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We read in BeResheit 17:5-6 that Sara became the Mother of nations and Kings of peoples will come from

her. Holding such a distinguished role, still so much is not said of Sarah and yet the title of this parsha is The Life of Sarah. I believe it a great loss to us that we were never afforded the opportunity to witness more of her daily living. In fact, between the book of BeResheit and the book of Yasher we learn within the span of this parsha that Sarah was only one of a total of six people who died. Within a four year period though we see shortly after the passing on of Sarah, so did the following: King Abimelech, king of the Philistines, who actually in those days was considered a good king and was in covenant with Abraham; also we see Abrahams last remaining brother Nahor pass. Lot, Abrahams nephew passes on. And much later Abraham himself passes on. 1

And to wind out the parsha we see the record of the passing of Isaacs halfbrother Ishmael. Out of all of these peoplepeople who have had much more information written about their lives, their legacy and illustrative exploitsSarah remains the Title for the beginning of this parsha. That strikes me sorely significant, especially as we witness Abraham, The very Father of our faith quietly passing at a ripe old age of 175 and being buried next to his bride Sarah, still receives only so much as a passing glance as do the others. This observation was so intriguing I felt compelled to invest enough time worthy to acquire a more intimate portrait of The Queen, The Matriarch of our faithSarah, and to try to highlight her life because it is not a mistake or incidental that this particular portion is called The Life of Sarah. And as the remainder of this study will bear out, much about understanding covenant, family, and Gods miracles and plan are wrapped up in The Life of Sarah. What is in a wife? Rather, what is in the name of the word WIFE? If we examine the Hebrew, it comes from Strongs# H802 and cross-referenced with the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon its root word is Eh-Nowsh-ah or Alef-Nun-Yod-ShinHeh.

It means Woman, or wife, and is found grammatically in the root word for man which is comprised of an Alef-Nun-Shin The Rabbis argue, man must seek after woman, and not a woman after a man; Man, they say, was formed from the groundwoman from mans rib; hence, in trying to find a wife man only looks after what he had lost! (Sketched of Jewish Social Life, A. Edersheim, p.135) So we see in Scripture Abram finding his missing rib in the daughter of Haran, Sarai. But if we pictographically examine the meaning of the word for wife, or Ehnow-shah we see a story being told. Alef = Father 2

Nun = Life, or seed Yod = a hand, which represents the words to work, make or throw Shin = Again, or another Heh = Behold, reveal, man

When strung together pictographically we see the following,

Behold, it is through the wife that the fathers life is made into another man.
It is definitely by far one of YHWHs most incredible miracles of procreation and fulfillment of one of His most primary commands, Be fruitful and multiply and yet we read back in BeResheit chapter 11, verses 29-30 that Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 And Sarai was barren; she had no child. But didnt we just read in Genesis 17, verses 15 and 16 that she would become the Mother of nations and that kings of peoples would come from her? Perhaps there is a well-purposed irony in this parshas title after all? Psalm 127:3 says Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. In his book Sketches of Jewish Social Life, Edersheim observes that it was said that he who had no child was like one dead (Ederseim, p.95) A word about Barrenness; In Holmans Illustrated Bible Dictionary we read that Barrenness is a term used to describe a woman who is unable to give birth to children: Sarai (Gen. 11:30), Rebekah (Gen. 25:21), Rachel (Gen. 29:31), Hannah (1 Sam. 1:5), and Elizabeth (Luke 1:7, 36). Barrenness was considered a curse from God (Gen. 16:2; 20:18; 1 Sam. 1:5) which explains Elizabeths statement that God had taken away her disgrace among the peoplethat she was a sinner and cursed by God as evidenced by her barrenness (Luke 1:25). (Holmans, p.173) I want to point out that considered does not mean that it is!!! We move on.

