Chayei Sarah – “The Life Of Sarah”

Our Parasha begins with the announcement that Sara has died at the age of 127 in Kirjath-arba (Kirath arba) that is Hebron in the land of Canaan. Abraham mourns her, then asks some of his neighbors and fellow property owners there to grant him burial space so that he may bury his dead out of his sight.

Abrahams neighbors greatly admired and respected him and were willing to give Abraham the choicest land free of charge. But Abraham insists on paying for it. Only then does Abraham bury his wife in the cave of Machpelah in the land of Canaan.

We often focus primarily on Abraham and his amazing life, the promises received by Adonai, and his amazing faith. But Sarah played a vital role in Abraham’s life and in the overall story. In fact, what happened to Sarah, in many ways, foreshadows that which would happen to our Messiah, Yeshua.

In discussions that I’ve had with people who are not believers, they are quick to deny or negate the idea of the virgin birth saying that it was an impossible act against nature. But when one sees the amazing miracle that God performed in Sarah’s life, which could easily be argued is also an unnatural act, how can it be so easy to deny God’s power in regards to the virgin birth?

God told 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?

Sarah herself didn’t even believe this could happen! We saw that she laughed when she overheard the heavenly visitors telling Abraham that she would bear a child.

But the angel reminded her that nothing is too difficult for Adonai. Our Creator can do all things, as He is the Almighty, all powerful and three in one living God!

In chapter 24, Abraham decided to find a wife for his son Isaac. He says to his eldest servant, “Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”

The servant says, “What if the woman will not want to follow me into this land? Shall I have your son go there?” Abraham responds, “Take heed that you do not bring my son back there! God, Who took me from my father’s house, will send an angel before you. If the woman should not want to go with you, then you will be free from this oath.”

The servant swore to Abraham this oath and took 10 camels and some of his master’s finest things and then journeyed to the city of Nahor.

In Hebraic culture, the thigh was considered the source of future generations or, more properly, the “loins”. The phrase “under the thigh” could be a euphemism for “on the loins.”

There are two reasons why someone would take an oath in this manner. First, Abraham had been promised a “seed” by God, and this covenantal blessing was passed on to his son and grandson. Abraham made his trusted servant swear “on the seed of Abraham” that he would find a wife for Isaac.

And second, Abraham had received circumcision as the sign of the covenant. Our custom is to swear on a Bible; the Hebrew custom was to swear on circumcision, the mark of God’s covenant. The idea of swearing on one’s loins is also found in other cultures.

In the New Testament, believers are taught not to make oaths, but rather to let their “yes” mean “yes” and “no” mean “no”. We should consider all our words to have the weight of an oath. Others should be able to trust our words without requiring an oath. I think that this is one of the reasons that Abraham was so admired and respected because he always kept his word.

In verse 10 of chapter 24, the servant made the camels kneel down outside the city by the water well at the time of evening when the women come to draw water.

And the servant said, “Let it come to pass that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please tilt your pitcher so that I may drink,’ will respond with, ‘Drink and I will give your camels water too.’”

The servant had hardly finished speaking when Rebecca, a descendant of Abraham’s brother, came down to the well and filled her pitcher. Abraham’s servant ran to meet her, saying, “Let me please sip a little water from your pitcher.”

“Drink,” she said. “Then I will draw water for your camels too.”

As she did, the servant was observing her in wonderment, trying to confirm whether God had caused his journey to prosper.

Once the camels had finished drinking and only after did the servant take a valuable ring of gold and two golden bracelets and ask, “Whose daughter are you and is there room in your father’s house for us to stay overnight?”

“Yes, come stay,” Rebecca said after she explained her lineage.

The servant bowed his head and prostrated himself before God, saying, “Blessed be God, the God of my master Abraham.”

Rebecca went and told her mother what had happened by the well. Rebecca had a brother named Laban, and when he saw the gifts of gold on his sister, he went to greet the man and invited him to come into the house.

The servant of Abraham came in and explained his mission. He told them the specifics of his prayer to Adonai and how Rebecca came immediately and graciously fulfilled that prayer. He continued by saying “I blessed God for sending Rebecca to me and my master. Now, tell me if you wish to deal in loving-kindness and truth with my master so that I may know what to do.”

Laban and his father, Bethuel, said, “The matter has come forth from God. Take Rebecca and go as God has spoken.”

When the servant of Abraham heard their words, he bowed low before God and brought forth articles of gold and silver for Rebecca and delicious fruits for her family. He stayed with the family overnight. The next morning the family asked that Rebecca stay with them for a while, but Abraham’s servant said to them, “Do not delay me, since God has caused my journey to prosper.”

They then called for Rebecca and asked her if she would go with this man. Now, even though this is a God ordained event, Rebecca still had freedom of choice. She could choose to follow God’s Will, or she could go her own way. Thankfully, she said “I will go. But just think how different the lineage of Yeshua may have been had she chose not to. Yeshua would have still been born, but just from different people. What major changes and influences are we passing up by going our own way and not following the Will of the Lord?

Now Isaac was meditating in the field when he saw camels coming. Rebecca took her veil and covered herself. The servant told Isaac all that had occurred. Then Isaac brought her into the tent of his departed mother, Sara. He married Rebecca and he loved her, and only then was Isaac comforted by the loss of his mother.

Abraham took another wife, Keturah. She bore him six sons, and those sons had more sons, but all that Abraham had, he gave to Isaac.

To the new wife’s children, he gave them gifts and sent them away to the East. Later, Abraham died satisfied at the age of 175. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Makhpelah where his wife Sara was also buried.

I would like to close by pointing out one more amazing event in this parasha that foreshadows the work of our Messiah and 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 head of the serpent. And it is that seed that will keep us from stumbling and present us to the Father that we may stand in the presence of His glory faultless and with exceeding joy.