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Discussion in 'Messianic Judaism' started by visionary, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. visionary

    visionary Your God is my God... Ruth said, so say I. Supporter

    So what was Sarah in relation to Terah?

    A) Terah’s daughter-in-law
    B) Terah’s daughter
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  2. yedida

    yedida Ruth Messianic, joining Israel, Na'aseh v'nishma!

    In Relationship
    I've learned that even as close to us as in Yeshua's day, in-laws were very often referred to as "my daughter," "my son," etc.
    Years ago when I was close to my sisters (and brother), I would refer to 'my sister Marilyn and her husband Tom as a couple. If referring to Tom alone, I would just simply call him 'my brother, Tom. The brother (many years of disownership ensued back then), I would refer to his wife Joyce as my sister-in-law Joyce, to the two of them as 'my sister-in-law Joyce and the man she married...'

    Anyway, I said all that, to say, that both passages are correct. I actually think that Sarai was Abraham's half-sister (in reality).
  3. visionary

    visionary Your God is my God... Ruth said, so say I. Supporter

    I suppose back then sin had not eaten away at our DNA so bad that marrying a family member was not going to get you disadvantaged children.
  4. yedida

    yedida Ruth Messianic, joining Israel, Na'aseh v'nishma!

    In Relationship
    Possibly not. And half sister, could even be construed to mean step-sister (so DNA problems wouldn't even be a problem). It's simply a matter of semantics. I don't know in that instance that there's a way we'll ever really know for sure.
  5. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    Oriental Orthodox
    Truthfully, as Abraham was noted to have lied on many occassions, part of me has often wondered if perhaps what he said about Sarah being his sister was also a lie. Within Genesis 11, one can see the names of the children that Abraham's father had...and when it comes to mentioning their wives, what the text says is that Abrahm, Nahor and Haran were Terah's children. Haran died while the other two sons married...and only Nahor's wife, Milcah, was noted to be the daughter of Nahor's brother (Haran) in Genesis 11:29. But never is it mentioned about where Sarah came from..and it never says she was Terah's daughter from his wife. I've been of the mindset lately that Abraham was lying about Sarah coming from Terah just as he had lied earlier (And was notorious for doing).

    It's possible that Sarah was called Terah's daughter-in-law because she was just that...his daughter-in-law, as opposed to having a daughter with another wife (who is never mentioned at all in the text ...and there's no possible way of knowing 100% if Terah had multiple wives/women he had children by). As one ministry said best:

    This verse suggests that Abraham's father, Terah, was married to at least
    two women. To a lady who was the mother of Abraham and to another lady who was the mother of Sarah.
    [ Since the word 'father' in Hebrew can also refer to a grandfather, great grandfather, etc, and 'mother' can also refer to a grandmother, great grandmother etc, and 'daughter' can also refer to a grand daughter etc, other possibilities exist. Sarah could be the niece of Abraham, such as Iscah was. Sarah could also be a younger daughter of one of Abraham's male ancestors provided there was a different mother. ]

    In interpreting the above Gen 20:12 verse we should also seriously consider the marriage laws in Lev 18:6-16 (repeated in chapter 20). While these laws were later documented as part of the Old Covenant regulations it is also likely they were requirements expected to be adhered to in Abraham's time.

    Hence, the regulation against one marrying either the daughter of one's father would suggest Sarah was not Terah's biological daughter. They suggest Sarah could not have been a half sister of Abraham.

    In verse Gen 20:12 we also find mentioned that Sarah was truly Abraham's sister. Without a common biological parent the notion of 'sister' would suggest they both grew up in the very same family unit. Hence, while not biologically related, they would still regard themselves as truly brother and sister.

    Could Iscah have been Sarah? While Gen 20:12 does not completely rule out that possibility. Terah being her grandfather would be acceptable and circumstances may have meant that they did in fact grow up in a single family unit. However, it does raise the question of whether 'truly my sister' was the most appropriate description given that the words 'daughter of my father's brother' would have better described their relationship.

    Sarah could've easily been a woman from the other nations and married into the family....and Abraham used the lie of her being his "half-sister" or "sister" out of convience just as he often did error on other things.

    And with anyone having concern with bringing Abraham's character into question, IMHO, one may wish to consider how he already seemed to be in the habit of treating others in stressful situations. Abimelech, whom he lied to in the first place, was a righteous man....and with a righteous man there was no need assuming that he'd treat Sari shamefully---or be unable to handle the truth in her being Abraham's husband. Abraham's comment in Genesis 20:11---where he stated "I did it because there is no fear of God in this place..."---betrays both his lack of faith in God and his misjudgement of the people of Geerar. The whole episode reveals that the King and His servants were God-fearing, as seen in Genesis 20:8 and Genesis 20:16-18 when Abimelech was exceedingly gracious/generous. His generosity, on top of his innocence, contrasts sharply with Abraham's self-serving deception regarding the truth about Sarah...for the king's actions were a very public affirmation that he had not acted inappropiately toward Sarah...and thus, he was not the father of any child she had. Abraham was shown in Genesis 20:12-13 to really have been a greater sinner than Abimelech. For when he says "at every place to which we have come I've said she was my sister", Abraham showed that he REGULARLY resorted to the wife-sister ruse for his own self protection. Genesis 12 and 20 seem to reveal that it did not always work...and only God's intervention protected Abraham's relationship with Sarah

    Abraham had used the same trick before to protect himself/his wife from others whom he automatically chose not to trust (Genesis 20:2)...despite how the Lord had already told Abraham that He would look out for them. Although Abraham is one of our heros of the faith, it seems he did not learn his lesson well enough the first time. In fact, by giving into temptation to lie in order to protect his wife/himself, he risked turning a sinful act into a a sinful pattern of lying whenever he suspected his life was in danger. And it literally placed the lives of others in danger that should have never been in such had he simply been honest. Because Abraham mistakenly/rashly assumed that Abumelech was a wicked man, he made a quick decision to tell a half-truth Abraham thought it would be more effective to deciecve Abimelech than to trust God to work in the King's life......and the all the wombs of innocents in the house of Abimelech were closed up. It was, of course, a protection given by God so that Abimelech would catch the picture and see he was in danger......for it was meant to change the situation rather than harm Abimelech.

    In some ways, it seems Abraham struggled with trusting others who were worthy of it as many do today when they'll remember instances where others endangered them---but then sabatouge all other relationships that are good...........even those who are on their side. The fact that God came through doesn't mean it was due to Abraham's actions---as many times, God will work DESPITE a problem rather than BECAUSE of it---just as He did with the mistake of Hagar/Ishmael in Genesis 16 and Genesis 21:8-20..which happened directly before the episode with Abimelech. God in His Mercy PREVENTED Abimelech for committing great sin due to the actions of another who sinned as well in misjudging without cause. Sometimes, one can tempt the Lord and place Him in positions where he MUST intervene even when He was not desiring to do so in a prescribed way. Its like people who don't study for a test for driving...and then when driving, they have others in the car whose lives are now at risk. Their praying and trusting God to help them doesn't mean God approved of their actions when he keeps them from a wreck....for they were still called to study/train. And due to lacking it, others almost got killed
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  6. pat34lee

    pat34lee Messianic

    Both could be correct in context. As Abram's wife, Sarai was Terah's daughter-in-law. She also happened to be his biological daughter.