From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

("princess".) (See Abraham ; Isaac Sarah is Iscah, sister of Milcah and Lot (Called "Brother Of Abraham."  Genesis 14:16 ) , and daughter of Haran. As Nahor married his niece Milcah, so Abraham ( Genesis 11:27), the youngest brother of the three, his niece Sarah, "daughter," i.e. granddaughter, "of his father not of his mother," probably not more than ten years his junior ( Genesis 11:29;  Genesis 20:12) Sarai, "my princess," was her name down to  Genesis 17:15 when God changed it. She was thenceforward to be princess not merely of Abraham and his seed, but of all families of the earth.

An example of faith, though she erred in abetting Abram's pretence that she was his sister (Her Beauty Was Then Great:  Genesis 12:13 , Etc.,  Genesis 20:5 ;  Genesis 20:13 ) ; still more in suggesting the carnal policy of Abram's taking Hagar to obtain children by her, when God delayed the promised seed by Sarah herself ( Genesis 16:1-3); also in harshness to Hagar, when the retributive consequences of her own false step overtook her through the very instrument of her sin ( Genesis 16:5-6;  Jeremiah 2:19;  Proverbs 1:31); also laughing in unbelief at God's promise that she should bear a son in her old age (Genesis 18), forgetting that nothing is "too hard for the Lord" (see  Jeremiah 32:17;  Luke 1:37), then denying that she laughed, through fear; faith triumphed at last (Genesis 21).

"At the set time the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as He had spoken"; "God hath made me to laugh," said Sarah, "all that hear will laugh with me," namely, in joy as Abraham laughed ( Genesis 17:17), not in incredulity, as in  Genesis 18:12-15. Under God's prompting, Sarah, seeing Hagar's son "mocking" at Isaac the son of the promise during the feast for the latter when weaned (see the spiritual sense  Galatians 4:22-31), said to Abraham, "cast out this bondwoman," etc. (See Hagar .)

 Hebrews 11:11, "through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and that when she was past age (The Alexandrinus And Sinaiticus Manuscripts Omit "Was Delivered Of A Child") because she judged Him faithful that promised"; though first doubting, as the weaker vessel, she ceased to doubt, faith triumphing over sense. "Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord," and so is a pattern of a meek and quiet spirit to all wives ( 1 Peter 3:6;  Genesis 18:12). The truth of the sacred narrative appears in its faithfully recording her faults as well as her faith. Her motherly affection so won Isaac that none but Rebekah could "comfort him after his mother's death" ( Genesis 24:6-7). She was 127 when she died at Hebron, 28 years before Abraham, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah, bought from Ephron the Hittite; her "shrine" is shown opposite Abraham's, with Isaac's and Rebekah's on one side, Jacob's and Leah's on the other.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [2]

At the time of her marriage to Abraham in Mesopotamia, Sarah’s name was Sarai and Abraham’s was Abram. God gave them their new names (Abraham meaning ‘father of a multitude’, Sarah meaning ‘princess’) to confirm to them that they would be the parents of a multitude of people, the nation Israel ( Genesis 11:29;  Genesis 17:5-6;  Genesis 17:15-16;  Isaiah 51:2). From Mesopotamia God directed Abraham and Sarah into Canaan, the land that he promised would be Israel’s eventual homeland ( Genesis 12:1;  Genesis 12:5-8).

Abraham accepted God’s promise by faith and, because of this, God accepted him as righteous ( Genesis 15:6). (For details of the New Testament teaching on faith in the lives of Abraham and Sarah see Abraham .) However, Abraham’s faith failed on occasions. Twice he deceived people by saying Sarah was his sister. This was partly true, as Sarah was a daughter of his father by a different wife; but it was wrong to tell only part of the truth in order to deceive ( Genesis 12:18-20;  Genesis 20:11-12).

God had promised that Abraham and Sarah, in spite of their many years without children, would in due course produce a son through whom God’s promises would be fulfilled. The older they grew, the less likely it seemed that Sarah would bear a child, so Sarah suggested that Abraham obtain the desired son through their slave-girl, Hagar. A son was born, but God said it was not the child he had promised ( Genesis 16:1-4;  Genesis 16:15;  Genesis 17:18-19).

Sarah found it difficult to believe that a woman as old as she could bear a son, and therefore God sent special heavenly messengers to convince her. Sarah had to share Abraham’s faith ( Genesis 18:10-14). The next year, when Abraham was about a hundred years old and Sarah about ninety, Sarah gave birth to Isaac, the son whom God had promised ( Genesis 17:17;  Genesis 17:19;  Genesis 17:21;  Genesis 21:1-5). The faith of Abraham and Sarah had been tested constantly for twenty-five years (cf.  Genesis 12:4), and had shown itself to be genuine and enduring ( Romans 4:17-21;  Hebrews 11:11-12).

