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Catholic Dictionary




Wife of Abraham. Her original name was Sarai, but when Yahweh promised Abraham that his wife would have a son, he instructed him at the same time to change her name to Sarah (Genesis 17:15). Since she was already ninety years old, she scoffed at the promise, but Yahweh was as good as his word. The child was born and Abraham obediently named him Isaac (Genesis 21:2-3). An awkard situation developed for Abraham as Isaac grew to boyhood. Years before, Sarah had permitted her servant, Hagar, to become Abraham's second wife (a custom permitted in those days) and a son Ishmael resulted. Now that Sarah had a son of her own, she was meanly resentful of a situation she had initiated herself. "Drive away that slave-girl and her son," she said to Abraham. "That slave-girl's son is not to share in the inheritance with my son, Isaac" (Genesis 21:10). Abraham was forced to do so, but Yahweh protected Hagar and Ishmael and assured them that Ishmael would head a great nation (Genesis 21:17-21). Sarah lived to be one hundred twenty-seven years old and died at Hebron in Canaan (Genesis 23:1-2). When Abraham died years later, his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him with Sarah (Genesis 25:9-10). (Etym. Hebrew S_r_h, "princess.")