Genesis 18:12
Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Sarah laughed.—See Note on Genesis 17:17. The laughter of both husband and wife brings into prominence the inconceivable character of the fact. Sarah’s conduct has been very unjustly condemned. Though Abraham may have begun to guess that his visitors were more than men, she probably had no such suspicions. Sitting inside the tent, and catching their words only occasionally, listening, perhaps, now only because she heard her own name mentioned, when she hears them talk of her having a child she naturally laughs. thinking possibly that they did not know how old she was.

After I am waxed old.—The Hebrew word is stronger and more lively. It means “to be worn out like an old garment.”

Genesis 18:12. Sarah laughed within herself — It was not a laughter of faith, like Abraham’s, (Genesis 17:17,) but a laughter of doubting and distrust. The great objection which Sarah could not get over was her age. I am waxed old — And past child-bearing in a course of nature, especially having been hitherto barren, and, which magnifies the difficulty, My lord is old also. Observe here, that Sarah calls Abraham her lord, and the Holy Ghost takes notice of it to her honour, and recommends it to the imitation of all Christian wives, 1 Peter 3:6, Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, in token of respect and subjection.18:9-15 Where is Sarah thy wife? was asked. Note the answer, In the tent. Just at hand, in her proper place, occupied in her household concerns. There is nothing got by gadding. Those are most likely to receive comfort from God and his promises, who are in their proper place, and in the way of their duty, Lu 2:8. We are slow of heart to believe, and need line upon line to the same purport. The blessings others have from common providence, believers have from the Divine promise, which makes them very sweet, and very sure. The spiritual seed of Abraham owe their life, and joy, and hope, and all, to the promise. Sarah thinks this too good news to be true; she laughed, and therefore cannot as yet find in her heart to believe it. Sarah laughed. We might not have thought there was a difference between Sarah's laughter and Abraham's, ch. 17:17; but He who searches the heart, saw that the one sprung from unbelief, and the other from faith. She denied that she had laughed. One sin commonly brings in another, and it is not likely we shall strictly keep to truth, when we question the Divine truth. But whom the Lord loves he will rebuke, convict, silence, and bring to repentance, and if they sin before him.The promise to Sarah. The men now enter upon the business of their visit. "Where is Sarah thy wife?" The jealousy and seclusion of later times had not yet rendered such an inquiry uncourteous. Sarah is within hearing of the conversation. "I will certainly return unto thee." This is the language of self-determination, and therefore suitable to the sovereign, not to the ambassador. "At the time of life;" literally the living time, seemingly the time of birth, when the child comes to manifest life. "Sarah thy wife shall have a son." Sarah hears this with incredulous surprise, and laughs with mingled doubt and delight. She knows that in the nature of things she is past child-bearing. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Sarah laughed within herself, within the tent and behind the speaker; yet to her surprise her internal feelings are known to him. She finds there is One present who rises above the sphere of nature. In her confusion and terror she denies that she laughed. But he who sees what is within, insists that she did laugh, at least in the thought of her heart. There is a beautiful simplicity in the whole scene. Sarah now doubtless received faith and strength to conceive.

Verse 16-33

The conference concerning Sodom. The human manner of the interview is carried out to the end. Abraham convoys his departing guests. The Lord then speaks, apparently debating with himself whether he shall reveal his intentions to Abraham. The reasons for doing so are assigned. First. Abraham shall surely become a nation great and mighty, and therefore has the interest of humanity in this act of retribution on Sodom. All that concerns man concerns him. Second. Blessed in him shall be all the nations of the earth. Hence, he is personally and directly concerned with all the dealings of mercy and judgment among the inhabitants of the earth. Third. "I have known him." The Lord has made himself known to him, has manifested his love to him, has renewed him after his own image; and hence this judgment upon Sodom is to be explained to him, that he may train his household to avoid the sins of this doomed city, "to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; and all this to the further intent that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what he hath spoken of him." The awful judgments of the Lord on Sodom, as before on the antediluvian world, are a warning example to all who are spared or hear of them. And those who, notwithstanding these monuments of the divine vengeance, will cease to do justice and judgment, may be certain that they will not continue to enjoy the benefits of the covenant of grace. For all these reasons it is meet that the secret of Lord be with him Psalm 25:11.

12. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself—Long delay seems to have weakened faith. Sarah treated the announcement as incredible, and when taxed with the silent sneer, she added falsehood to distrust. It was an aggravated offense (Ac 5:4), and nothing but grace saved her (Ro 9:18). Sarah laughed within herself; not from joy and admiration, but from distrust and contempt, as if it were incredible. Heb. In her heart, i.e. she secretly derided it, though none but herself, as she thought, knew it.

Shall I have pleasure? Not so much in the conception, as in the education and fruition of a child. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself,.... Not for joy of a son, and as pleased with it, believing so it would be; but as disbelieving it, and perhaps deriding it, and confuting it with a laugh, which, though it did not appear in her countenance, was secretly in her heart:

saying, not with her mouth, but in her mind:

after I am waxed old, being almost ninety years of age:

shall I have pleasure? in conception, or rather in having a son, and in suckling and nursing him, and bringing him up; for in bearing and bringing forth is sorrow:

and my Lord being old also; which increased the difficulty and her unbelief: the Apostle Peter seems to have respect to this in 1 Peter 3:6.

Therefore Sarah {g} laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

(g) For she believed the order of nature, rather than believing the promise of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. Sarah laughed within herself] This is the laughter, according to J, which furnished a reason for the name “Isaac”; and on that account it is here emphasized. See, for the reason in P, Genesis 17:17.

waxed old] The word in the original is forcible, and is used elsewhere for worn-out raiment, e.g. “shall wax old like a garment,” Psalm 102:26.Verse 12. - Therefore (literally, and) Sarah laughed within herself - Abraham had laughed in joyful amazement, (Genesis 18:17) at the first mention of Sarah s son; Sarah laughs, if not in unbelief (Calvin, Keil, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Wordsworth), at least with a mingled feeling of doubt and delight (Lange, Murphy) at the announcement of her approaching maternity - saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? - literally, and my lord, i.e. my husband, is old. The reverential submission to Abraham which Sarah here displays is in the New Testament commended as a pattern to Christian wives (1 Peter 3:6). When the three men had accepted the hospitable invitation, Abraham, just like a Bedouin sheikh of the present day, directed his wife to take three seahs (374 cubic inches each) of fine meal, and back cakes of it as quickly as possible (עגּות round unleavened cakes baked upon hot stones); he also had a tender calf killed, and sent for milk and butter, or curdled milk, and thus prepared a bountiful and savoury meal, of which the guests partook. The eating of material food on the part of these heavenly beings was not in appearance only, but was really eating; an act which may be attributed to the corporeality assumed, and is to be regarded as analogous to the eating on the part of the risen and glorified Christ (Luke 24:41.), although the miracle still remains physiologically incomprehensible.
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