Sarah was the wife of Abraham and the matriarch of the Jewish people.
Sarah was so beautiful that when she and Abraham fled to Egypt during a famine, her beauty caused Abraham to fear for their safety. Concerned that Pharaoh would kill him and take Sarah for himself, Abraham pretended that he and Sarah were siblings. Pharaoh did take Sarah, but he spared Abraham and gave him many gifts in return. God then punished Pharaoh, allowing Sarah and Abraham to escape Egypt together.
Although she was beautiful, Sarah was infertile for the majority of her life and could not bear Abraham’s child. Thus, as was the custom, she gave her handmaiden, Hagar, to Abraham so that he could continue his lineage. Hagar then gave birth to Abraham’s first son, Ishmael. After the birth, Sarah’s relationship with Hagar was strained. Hagar no longer respected Sarah, and Sarah became jealous. Finally, Sarah asked Abraham to banish Hagar and her son. According to Jewish tradition, Sarah had more prophetic insight than Abraham, and so Abraham deferred to her wishes.
When Sarah was ninety years old, God told Abraham that she would finally bear his child, causing Abraham to laugh. God insisted, and when Sarah overheard, she laughed as well. But Sarah felt ashamed for doubting God and affirmed her faith. One year later, she gave birth to Isaac, whose line would become the twelve tribes of Israel.
Nearly forty years later, Sarah died in Hebron, at the age of 127. According to some writings, Sarah’s death was related to Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac. In one story Satan told Sarah that Abraham had killed Isaac. When she discovered that Isaac had actually survived, she died of joy.
- Sarah is buried with her husband, Abraham, in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Their son Isaac and his wife, their grandson Jacob, and his first wife, Leah, are buried there as well.
- The only one of Judaism’s patriarchs and matriarchs not buried in Hebron is Jacob’s second wife, Rachel, who is buried in Bethlehem.