To explore a deeper understanding of blessings and curses so that we can gain proper perspective on how it relates to childbirth we read, "If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name," says the LORD of hosts, "then I will send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. (Mal 2:2 NAS) For the wages of sin (disobedience, rebellion, rejecting Gods path) is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23 NAS) From these verses and many others like them we can derive that blessings are a result of obedience, and thus the curse comes by way of disobedience, which hearkens us back to the fall of Adam and Eve in garden who rebelled against Gods word and followed after another. Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. (Gen 3:17 NAS) And specifically concerning the womb which is where a child is conceived, develops, grows, receiving the precious blessing of life nourishment directly from the mother we read of the account when Sarai was taken into Abimelechs custody, and upon Abimelechs returning her, Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children. 18 For the LORD had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife. (Gen 20:17-18) So we have this picture backed by Scripture that solidifies the belief that to bear children is a gift, or blessing of God. What happens next is mans best attempt at making sense of the flip side of this equation, which is to not be able to bear children must be a curse from God. This is excellent logic, suited for a RomanGreco mind, but the problem with this is it fails to take into account FAITH!! The question we should be asking is,

Why would God have allowed Abraham to choose Sarah to be his wife, who was barren, and then after the fact approach Abraham and promise that he would become a Great Nation?
This has the appearance of a God who has miscalculated, which gives the air of a Less-than-All-powerful Creator. Listen, our God is not a God of confusion, nor does He orchestrate things randomly. Everything He does fulfills the special purpose to create life and to reveal Himself in it. That said, the only logical reason for why? is so that Abraham and Sarah and everyone of their household, the world at large and that generations to come would recognize that it was ONLY by FAITH in YHWHs promise that Isaac was able to be born! Remember what we read in Edersheims commentary on Sketches of Jewish Social Life? It said that he who had no child was like one dead (Ederseim, p.95) And to confirm it scripturally we read in Romans And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now

as good as dead
since he was about a hundred years old,

and the deadness of Sarah's womb;

yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, (Rom 4:19-20 NAS) God oftentimes reveals Himself using Signs. And what we discover in returning to the conclusion of the commentary in Holmans Illustrated Bible Dictionary only confirms what God reveals to those who seek Him; that The barrenness of Sarai, Rebekah, and Rachel (the mothers of the Israelite nation) is significant in that their ability finally to bear children is a sign of the grace and favor of God toward His elect people. What we as critical observers and children of our Father YHWH need to learn from this is that even though what we can see around us may appear to be death, by using the eyes of faith our Creator has promised us a good future. Do you walk by faith? Or sight? Truth be told Abraham and Sarah, bequeathed with the royal titles of Patriarch and Matriarch, both were not without their share of stumbles. But to their credit, they did obey the call of The Father, and so we have their account laid out before us to teach us how great their faith truly was despite the rare times they failed to keep looking up. 5

Hagar was one. Strongs numbers does not offer a definitive definition of her name. Matthew Henrys commentary reveals her name to mean flight, but Holmans Bible Dictionary defines her name as Stranger, which is closer grammatically speaking to the paleo Hebrew. We know that she was given by Pharoah to Sarah and Abraham after Pharoah returned Sarah to Abrahams care. Hagar is spelled in Torah as

If you have any understanding of Hebrew you may notice a two-letter root in the last two letters of Hagars name. The Gimel and the Resh, or Ger mean Stranger, taken together with the Heh we have

Behold the Stranger

If we consult the Torah, we do not see a lot offered in the way of historical context or character. The book of Yasher provides some. What we can assess just on times and ages is that it says Abraham took Sarai to wife at the same time period he was delivered from the furnace of Nimrod. It tells us that at the expiration of two years from Abrams going out of the fire, that is the in the 52 nd year of his life, behold king Nimrod sat in Babel upon the throne. So Abram took Sarai as a wife when he was 50 years old. Then later on we learn in the book of Yasher chapter 16, verse 27 that it was in the 85th year of Abrams life that Sarah gave HaWe read in We remember Hagar, and everyone holds what happened with Hagar against Sarah and Abraham. What we fail to recognize is that by the time Sarah was willing to offer Hagar to Abraham as a second wife, so many trials had been coming against Sarah for decades. So for 35 years Sarai and Abraham had been trying to conceive.consider that fact.35 YEARS. I would have to say that is very faithful. But what I saw in Hagars name also suggested a point of interest as to why this giving of Hagar to Abraham occurred.

