Commentary Parashat Chayei Sarah (The Life of Sarah)

Beresheet (Genesis) 23:1–25:8

This week’s reading from the parasha starts with the words:

Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. (Genesis 23:1–2)

Many times we overlook Sara’s life as we focus primarily on Abraham, his amazing story, the amazing promises that he received from God, and no doubt his amazing faith. However, Sarah played a vital role in Abraham’s life and in the story overall; what happened to Sarah, in many ways, foreshadows that which would happen to Messiah.

In many of my discussions that I’ve had with people who do not believe, they are very quick to refute the idea of the virgin birth saying that it was an impossible act against nature. However, I am quick to respond that when one sees the amazing miracle that God performed in Sarah’s life – which could easily be argued is also an “unnatural” act – why is it so easy to deny God’s power in regards to the virgin birth?

In Genesis 17:15–17, God tells Abraham that He chose Sarah to birth Isaac, the son of the promise, when she was 90 years old! At 90, Sarah’s womb was way beyond childbearing age. In fact, one could say her womb was dead. How could life come forth from a dead womb?

Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but 1Sarah shall be her name. “And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (Genesis 17:15–17)

Sarah herself didn’t even believe this could happen! In Genesis 18:9–3, we see that she laughed when she overheard the heavenly visitors telling Abraham that she would bear a child:

Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “Behold, in the tent.” And he said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. And Sarah laughed 1to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’” (Genesis 18:9–13)

I believe verse 14 is the key to understanding this entire event: “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” Is anything too difficult for the Lord? Our Creator can do allthings, as He is the Almighty, all powerful and living God!

One more amazing event in this parasha that foreshadows the work of our Messiah is found in Genesis 24:60, when Rebekah’s family blesses her with these amazing words: “And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “May you, our sister, become thousands of ten thousands, and may your seed inherit the gate of those who hate him.”

The “seed” which is spoken of here is the same “seed” of blessing that God promised to Abraham, which would in turn bless all Nations. It is the same seed that we find in Genesis 3, which will crush the serpent: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

This verse also speaks of the fact that that “seed” will inherit the gates of those who hate him, which reminds us of Matthew 16:

Now when Yeshua came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Immerse; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Yeshua answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Congregation; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” (Matt 16:13–18)

Who do you say He is?

This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel, November 8, 2017, and reposted with permission.