A character from the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament. Sarah was the wife of Abraham. Her name used to be Sarai, but she changed it after a commandment from God. Sarah was barren for most of her life, until when she was 90 (Abraham was 100) God told her she would have a child. She did (though she laughed at God when he told her this). Her child's name was Isaac. She died when she was 127 years old in Kirjatharb.

This is a song by Ween, from the album Pure Guava.

It doesn't seem like much, but this song is just the sweetest little thing. It's echoed and a little warped, but it's almost like a lullaby, and you can just see the singer getting up and seeing his girl sleeping, and wishing her well no matter what happens.

when i find you
in your sleep
sarah

Ween historically enjoys writing songs about girls who done them wrong, so this is something special, a ballad about love. I don't know who Sarah is.

forever may i love you,
and forever may you dream
sarah

This song is © 1992 by Ween, Elektra Records (Cassette), © 1992 CD Creation Records (CD).

Pure Guava
Next song on this album: Springtheme

Sarah is a Biblical personality, originally named Sarai, she was the wife of Abraham and bore him a child in his old age, and had a beauty so great that not even national leaders could ignore it.

If you don't believe in Biblical infallibility (or even if you do), then there is a very large case to be made for looking at Sarah's life through a different view than the traditional one. Specifically one can easily make a case for a youthful Sarah, which makes a lot more sense than an elderly one.

Sarah is traditionally seen as this paradox of a figure that is an extremely elderly woman, far too old to bear children, yet at the same time she is also so beautiful that she attracts the attention of national leaders.

The paradox is basically one of traditional translations being held up even when they don't make sense and there are more sensible ways to translate the text. Every instance of Sarah being referred to as old could have also been translated as her husband being old instead¹, in fact this is much more likely due to the fact that the bible always put far more focus on the men in the stories than it did on the women. The bible usually didn't say much about the women at all, just little tidbits here and there.

Genesis chapter 17 is one spot where people like to point and say that it says Sarah is ninety years old. But the only problem is that it does not say that, in context the number is tossed out during a conversation Abraham is having with God about him and Sarai having a child together. Let's examine the text ourselves, this text is from The NIV bible, but appears essentially unchanged in most modern translations.

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?"

You see my dear readers, this is what one might refer to as sarcasm. He is laughing when he says it.

We are later given an extremely elderly age of death for Sarah, but many people don't put a lot of faith in the extreme ages assigned to the people living in the first few books of the bible, and there is also the simple possibility that the death age given was an extrapolation derived from the sarcastic age of ninety. The bible normally doesn't give ages for women at all, Sarah even being given an age, or age of death is an exception to the rule, which adds to the case that the death age later in Genesis was an extrapolation.

What is logically required for the story to be taken literally, as written, and including the death age given later in Genesis? Well, what that requires is for Sarah to be possessed of supernatural beauty, appearing as a young woman even as she finished out her 9th decade. Could God have done that? Why certainly, but it wasn't mentioned, and that is a fairly large detail to omit from the story. It is is a continual miracle that lasted for many decades, and it is something that doesn't really have a lot of precedent.

1. In many translations there will be an alternate translation in the footnotes which will instead put the focus on her husband's age rather than hers. More specifically it is several cases of "bearing a child in her husband's old age". This is actually the primary text in some translations.

And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. (Bereshit 23:1)

Sarah was Abraham's wife and mother of Isaac. So the story goes, God promised Abraham a son, and he waits. Until one day Abraham gets a visit from three men who he knows are really angels and one of them tells Sarah that she will get pregnant. Sarah laughed in reply. As a monument she names her son Itzchak (Itzchak is Hebrew for 'he will laugh').

And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. (Bereshit 21:3)

A midrash tells of Sarah's death. If you remember God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah. Abraham does it and we all know what happens. However while he's away, Sarah's alone at home and Satan (Note: the Jewish one i.e. the angel, not the Devil) tells her what Abraham intends to do to their one child. Sarah heard and died.

And Sarah died in Kiriatharba--the same is Hebron--in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. (Bereshit 23:2)

I think this story is widely misinterpreted. Or at least the picture I got which depicted Sarah as a tired cynic.

She left her home and family to follow her husband to God and in return was to be given something the average person expects to get anyways, a son. Then when a normal person would have long lost hope she's told that she'll have a son so she laughs. I look at it like this:

A 99 year old woman who's gone this far with faith finally gets told the one thing she's been waiting to hear for several decades. What do you say to that? Sarah's flustered and doesn't know what to say so she laughs.

Similarly when Satan comes to her door and tells her that Abraham is to sacrifice her son to God she clings to that faith. Sarah gets told the one thing she didn't expect or want to hear by another angel and flustered, she doesn't know what to reply to she dies.

Sarah and Abraham are very much alike. They both have an unyielding faith in God that is absolutely fanatical. It's something to laud, but it's also something very dangerous. Abraham's faith nearly kills Isaac and Sarah's faith ultimately kills her. When she hears the news of the Akedah she is torn between her unmovable faith in God and her firm motherly instincts, she has no way out that doesn't defy God or her being so she dies. The Torah warns us that faith has a cost and needs to be combined with common sense, otherwise it becomes destructive.

And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre--the same is Hebron--in the land of Canaan. (Bereshit 23:19, Parshat Chaya Sara)

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