The first two letters of Hagars name are the Heh and the Gimel, and if we look up this two-letter root word it means To Ponder: A murmering or soft speech while in a continual contemplation over something. And the Resh means man, or head. So taken together we can read Hagars name to mean The ponderings of man, or The ponderings of the head Whose to say that after decades of failed attempts at trying to conceive that it was the ponderings in Sarahs and Abrams minds that eventually lead them to entertain the thought that God must have brought Hagar into their lives so that Abrahams seed would continue? Matthew Henry tends to agree on this point stating Abram's compliance with Sarai's proposal, we have reason to think, was from an earnest desire of the promised seed, on whom the covenant should be entailed. God had told him that his heir should be a son of his body, but had not yet told him that it should be a son by Sarai; therefore he thought, "Why not by Hagar, since Sarai herself proposed it?'' What we learn by trying to help God as Henry says is It is for want of a firm dependence upon God's promise, and a patient waiting for God's time, that we go out of the way of our duty to catch at expected mercy. He that believes does not make haste. In other words, The Father will bring His plan to pass in His time, and He will make it clear. But to their credit lets put a few historical facts together. From the book of Yasher we discover that both Abraham and Sarai were born in South Babylon, Ur of the Chaldeans, under the dictatorship of Nimrod. Abram had a bounty on his head from birth, but because his father, Terah, had tender feelings toward the newborn Abram he concocted a scheme to save him and instead brought one of his handmaids infants to the king and identified the child falsely as his own. So Abram escaped to a distant cave with his mother and nurse and lived there until Abram was ten years old, which at the same time is when Haran, then 42, the eldest of Abrams brothers begat his daughter Sarai. At that time Abram went to live in the tents of Noah and Shem for 40 years to learn of them The Torah. Sarai 7

however we are not told much except that her father was Haran, older brother of Abram. We are provided no information at all about Sarais mother, which does us no good as to determining her home-life, but suffice it to say, if her dad didnt walk in Torah, then her mother was more than likely not walking in Torah either. After Abram destroyed Terahs idols and confronted him, it was Terah who went before the king in a rage to advise him that Abram, his prophetically named son was alive and well. And it was at the pressuring of King Nimrod that Terah implicated his eldest son Haran as the one responsible for making Terah do what he did all those years ago. We read in the 12th chapter of Yasher starting in verse 15, And the king said Who advised thee to this? Tell me, do not hide aught from me, and then thou shalt not die. 16 And Terah was greatly terrified in the kings presence, and he said to the king, It was Haran my eldest son who advised me to this; and Haran was in those days that Abram was born, two and thirty years old. 17 But Haran did not advise his father to anything, for Terah said this to the king in order to deliver his soul from the king, for he feared greatly; and the king said to Terah, Haran thy son who advised thee to this shall die through fire with Abram; for the sentence of death is upon him for having rebelled against the kings desire in doing this thing. 18 And Haran at that time felt inclined to follow the ways of Abram, but he kept it within himself. 19 And Haran said in his heart, Behold now the king has seized Abram on account of these things which Abram did, and it shall come to pass, that if Abram prevail over the king I will follow him, but if the king prevail I will go after the king. As tragic a story as this is, we learn a little from her father Haran, and the home that Sarai grew up in. We can glean from Scripture in Genesis 11:27 that Haran became the father of Lot, and we see what kind of person Lot turned out to be. We also see in verse 28 of the same chapter that Haran died in the presence of his father Terah, which does not give any explanation as to the cause in Torah, but Yasher does as it chronicles the seizing and throwing of Abram and Haran into a blazing fire. It gives the account in the 12th chapter starting in verse 21, And they brought them both, Abram and Haran his brother, to cast them into the fire; and all the inhabitants of the land and the kings servants and princes and all the women and little ones were there, standing that day over them. So Terah did witness with his own eyes the death of his son Haran, who was innocent. The side lesson to this is Haran had a prompting to walk in the Way of Torah like his young brother Abram, but rather than step out with the eyes faith, he chose to wait and see what 8

Abrams outcome would be. Little did he know that the kings men were coming for him too. How ironic it must have been when he received the knock on his door. Ive spent a lot of time giving background on those who had a presence or influence on Sarai because I felt it was important to show what she came out of, what she overcame, and perhaps what she was still struggling with even long after coming out of Babylon. A Few Questions for Your Consideration: Do you think if Sarai was there at the execution of her father and the attempted execution of her soon to be husband, that the images of her father in the fire would have been easy to erase from her memory? Would it alter your perception of God if you knew that your Grandfather lied to the government in order to protect his own life, and instead had your father arrested, drawn out in front of the entire city, falsely identified as a heinous criminal pinned with a charge he was completely innocent of, and then dropped into a fiery furnace bound and burned alive for the entire city to see? Would you struggle with mixed emotions learning after the fact that your disloyal self-serving grandfather, who made a life as a corrupted politician serving a pagan, tyrannical king that murdered your father is coming with you and your husband because again hes afraid for his own life? Do you think Sarai may have ever struggled with forgiveness, or even bringing justice into her own hands toward her grandfather Terah as he initially followed them out of Babylon, in essence bringing some of Babylon with them? Many of us although now walking on The Way of Truth and Righteousness, are still haunted and plagued by the pain of judgmental eyes, false accusations, crippling stigmas and deeply entrenched resentments. Any number of these painful spiritual and emotional scars can affect a persons faith. These painful touchstones are designed to pull us closer to our Creator, but often times without proper understanding, left to the ponderings of man, we can find ourselves dying to Gods present possibilities, because were too busy living in the past. Could any of us relate to Sarah? What we see in Sarah however is a woman who in the midst of suffering, and face to face with any number of insecurities was lifted by YHWH to 9