Earlier there had been friction between Sarah and Hagar ( Genesis 16:4-9). When it appeared again, Sarah said to Abraham that he should drive out Hagar and her son from the household ( Genesis 21:10). Although Sarah respected Abraham as head of the household, she also had a role in family decisions, and in this case God told Abraham to do as Sarah suggested ( Genesis 21:12; cf.  1 Peter 3:6). Isaac alone was to be heir to the promises God gave concerning his chosen land and people. Sarah lived to see her son grow into a mature and responsible leader. He was about thirty-seven years old when Sarah died ( Genesis 23:1;  Genesis 23:19).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

SARAH or SARAI . 1 . ‘Sarai’ is the form used previous to   Genesis 17:15 , and ‘Sarah’ afterwards, in harmony with the change of name there narrated (by P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ). It is probable that there is no real significance in the change, - ai being an old feminine ending found in Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic, while - ah is the common feminine ending. Sarah means ‘princess.’ The occurrence of the name Sa-ra-a-a in an Assyrian letter (K 1274) adds no definite information. Sarah was the wife of Abraham, and also his half-sister (  Genesis 12:13;   Genesis 20:12 ); her parentage is not given further. She was taken as wife by the king of Egypt and also by Abimelech king of Gerar, and afterwards restored to Abraham (  Genesis 12:10-20;   Genesis 12:20 ). The former incident is in J [Note: Jahwist.] , the latter in E; they may be different versions of the same story. The statement that she was at least 65 years old at this time (  Genesis 12:4; cf.   Genesis 17:17 ) seems inconsistent with these incidents, and especially with the statement concerning her beauty (  Genesis 12:11 ). It is to be remembered, however, that the dates belong to P. Sarah was long barren, but finally Isaac was born after supernatural intervention, when she was 90 years old (  Genesis 21:1-7 [P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ]). Through jealousy Sarah illtreated Hagar , her handmaid, the concubine of Abraham, and finally drove her away with her son Ishmael (  Genesis 16:1-16 ,   Genesis 21:8-21 ). The incident is in harmony with the regulations of the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (§§ 144 147). Sarah died at the age of 127 (P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ), and was buried in the cave of Machpelah (  Genesis 23:1-20 ). In the NT she is mentioned in   Romans 4:19;   Romans 9:9 ,   Hebrews 11:11 ,   1 Peter 3:6 ,   Galatians 4:21 to   Galatians 5:1 .

2 . Sarah, daughter of Raguel and wife of Tobias ( Tob 3:7; Tob 3:17 and elsewhere).

George R. Berry.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [4]

A memorable name in Scripture well known to all lovers of the Bible. The wife of Abraham. Various have been the interpretations given to her name, according to the root from whence various commentators on the Bible have supposed it to have been derived. The most general opinion hath been, that it is taken from Shar, prince; and if so Sharah or Sarah will be princess. It would be to give an abridgement of that part of the word of God which contains the history of Sarah to amplify observations in this place on her character. The reader will do well to turn to the relation given of her in the book of Genesis, and in summing up her character to recollect what honorable testimony the Holy Ghost hath given of Sarah in giving her a place among those illustrious persons-who all died, as they had lived, in faith, "not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them." It is but a short inscription over Sarah's portrait in those lively pictures of the faithful, but it is a very blessed one, "She judged him faithful who had promised." ( Hebrews 11:11-13)

Though I think it unnecessary to swell the pages of this Concordance with the history of Sarah, because we have it already most blessedly set forth in the holy Scriptures, yet I cannot shut up this article without making a short observation on that beautiful allegory which the Holy Ghost hath given us in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, ( Galatians 4:22-31). Under the history of Sarah and Hagar, the Holy Ghost there teacheth the church that he hath represented the two covenants of the gospel and the law. No man upon earth, untaught of God the Holy Ghost, would ever have had the most distant idea of those things being shadowed forth in Sarah and Hagar's history, had not the Lord the Spirit so taught. But being there so beautifully and strikingly explained, it becomes a subject of sweet consolation and instruction, and gives to all true believers in Christ new occasion to bless God when discovering their relationship in Jesus, that they "as Isaac was, are the children of promise." It is indeed most blessed to discover that "we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free."

