Meet Sarah: Abraham's Wife

Abraham's Wife Was Sarah, Mother of the Jewish Nation

Sarah and Abraham in the Bible
Sarah overhears the three visitors confirming she will have a son. Culture Club / Contributor / Getty Images

Sarah (originally named Sarai) was one of several women in the Bible who were unable to have children. That proved doubly distressing for her because God had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son.

God appeared to Abraham, Sarah's husband, when he was 99 years old and made a covenant with him. He told Abraham that he would be the father of the Jewish nation, with descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky:

God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her." Genesis 17:15–16, NIV)

After waiting many years, Sarah convinced Abraham to sleep with her handmaiden, Hagar, to produce an heir. That was an accepted practice in ancient times.

The child born of that encounter was named Ishmael. But God had not forgotten his promise.

Three heavenly beings, disguised as travelers, appeared to Abraham. God repeated his promise to Abraham that his wife would bear a son. Even though Sarah was very old, she did conceive and deliver a son. They named him Isaac.

Isaac would father Esau and Jacob. Jacob would father 12 sons who would become heads of the 12 tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Judah would come David, and finally Jesus of Nazareth, God's promised Savior.

Accomplishments of Sarah in the Bible

Sarah's loyalty to Abraham resulted in her sharing in his blessings. She became the mother of the nation of Israel.

Although she struggled in her faith, God saw fit to include Sarah as the first woman named in the Hebrews 11 "Faith Hall of Fame."

Sarah is the only woman renamed by God in the Bible.

Sarah means "princess."

Sarah's Strengths

Sarah's obedience to her husband Abraham is a model for Christian woman. Even when Abraham passed her off as his sister, which landed her in Pharaoh's harem, she did not object.

Sarah was protective of Isaac and loved him deeply.

The Bible says Sarah was exceedingly beautiful in appearance (Genesis 12:11, 14).

Sarah's Weaknesses

At times, Sarah doubted God. She had trouble believing God would fulfill his promises, so she plunged ahead with her own solution.

Life Lessons

Waiting for God to act in our lives may be the hardest task we ever face. It's also true that we can become dissatisfied when God's solution does not match our expectations.

Sarah's life teaches us that when we feel doubtful or afraid, we should remember what God said to Abraham, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14, NIV)

Sarah waited 90 years to have a baby. Certainly she had given up hope of ever seeing her dream of motherhood fulfilled. Sarah was looking at God's promise from her limited, human perspective. But the Lord used her life to unfold an extraordinary plan, proving that he is never limited by what usually happens.

Sometimes we feel like God has placed our lives in a permanent holding pattern.

Rather than taking matters into our own hands, we can let Sarah's story remind us that a time of waiting may be God's precise plan for us.

Hometown

Sarah's hometown is unknown. Her story begins with Abram in Ur of the Chaldeans.

References to Sarah in the Bible

Genesis chapters 11 through 25; Isaiah 51:2; Romans 4:19, 9:9; Hebrews 11:11; and 1 Peter 3:6.

Occupation

Homemaker, wife, and mother.

Family Tree

Father - Terah
Husband - Abraham
Son - Isaac
Half Brothers - Nahor, Haran
Nephew - Lot

Key Verses

Genesis 21:1
Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. (NIV)

Genesis 21:7
And she added, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age." (NIV)

Hebrews 11:11
And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

(NIV)