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abraham hagar isaac abraham’s

The first *matriarch, Sarah was the wife and half-sister of *Abraham and the mother of *Isaac. She is introduced in Genesis 11:29-30 as the barren Sarai , who accompanied Abraham in and out of Egypt and eventually settled with him near Hebron. Her beauty attracted the attentions of both the Egyptian *Pharaoh and later the king of Gerar; Abraham was fearful that those wishing to possess his wife would kill him; thus she posed as Abraham’s sister and was presumably spared from committing adultery when dream visions and plagues sent by *God revealed the truth to her admirers. Convinced, in her old age, that she would never bear a child, Sarah offered her maidservant Hagar to Abraham; Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, and the jealous Sarah forced them away from the household twice. Sarah was ninety-one years old when Isaac was born, and this miraculous event, promised by God (at which point Sarai was renamed Sarah: “princess”), was announced in advance by three men (heavenly messengers, *angels) who visited Abraham (the angels were en route to *Sodom). Abraham’s hospitality to the visitors and his directions to Sarah to prepare cakes for them are scenes frequently illustrated in early Christian and medieval art. The elderly Sarah, standing in the doorway of their tent, overheard the prophecy; at first she was amused, later afraid. The adventures of Sarah and Abraham in Egypt, their parting company with Abraham’s nephew *Lot, Sarah’s presentation of Hagar to Abraham, and the birth of Isaac are also subjects found in early Christian Bible illustration and later medieval sculpture, manuscript illustration, and metalwork.

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