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [5]


(1) Sarah has a place in the Roll of Faith ( Hebrews 11:11). By faith even she herself (καὶ αὐτή) won the title to this great honour. The meaning of αὐτή, is doubtful: it may be expanded into ‘though she was the weaker vessel’ (vas infirmius, Bengel); or, ‘though she was barren’ (D adds the gloss στεῖρα); or, ‘though she had been so incredulous.’ She received strength for conception (εἰς καταβολὴν σπέρματος), believing, even when she was beyond the proper time of life (παρὰ καιρὸν ἡλικίας), that God could by a miracle give her a child. Motherhood after long childlessness is a recurrent theme in Bible narratives: Rebekah, Rachel, the mother of Samson, of Samuel, of John Baptist had each a happiness like Sarah’s. (2) St. Peter ( 1 Peter 3:6) praises the holy women of the olden time, who trusted in God and were in subjection to their husbands, ‘as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.’ Her reverential use of this term in reference to her husband occurs but once ( Genesis 18:12), and would in itself be an insufficient ground for making her a pattern of wifely obedience, especially as words of quite another import stand recorded against her (16:5). But the Apostle evidently felt that the dutiful word was weighted with the love and loyalty of a lifetime.

Literature.-A. Whyte, Bible Characters: Adam to Achan, 1896; R. F. Horton, Women of the OT, 1897.

James Strahan.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

Or SARA, the wife of Abraham, the daughter of his father by another mother,  Genesis 20:12 . Most Jewish writers, however, and many interpreters, identify her with Iscah, the sister of Lot, and Abraham's niece,  Genesis 11.29; the word "daughter" according to Hebrew usage, comprising any female descendant, and "sister," any female relation by blood. When God made a covenant with Abraham, he changed the name of Sarai or my princess, into that of Sarah, or princess; and promised Abraham a son by her, which was fulfilled in due time.

The most prominent points of her history as recorded in the Bible are, her consenting to Abraham's unbelieving dissimulation while near Pharaoh and Abimelech; her long-continued barrenness; her giving to Abraham her maid Hagar as a secondary wife; their mutual jealousy; and her bearing Isaac in her old age, "the child of promise,"  Genesis 12:1-23:20 . She appears to have been a woman of uncommon beauty, and a most exemplary and devoted wife. Her docility is eulogized in  1 Peter 3:6 , and her faith in  Hebrews 11:11 . See also  Isaiah 51:2   Galatians 4:22-31 . Sarah lived to the age of one hundred and twenty-seven years. She died in the valley of Hebron, and Abraham came to Beer-sheba to mourn for her, after which he bought a field of Ephron the Hittite, wherein was a cave hewn in the rock, called Machpelah, where Sarah was buried,  Genesis 23:9 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

Sa'rah. (Princess).

1. The wife, and half-sister,  Genesis 20:12, of Abraham, and mother of Isaac. Her name is first introduced in  Genesis 11:29, as Sarai. The change of her name from Sarai, My Princess , (that is, Abraham's), to Sarah, Princess , (for all the race), was made at the same time that Abram's name was changed to Abraham, - on the establishment of the covenant of circumcision between him and God. Sarah's history is, of course, that of Abraham. See Abraham . She died at Hebron at the age of 127 years, 28 years before her husband, and was buried by him, "in the cave of the field of Machpelah,"  Genesis 23:19. (B.C. 1860). She is referred to, in the New Testament, as a type of conjugal obedience in  1 Peter 3:6, and as one of the types of faith in  Hebrews 11:11.

2. Sarah, the daughter of Asher.  Numbers 26:46.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Sarah ( Sâ'Rah ), Princess. 1. The wife and half-sister,  Genesis 20:12, of Abraham, and mother of Isaac. Her name is written Sarai in  Genesis 11:29. The change of her name from Sarai, My Princess (I.E. Abraham's), to Sarah, Princess, was made when Abram's name was changed to Abraham. She died at Hebron at the age of 127 years, 28 years before her husband, and was burled by him in the cave of Machpelah. She is referred to in the New Testament as a type of conjugal obedience in  1 Peter 3:6, and as one of the types of faith in  Hebrews 11:11.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Genesis 11:29 20:12

In the allegory of  Galatians 4:22-31 she is the type of the "Jerusalem which is above." She is also mentioned as Sara in   Hebrews 11:11 among the Old Testament worthies, who "all died in faith." (See Abraham .)

Morrish Bible Dictionary [10]

Daughter of Asher.  Numbers 26:46 .Called Serah in  Genesis 46:17;  1 Chronicles 7:30 .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [11]

the wife of Abraham, and his sister, as he himself informs us, by the same father, but not the same mother,  Genesis 20:12 . See Abraham .

