and omnipotent. According to the Islamic...

 promised her the birth of a prophetic son, Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

.

Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

 holds that Sarah and Abraham had no children. Abraham, however, prayed constantly to God for a son. Sarah, being barren, subsequently gave him her Egyptian
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 handmaiden
Handmaiden
A handmaiden is a female attendant, assistant, domestic worker , or slave.-Religion:Norse goddesses had handmaidens, . The biblical Mary referred to herself as "the handmaid of the Lord" in acceptance of becoming pregnant by the Holy Ghost.A man might use a handmaiden as a concubine to bear his...

, Hājar (Hagar
Hagar (Bible)
Hagar , according to the Abrahamic faiths, was the second wife of Abraham, and the mother of his first son, Ishmael. Her story is recorded in the Book of Genesis, mentioned in Hadith, and alluded to in the Qur'an...

), to wed as his second wife. Hagar bore Ismā'īl (Ishmael
Ishmael
Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first born child according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar...

), when Abraham was 86, who too would become a prophet of God like his father. Thirteen years later, God announced to Abraham, now a hundred, that barren Sarah would give birth to a second son, Isaac, who would also be a prophet of the Lord. Although the Qur'an does not mention Sarah by name, it mentions the annunciation of the birth of Isaac. The Qur'an mentions that Sarah laughed when the angels gave her the glad tidings of Isaac, which is perhaps why the name Isaac has the root meaning of 'laughter'.

Tomb of Sarah

Sarah is believed to be buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs
Cave of the Patriarchs
The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah , is known by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham or Ibrahimi Mosque ....

 (known by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham). The compound, located in the ancient city of Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, is the second holiest site for Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 (after the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 in Jerusalem), and is also venerated by Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s and Muslims, both of whom have traditions which maintain that the site is the burial place of three Biblical couples: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca
Rebecca
Rebecca a biblical matriarch from the Book of Genesis and a common first name. In this book Rebecca was said to be a beautiful girl. As a name it is often shortened to Becky, Becki or Becca; see Rebecca ....

, and Jacob and Leah
Leah
Leah , as described in the Hebrew Bible, is the first of the two concurrent wives of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob and mother of six of sons whose descendants became the Twelve Tribes of Israel, along with at least one daughter, Dinah. She is the daughter of Laban and the older sister of Rachel, whom...

. According to the book of Genesis, Abraham purchased the plot of land for her tomb from a man named Ephron the Hittite. Although some Jews alternatively also believe this to be the burial place for Adam
Adam
Adam is a figure in the Book of Genesis. According to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions, he is the first human. In the Genesis creation narratives, he was created by Yahweh-Elohim , and the first woman, Eve was formed from his rib...

 and Eve
Eve
Eve is the first woman created by God in the Book of Genesis.Eve may also refer to:-People:*Eve , a common given name and surname*Eve , American recording artist and actress-Places:...

, this is a view not usually adopted by Christians or Muslims.
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