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Genesis 18:12-15

Context
18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, 1  “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, 2  especially when my husband is old too?” 3 

18:13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why 4  did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really 5  have a child when I am old?’ 18:14 Is anything impossible 6  for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.” 7  18:15 Then Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But the Lord said, “No! You did laugh.” 8 

1 tn Heb “saying.”

2 tn It has been suggested that this word should be translated “conception,” not “pleasure.” See A. A. McIntosh, “A Third Root ‘adah in Biblical Hebrew,” VT 24 (1974): 454-73.

3 tn The word “too” has been added in the translation for stylistic reasons.

4 tn Heb “Why, this?” The demonstrative pronoun following the interrogative pronoun is enclitic, emphasizing the Lord’s amazement: “Why on earth did Sarah laugh?”

5 tn The Hebrew construction uses both הַאַף (haaf) and אֻמְנָם (’umnam): “Indeed, truly, will I have a child?”

6 tn The Hebrew verb פָּלָא (pala’) means “to be wonderful, to be extraordinary, to be surpassing, to be amazing.”

7 sn Sarah will have a son. The passage brings God’s promise into clear focus. As long as it was a promise for the future, it really could be believed without much involvement. But now, when it seemed so impossible from the human standpoint, when the Lord fixed an exact date for the birth of the child, the promise became rather overwhelming to Abraham and Sarah. But then this was the Lord of creation, the one they had come to trust. The point of these narratives is that the creation of Abraham’s offspring, which eventually became Israel, is no less a miraculous work of creation than the creation of the world itself.

8 tn Heb “And he said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’” The referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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