Sarah, The Princess
Wife of Abraham, Mother of the Jews
The wife of the founder of the most remarkable of all the ancient religions was born in Ur, the most ancient capital of Chaldea.
From one of the oldest and most important of the clay tablets recently exhumed, we learn that people in Sara’s city worshiped the planets; while from other sources it is learned that her father, Terah, was the chief of the priests of Nergal (the planet Mars), and great prince or lord of the city, and was, according to the Koran, a son-in-law of that mighty overlord of the land, Nimrod, who was the great grandson of Noah.
The Bible informs us that the year Terah was seventy there was born to him Abram, Nahor, and Haran. This Abram was afterward the husband of Sarah.
It will be remembered that, on a notable occasion, Abraham declared this very relationship, saying of Sarah, “And moreover, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.”
Repugnant as this may be to our modern thought, it was then a very common law or custom, not only in Chaldea, but in Egypt, and it prevailed in cultured Athens and elsewhere in Greece so late as the time of Philo, and yet exists more or less in most polygamous countries.
In Sarah’s country, polygamy was, as the tablets show, the rule among the nobles and well-to-do, women being, as in modern turkey, an article of merchandise. Fathers then bartered their daughters to whomsoever they chose, without regard to the daughter’s wishes.
Terah was not only owner of several wives, and a prince of the land and chief of the priests, but he was also a maker of statuary of the gods, being the first of which there is any record.
When the University of Pennsylvania’s expedition recently exhumed ancient Nippur (the Calneh of the Bible), a vast number of phallic images, the symbols of Terah’s gods, were found in the oldest of these temple ruins.
Sarah was married wile living in Ur, and remained in that rich, luxurious, and grossly licentious city of idols, until the great change in her husband’s religious views forced the whole family to migrate. The Bible notes this migration and also the previous idolatry of Terah and Abram. From other sources we learn that Abram, which a heathen priest of Ur, and nothing, as was his wont, the planets in order to predict coming events, after the manner of the ancient and modern astrologers, became convinced that these planets were not gods, but moved in obedience to natural law. He consequently renounced his Sabianism, which, according to the Koran, so enrage his priestly father, Terah, and the mighty despot Nimrod, that they persecuted him and imprisoned him for ten years. At length they ordered him to be burned, on which the last occasion he was divinely rescued.
This led to Torah’s renouncing his idolatry, whereupon the whole family was thrust out from their greatly profitable and honorable position, and fled up the Euphrates valley seven hundred miles beyond Nimrod’s dominions, and located at Haran, the Moon-god city.
This place was in those old times “a great city,” and was located on the main line of travel and commerce between Central and Western Asia. Great caravan roads meet there, and then branched out to the great fords on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Long after it passed under the dominion of the Roman Empire, its people spoke the ancient Chaldean language and worshiped Chaldean gods.
Here Sarah resided for some thirty-five years, and became, as the Bible tells, wealthy and prominent, her husband then owning “many slaves” and much “substance.”
The manner of the life of well-do-do women at Haran (with the exception of religious customs) may be illustrated in modern Bagdad and other towns of the Euphrates.
At her father’s death, Abram received received that great call from God to leave his “country,” “kindred,” and “father’s house,” and go “unto the land that I will show thee,” which resulted in Abram’s leaving Haran and, with his fatherless nephew Lot, migrating to southern Palestine, while the other members of the family remained at Haran. It may be conjectured that the old idolatry, with its amazing licentiousness and horrid human sacrifices, was yet too strong for Abram even at Haran.
The sixty or more years that Sarah lived in Palestine were full of stirring incidents, and her life now differed greatly from either that old priestly Ur, or commercial Haran. As detailed in twelve chapters of Genesis (Chap. 12 – 24) it was now almost wholly spent in tents, her husband’s life being an almost duplicate of that modern Bedouin sheik.
Some time after the arrival in the Negib district, one of the periodical famines of that section occurred, and they went to Egypt, where Sarah’s beauty attracted the attention of the Pharaoh, who, after the custom of his kind, took her into his harem and gave Abram many presents of slaves, camels, cattle, sheep, and draft animals, so making him “very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.”
On being sent out of Egypt by the Pharoah, Sarah and her husband lived at Hebron, while Lot chose the plain of Jordan, and finally settled at Sodom, both that district and its people closely resembling his native Ur. Here Lot was captured by marauding kings from Chaldea, and was rescued by Abram and his fellow sheiks.
During his long residence at Hebron, God made that remarkable covenant with Abraham, with its sanitary seal of circumcision and of baptism.
Sarah does not appear to have greatly share in her husband’s piety, and certainly did not possess his faith in the divine predictions. Because of this unbelief she gave him her slave girl, Hagar, to wife, and then so abused the slave through her furious jealousy and selfishness as to make herself appear to our modern eyes inhuman.
According to the divine promise, Sarah became the mother of Isaac at a period that then began to be accounted “old,” in contrast with the former length of life. She lived to see her idolized son reach manhood, and then, it is conjectured, died of grief and fright at the time Abraham’s faith in the resurrection of the body prompted him to offer Isaac in accordance with the divine command. She was buried in the historic Cave of Machpelah, and has been greatly reverenced by the Jews in every age as their great ancestress.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published by The King-Richardson Co.