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Sara, Sarah, Sarai

A second incident in which a similar pretense was used occurred at the court of Abimelech, king of Gerar, when Sarai posed as Abram’s sister (ch. 20; cf. the parallel in ch. 26, concerning Isaac and Rebekah). Abimelech was warned in a dream, and following a prayer by Abram, the plague that had fallen on his house was lifted, but again Sarai and Abram had to leave.

Sarah died at the age of one hundred twenty-seven years, at Kiriath-arba (Hebron). To provide a place of burial Abraham purchased land at Hebron which included a cave known as Mach-pelah, that was destined to become the family burying place (Gen 23:3-20, cf. 25:10; 49:31), and which today is surmounted by a well-known building used as a mosque. Hebron is indelibly associated with the family of Abraham, and its early name, Kiriath-arba (or, “city of four”=Gr. Tetrapolis) comes from the leader of the Anakim, whose name was Arba (Josh 14:15). It was the center of the community of giants during the Exodus and Conquest, and was captured by Caleb during a late Conquest military action. However, during the earlier times of Abraham the area was settled by the “sons of Heth” (Hittites), and the land was purchased from a man named Ephron for a price of four hundred shekels of silver. Since this transaction antedated the invention of coinage, the silver was weighed in its bar or wire form. During Israelite time the silver shekel seemed to have averaged c. 11.424 grams, or 0.403 ounce.

2. The daughter of Raguel, and wife of Tobias (Tobit 3:7; 7:1; etc.). She is the heroine of a somewhat fanciful and engaging narrative from the time of the Assyrian Captivity. The story abounds with demons, miracles, and detail of family life from those times, and conveys a sense of verisimilitude to the reader.

Bibliography N. Avigad and Y. Yadin, A Genesis Apocryphon (1956), col. XX, 2-8.