When Abram and Sarai were 99 & 89 years old, God spoke to Abram again.
He reaffirmed His covenant with Abram.
And He gave them new names.
What's with these names anyway?For most of their lives, they were Abram and Sarai, "exalted father and noble woman." God gave them new names, the ones we know them as: "Father of a Multitude" and "Princess." The syllable "Sar" is the same one meaning "ruler" that's part of the great king Sargon.
This name change was on the occasion of the deepening of the covenant by circumcision. And this time there was no mistaking Sarah's inclusion.
When i heard Jennifer Rothschild speak, she pointed out that Sarai's new name had no "i" in it. It's sort of like the "no I in team" thing, or my own thing about the lower case.
Was Sarah a more humble person than Sarai?
Of course, whaever language this ancient couple spoke was not English. It didn't have that "i/I" issue with the significance we attach. But still there was a definite nuance:
It has been observed that among ancient Jews there was a sort of a cabalistic translation that “the Hebrew letter yod signifies the creative power of God in nature, while the letter hay symbolizes the state of grace—that state into which Sarah had entered after receiving the covenanted promises.”
We can probably make too much of this, but God Himself changed Sarai's name.
Yod, i. Hay, h.
Humanly trying to fulfill The Plan versus allowing God to work the miracle in her.
Or in me.
This time, Sarah was included.
The one who was not included IS included.
Dare she believe it?
Her husband didn't. He scoffed with internal laughter.
Both of them scoffed inside themselves, but God heard anyway.
The thing was clearly impossible. A centenarian and a long-post-menopausal woman?
|Life from death|
JoyThe story doesn't end with Isaac's birth. Before we get there there's a deja vu episode - did these people never learn? Do i ever learn?
The episode in Gerar probably took place over less than a week, Valerie guesstimate. Time was short at this point - close reading of the text shows that Genesis 17-21 took place in only one year.
Is the lesson that God rescues us from our consequences because that's a reward of following Him? No, there's something bigger at stake.
There needed to be no questions raised about Isaac's paternity.