Matriarchal status, and she conducted herself according to the pattern outlined in 1 Peter 3, we read but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. 6 Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. (1Pe 3:4-6 NAS) Sarah showed great courage, trusting in her husband even when he himself was uncertain of where he was going. Sarah also demonstrated great faith! We read in Hebrews 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised; (Heb 11:11 NAS) And so here we see The Father lifted Sarah up to a place of prominence for her faith in leading her and her husband Abraham to the land of promise and for trusting that He would eventually bring it to pass. What many of us forget about her Sarah needs to be remembered. And that is that although she lived a life in gentleness and kindness and obedience, demonstrating great faith, she was also a mouthpiece for The Father to speak directly to her husband Abraham. As my friend Angus Wootten pointed out by making the crucial distinction that, If it had been up to Abraham his heir would have been Ishmael! We read in BeResheit But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid;

whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her,

for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. (Gen 21:12 NAS)

In chapter 23 we have the burial of Sarah. The focus of this chapter is 4pronged, in that the first is Abraham mourned over Sarah. Sarah the love of his 10

life has passed and Abraham has lost that part of him that made him whole. There is a deep loss felt here on the part of Abraham and he mourns over her passing as does her son Isaac. We read in Yasher chapter 23 verse 89 And Abraham and Isaac went to her to Hebron, and when they found that she was dead they lifted up their voices and wept bitterly over her; and Isaac fell upon his mothers face and wept over her, and he said O my mother, my mother, how hast thou left me, and where hast thou gone? O how, how hast thou left me! And Abraham and Isaac wept greatly and all their servants wept with them on account of Sarah, and they mourned over her a great and heavy mourning. What we find when Abraham rises from Sarah is he approaches the people who are still occupying the territory of Hebron, a pagan nation known as the sons of Heth, who The Father has sworn Abrahams descendants shall possess, but nonetheless he approaches them as a stranger, with humility. And its here in the cities gates that he requests a place to bury Sarah and speaks to one of the high ranked people there. The area Abraham has chosen is a cave called Machpelah in a field there in Canaan, facing Mamre. The initial dialogue appears very respectful, Abraham is even called a Lord, in the Tikkun hes regarded as a prince of Elohim. Ephron the Hittite is exchanging back and forth with Abraham and making lavish verbal overtures, No my Lord, hear me, I give you the field and I give you the cave that is in it. But Abraham wants to own it outright so that it will forever belong to his seed and so he presses to purchase. As the sages point out in the Tanach, and the verses reveal, Ephrons public generosity is a sham. Not only had he no intention of making a gift, he hypocritically implied to Abraham that he expected an outrageously high price. As the Sages put it, the righteous say little but do much, but the wicked promise much and perform not even a little. They would offer to anoint with oil from an empty flask. And so Abraham pays the 400 shekels for the burial site. Notice. Half a silver shekel in todays monetary value is approximately $23. So 1 silver shekel is approximately $50. 400 silver shekels is therefore worth about (50 x 400)= $20,000! This was an inflated, exorbitant price, but the point we are to learn here is that although this land had already been promised to Abrahams descendants, he remained humble and gracious and paid the price because his beloved was far more worthy than any price he could ever pay. Chapter 24: 11