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [12]

 1 Peter 3:6 (a) This is a type of the Church, the Bride of Christ who should be and usually is in obedience to her Lord, the Bridegroom.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

The name of two women in the Old Test., whose Hebrew names, however, are different.

I. The wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac.

1 . Her Name . The Hebrew form of Sarah is שָׂרָה , Sarah, which is the regular feminine of שִׂר , Sar, a Prince, often so used and rendered (Sept., Josephus, and New Test. Σάῤῥα , "Sara" in the A.V. of the N.T.). Her original name, however, was SARAI (See Sarai) (q.v.), which is usually regarded as of kindred etymology. The change of her name from "Sarai" to "Sarah" was made at the same time that Abram's name was changed to Abraham, on the establishment of the covenant of circumcision between him and God. That the name "Sarah" signifies "princess" is universally acknowledged. But the meaning of "Sarai" is still a subject of controversy. The older interpreters (as, for example, Jerome, in Quoest. Hebr., and those who follow him) suppose it to mean "my princess;" and explain the change from Sarai to Sarah as signifying that she was no longer the queen of one family, but the royal ancestress of "all families of the earth." They also suppose that the addition of the letter ה , as taken from the sacred tetragrammaton Jehovah, to the names of Abram and Sarai, mystically signified their being received into covenant with the Lord. Among modern Hebraists there is great diversity of interpretation. One opinion, keeping to the same general derivation as that referred to above, explains "Sarai" as "noble," "nobility," etc., an explanation which, even more than the other, labors under the objection of giving little force to the change. Another opinion supposes Sarai to be a contracted form of שְׂרָיָה ( Seraydh ) , and to signify "Jehovah is ruler." (See Seraiah). But this gives no force whatever to the change, and, besides, introduces the element Jah into a proper name too early in the history. A third (following Ewald, Heb. Gram. § 324) derives it from שָׂרָה , a root which is found in  Genesis 32:28;  Hosea 12:4, in the sense of "to fight," and explains it as "contentious" (streits Ü chtig). This last seems to be, etymologically, the most probable, and differs from the others in giving great force and dignity to the change of name (see Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 1338 b; Pfeiffer, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1871, 1, 145 sq.). (See Proper Name).

2. Her Parentage . She is first introduced in  Genesis 11:29 as follows: "Abram and Nahor took them wives: 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 the father of Iscah." In  Genesis 20:12 Abraham speaks of her as his sister, the daughter of the same father, but not the daughter of the same mother. The common Jewish tradition, taken for granted by Josephus (Ant. 1, 6, 6) and by Jerome (Quoest. Hebr. ad Genesin, 3, 323 [ed. Ben. 1735) is that Sarai is the same as Iscah, the daughter of Haran and the sister of Lot, who is called Abraham's "brother" in  Genesis 14:14;  Genesis 14:16. Judging from the fact that Rebekah, the granddaughter of Nahor, was the wife of Isaac, the son of Abraham, there is reason to conjecture that Abraham was the youngest brother, so that his wife might not improbably be younger than the wife of Nahor. It is certainly strange, if the tradition be true, that no direct mention of it is found in  Genesis 11:29. But it is not improbable in itself; it supplies the account of the descent of the mother of the chosen race, the omission of which in such a passage is most unlikely; and there is no other to set against it, except the assertion of Abraham himself that Sarai was his half- sister, "the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother" ( Genesis 20:12); but this is held by many to mean no more than that Haran her father was his half-brother; for the colloquial usage of the Hebrews in this matter makes it easy to understand that he might call a niece a sister, and a granddaughter a daughter. In general discourse "daughter" comprised any and every female descendant, and "sister" any and every consanguineous relationship. (See Stempel, De Abrahamo Matrimonium Dissimulante [Vitemb. 1714].) In that case Abraham was really her uncle as well as husband. (See Brother).

