Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Genesis 18:11-12 Why Sarah Laughed

Genesis 18:11-12: Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. And Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

In the previous chapter, we learned that Abraham was ninety-nine years old. We may assume that his bride was younger, but not necessarily decades younger than himself, although at this point, we do not know. We also do not know the length of time between chapter 17 and this chapter. The Bible simply states that both Abraham and Sarah were “old, advanced in age” at this point in time. To be perfectly frank, Sarah was no longer menstruating and thus, under normal natural circumstances, she was not capable of having any children. In chapter 16 when she suggested that Abraham sleep with Hagar, Sarah knew God was somehow not blessing her with a child, although it may have been possible for her to become pregnant. But here we get the added knowledge that, for all intent and purposes, it would take a miracle for Sarah to conceive. Now imagine yourself in that situation. The one illustration that comes to mind is this: Imagine Prince Phillip (now eighty-seven years old) and Queen Elizabeth of England (now almost 75) had no children to succeed the Queen on the throne. And along come a few dignitaries from somewhere, get entertained at the palace, and after dinner, as it is the custom for men to hang around and enjoy a drink and swap stories while the women retire to the parlor to do likewise, the Queen in passing by the dining room overhears one of the guests informing Phillip that she will have a child this time next year.

Can you imagine the reaction? Having been in some old palaces in England, I can assure you that you would have been able to hear the Queen’s hysterical laughter throughout the royal abode. If you don’t believe the reaction would be thus try telling an elderly matron at a party that she will be pregnant next year and see what happens.

What I find interesting is that Sarah could have laughed out loud herself. But she did not. The scriptures say she “laughed to herself”. We do not know why, except that she did. She was still thinking straight, however, as she was able to logically talk herself out of any possible belief in the suggestion. She asked herself a logical question, but one to which she already thought she had the answer. “Is there any chance that Abraham who is old could possibly, physically, give me the natural pleasure of intercourse, at my age?” “No way!” she thought, “That would take a miracle.”

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