sarah getting pregnant in the bible

Abraham and Sarah were quite old when Sarah was pregnant. Is there another way to account for Sarah’s active role in the Hagar story? Sarah (originally named Sarai) was one of several women in the Bible who were unable to have children. Genesis 21:2 - So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. Hagar comes across a spring, where an angel of God appears to her. Why does Sarah, the woman, act to determine her family’s future while her husband, Abraham, is passive? Sarah abuses Hagar, and Hagar flees. 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. 1. Copyright © 2002-2020 My Jewish Learning. These stories are generally understood by scholars as legends, but that does not sever their link with history. She explains that Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham in keeping with ancient Near Eastern tradition. Five books of story, law, and poetry divided into 54 weekly portions. How can we account for Sarah’s independent behavior in the patriarchal biblical world in which she lived? Frymer-Kensky and Teubal both use historical evidence from the ancient Near East to come to different conclusions regarding the Sarah-Hagar story. 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. Hagar’s story shows that the path to redemption leads first through degradation. Proverbs 30:20,21,23 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness…, Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular, Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person feminine singular, Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person feminine singular, Noun - feminine singular construct | third person feminine singular. My Jewish Learning is a not-for-profit and relies on your help. At Isaac’s weaning ceremony, Sarah sees Ishmael “playing” (it is unclear exactly what he was doing) and again, Sarah takes the initiative. Home. 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. For Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time God had told him. In this story, Sarah acts independently, taking the initiative to decide the future of her family, even against her husband’s wishes. Sarah takes her maid and gives her as a concubine to her husband. Frymer-Kensky also cites the passage from Hammurabi’s Code regarding the priestess, but she does not conclude from this parallel that Sarah was a priestess; the other marriage contracts describe a similar situation, and they do not refer to priestesses. Read. Abraham is reluctant to do so, but God tells him: “Whatever Sarah tells you to do, listen to her” (Genesis 21:12), and he agrees and sends Hagar and her son away. When Hagar conceives, she “goes about making herself equal to her mistress”– Sarah is lowered in her eyes–so Sarah “puts the mark of a slave on her” by abusing Hagar. Frymer-Kensky argues that Hagar, too, symbolizes Israel. 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. How historical evidence shapes our understanding of this biblical matriarch. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Bible Verses for a Healthy Pregnancy and Safe Delivery Bible Verses for a Healthy Pregnancy. Their story can be found in the book of Genesis and serves an important role in the later stories of the Bible. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. Worship of goddesses did not lessen the actual social subordination of women. The women in the Bible are socially subordinate but not essentially inferior; they have strong, independent personalities, and they often act to guide the course of events. Teubal cites Paragraph 146 of Hammurabi’s Code, an ancient Mesopotamian legal code: If a man has married a priestess [of a certain rank] and she has given a slave girl to her husband and she bears sons, if (thereafter) that slave girl goes about making herself equal to her mistress, because she had borne sons, her mistress may not sell her; she may put the mark of a slave on her and count her with the slave girls. For Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time God had told him. Psalm 23:1-4. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers, OT Law: Genesis 16:4 He went in to Hagar and she (Gen. Ge Gn) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools. Why does the Bible portray women in such a positive light? Hagar returns and gives birth to a son, Ishmael. 4 And he slept with Hagar, and she conceived. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you. In treating Hagar as she does, Sarah asserts the authority granted to her as priestess by the legal code of her homeland. 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. Frymer-Kensky interprets the story of Hagar in keeping with this theory. Teubal argues that Sarah is asserting her traditional role as Mesopotamian priestess, while Frymer-Kensky argues that both Sarah and Hagar serve as paradigms for Israel: one exercising great influence despite her secondary social status, the other beginning a journey to redemption. And she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. That proved doubly distressing for her because God had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. 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. Frymer-Kensky explains that women serve as a paradigm for the people of Israel after the destruction of the Temple and the expulsion from the land of Israel. Abraham and Sarah provide an inspirational tale of how trusting in God will lead to favor in life. Although Teubal cites an impressive array of circumstantial evidence for her theory that Sarah is a Mesopotamian priestess, there is no direct evidence in the biblical text. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be upon you! The Genesis narratives thus form a bridge between the matriarchal pre-historic world and the patriarchal historic world. 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. Teubal draws on historical evidence from the ancient Near East to prove that, in the Hagar story, Sarah asserts her traditional role as priestess. If she has not borne sons, her mistress may sell her. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. All Rights Reserved. But when Hagar realized that she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. M ost people who are familiar with the Bible are familiar with the fact that Sarah was the wife of Abraham. Frymer-Kensky and Teubal’s differing interpretations of the Sarah-Hagar story provide two ways to understand the strong and independent women of the Bible in the context of the patriarchal world in which they lived. Three ancient Near Eastern marriage contracts state that if the wife remains barren after a specified number of years, she gives her husband her slave to have children on her behalf. Do to her what is good in your eyes” (Genesis 16:6).

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