3. Her History . This is substantially, of course, that of Abraham. She came with him from Ur to Haran, from Haran to Canaan, and accompanied him in all the wanderings of his life. Her only independent action is the demand that Hagar and Ishmael should be cast out, far from all rivalry with her and Isaac; a demand symbolically applied in  Galatians 4:22-31 to the displacement of the Old Covenant by the New. The times in which she plays the most important part in the history are the times when Abraham was sojourning, first in Egypt, then in Gerar, in both which cases Sarah shared his deceit towards Pharaoh and towards Abimelech. On the first occasion, about the middle of her life, her personal beauty is dwelt upon as its cause ( Genesis 12:11-15); on the second, just before the birth of Isaac, at a time when she was old (thirty-seven years before her death), but when her vigor had been miraculously restored, the same cause is alluded to as supposed by Abraham, but not actually stated ( Genesis 20:9-11). In the former case the commendations which the princes of Pharaoh bestowed upon the charms of the lovely stranger have been supposed by some to have been owing to the contrast which her fresh, Mesopotamian complexion offered to the dusky hue of their own beauties. But, so far as climate is concerned, the nearer Syria could offer complexions as fair as hers; and, moreover, a people trained by their habits to admire "dusky" beauties were not likely to be inordinately attracted by a fresh complexion. In both cases, especially the last, the truthfulness of the history is seen in the unfavorable contrast in which the conduct both of Abraham and Sarah stands to that of Pharaoh and Abimelech. She died at Hebron at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven years, twenty-eight years before her husband, and was buried by him in the cave of Machpelah, B.C. 2027. Her burial place, purchased of Ephron the Hittite, was the only possession of Abraham in the Land of Promise. It has remained, hallowed in the eyes of Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans alike, to the present day; and in it the "shrine of Sarah" is pointed out opposite to that of Abraham, with those of Isaac and Rebekah on the one side, and those of Jacob and Leah on the other (see Stanley's Lect. on Jewish Church, app. 2, p. 484-509). (See Abraham).

4. Her Character . This is no ideal type of excellence, like that of Abraham, but one thoroughly natural and truly feminine, both in its excellences and its defects. Her natural motherly affection is seen in her touching desire for children, even from her bondmaid, and in her unforgiving jealousy of that bondmaid when she became a mother; in her rejoicing over her son Isaac, and in the spirit which resented the slightest insult to him and forbade Ishmael to share his sonship. It makes her cruel to others as well as tender to her own, and is remarkably contrasted with the sacrifice of natural feeling on the part of Abraham to God's command in the last case ( Genesis 21:12). To the same character belong her ironical laughter at the promise of a child, long desired, but now beyond all hope; her trembling denial of that laughter, and her change of it to the laughter of thankful joy, which she commemorated in the name of Isaac. It is a character deeply and truly affectionate, but impulsive, jealous, and imperious in its affection. Sarah, however, is so rarely introduced directly to our notice that it is difficult to estimate her character justly for want of adequate materials. She is seen only when her presence is indispensable; and then she appears with more of submission and of simplicity than of dignity, and manifests an unwise but not unusual promptitude in following her first thoughts, and in proceeding upon the impulse of her first emotions. Upon the whole, Sarah scarcely meets the idea the imagination would like to form of the life companion of so eminent a person as Abraham. Nevertheless, we cannot fail to observe that she was a most attached and devoted wife. Her husband was the central object of all her thoughts; and he was not forgotten even in her first transports of joy at becoming a mother ( Genesis 21:7). This is her highest eulogium.

It is asked whether Sarah was aware of the intended sacrifice of Isaac, the son of her long-deferred hopes. The chronology is uncertain and does not decide whether this transaction occurred before or after her death. She was probably alive; and if so, we may understand from the precautions employed by Abraham that she was not acquainted with the purpose of the journey to the land of Moriah, and, indeed, that it was the object of these precautions to keep from her knowledge a matter which must so deeply wound her heart. He could have the less difficulty in this if his faith was such as to enable him to believe that he should bring back in safety the son he was commanded to sacrifice ( Hebrews 11:19). As, however, the account of her death immediately follows that of this sacrifice, some of the Jewish writers imagine that the intelligence killed her, and that Abraham found her dead on his return ( Targ Jonath., and Jarchi On  Genesis 23:2; Pirke Eliezer , c. 52). But there seems to be no authority for such an inference.

Isaiah is the only prophet who names Sarah ( Isaiah 51:2) Paul alludes to her hope of becoming a mother ( Romans 4:19); and afterwards cites the promise which she received ( Romans 9:9); and Peter eulogizes her submission to her husband ( 1 Peter 3:6).

II. (Heb. Se ' Rach, שֵׂרִה ; Sept. Σάρα , "Sarah,"  Numbers 26:46; being there "in pause" Sarach, שָׂרִה ) the daughter of the patriarch Asher, elsewhere ( Genesis 46:17;  1 Chronicles 7:30) more properly Anglicized SERAE (See Serae) (q.v.).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Sa´rah (a princess, a noble lady), the wife of Abraham, and mother of Isaac. She was at first called Sarai, which Ewald explains to mean contentious, quarrelsome. As Sarah never appears but in connection with some circumstance in which her husband was principally concerned, all the facts of her history have already been given in the article Abraham, and her conduct to Hagar is considered in the article Hagar.