In this chapter we see Abraham is much much older now. Rabbinical commentary states that Abrahams own productive life was coming to an end. Isaac was 37 years old when Sarah died and Abraham was troubled by the thought that had Isaac been slaughtered at the Akeidah, he would have left no worthy successor. Therefore, Abraham undertook to provide for the future by finding a wife for Isaac. But she had to be the next Sarah of the Jewish people, a woman who would be not only a wife and mother, but a Matriarch. If we go back and look at what was happening over the course of time during this parsha within Abrahams life, he saw his wife pass, his nephew Lot passed, his brother Nahor passed, and his friend king Abimelech passed and his 12 year old son benmelech took the throne in his fathers stead. So hes seeing the times change, his family dynamic had completely changed, he lost his last brother and Yasher says he grieved for many days when his brother passed. And in my honest opinion I think Abraham was concerned for his son Isaac and the fact that he had not yet found a wife, and so Abraham calls forth his faithful servant Eliezer. Torah does not specifically name him but is inferred because Eliezer is Abrahams most trusted servant. What we see in Abrahams request is in my honest opinion a combination of reasons. One being that Abraham does not want a woman taken from the pagan Canaanites who are in process of being removed for their rebellion, and after having assumed Hagar was The Fathers orchestration and assuming incorrectly, he knew that when The Father said the promise would be through his seed, that YHWH meant through the genealogical line of Abraham, as Sarah was half-sister to Abraham. So he left nothing to chance, made Eliezer vow to him to follow through and sent him on his way. Eliezer means God is Help. Interestingly, the root word for Eliezer is AhZR and it means Strong help.

Ayin-Zayin actually means to know a weapon and Resh means Chief. The Theological Wordbook reveals that it is a word often associated with military help, but it speaks to both the physical and the divine. Lazarus name is the same as 12

Eliezer and means the same thing, but of critical significance is the fact that Yeshua said The Father would send a. helper! "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, (Joh 14:16-17 NAS) The connection is that Eliezer is a type and shadow of The Holy Spirit that The Father sends out into the world to gather the bride, removing her from out of idolatry and bringing her to her bridegroom the son! Just a thought for consideration, did The Father not do something similar with Israel, when He sent His angel (messenger) through Egypt (a land overrun with pagan tradition and idolatry)? And then when they left did they not leave with all manner of spoil with gold and silver and jewels? Again this may be another prophetic picture of what happens to our patriarchs will happen to us. Eliezer sets out with ten camels and his men to Nahor, Abrahams country and stops at the well at the city at the time when the women came to draw water. Wells are pictures of Spirit, and Eliezer, a type and shadow of the Holy Spirit, wanted to see what spirit the woman of choosing would be. Sage commentary states Eliezer chose this location because it would provide an honest look at the character of the woman, as opposed to witnessing ones character in the home where their behavior would more than likely prove honorable due to the parents there in the home. But here, at the well, Eliezer knew this would be a good test. And so he prays a very specific prayer.. should this not teach us as well that when we pray let us pray specific prayers so that we will be looking for specific answers? Out of all the women he asked, Rebekah was the one that answered the call perfectly! She not only gave Eliezer a drink, but willingly quenched the thirst of all ten of Eliezers camels. A thirsty camel can drink up to 25 gallons in 10 minutes. If 10 camels each drink 25 gallons of water, thats 250 gallons! That is devotion and commitment. Convinced this may very well be the one for Isaac Eliezer confirms it when she reveals that she is of the house of Bethuel, son of Milcah, wife of Abrahams brother Nahor. Eliezer bequeaths her a golden nose ring, two golden bracelets. As they approach their home Laban, Rebekahs brother comes out to greet but we learn that it is not on account of his excitement to be a gracious host, rather it was more out of greed, which proved to be a defining trait exhibited especially when Jacob worked under him to win Rachel for his wife. 13

Eliezer retells the story to Rebekahs family and the following morning they attempt to persuade Eliezer to allow Rebekah to wait a year before coming with him, but he insists she must go now. The question is asked Rebekah, will you go with this man? To which she simply replies, I will go. Here we see the faith, the honor and the courage to step out in the power of the Holy Spirit and go in His care and leading, to be united with her bridegroom. We find Isaac in the field meditating, rabbinic commentary suggests this was Minchah, or Afternoon prayers. Rebekah veils herself as they approach, she lights off her horse and meets Isaac there and Torah says Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rebekah, she became his wife, and he loved her; and thus was Isaac consoled after his mother. Abraham remarries Keturah, which the sages say was actually Hagar under a different name. They give birth to several children. Curiously we also read of Abrahams passing as well, despite the fact that he actually lived for the first 15 years of Jacob and Esaus life. We read that both Isaac and Ishmael bury Abraham in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, facing Mamre. We read of Ishmaels passing and his offspring and that he lived to be 137 years old.


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