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Sarah Series #2: Sarai means “contentious”

“Sarai” is understood by modern Hebrews and by some resources on ancient Hebrew names to mean “contentious”:

In this sermon from the Ray Stedman Library, he preaches that Sarai means “contentious”.   This sermon on TV by Jerry Gillis  originally piqued my interest in the “Sarai”=”contentious” theme.

I found this quite interesting.  I did a google search on  Sarai=contentious  and found this in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

The former name [Sarai] appears to be derived from the same root as Israel, if, indeed, Genesis 32:28 is intended as an etymology of Israel. “She that strives,” a contentious person, is a name that might be given to a child at birth (compare Hosea 12:3,4, of Jacob), or later when the child’s character developed; in Genesis 16:6 and 21:10 a contentious character appears.

And there is this-

The wife of the patriarch was originally known as Sarai, meaning “princely” or “a princess.” Elsdon C. Smith suggests it may signify “contentious” or “quarrelsome,” but was changed, not accidentally, or by the whim of the bearer, but by God Himself that it might be a sign of His purpose, into Sarah, implying the princess, a princess or princesses, the source of nations and kings. Sarah or “chieftainness,” the feminine of Sar, meaning a “captain” or “commander” is repeatedly used in this sense as a common noun as, for instance, by Isaiah who renders it “queen” (Isaiah 49:23). It has been observed that among ancient Jews there was a sort of a cabalistic translation that “the Hebrew letter yod signifies the creative power of God in nature, while the letter hay symbolizes the state of grace—that state into which Sarah had entered after receiving the covenanted promises.” …

The root idea of Sarah means “to rule,” and fits the personality of the bearer…

Then the personal application of the changed name must not be forgotten. Called Sarah by God and the Angels (Genesis 17:1518:9), she exhibited the traits of a princess, “wielding a sceptre by the magic of which she could lord it over men’s hearts after her own will, even bring kings to her feet. If she came into the world with a will of her own as her dowry, nature further assisted her in developing it by the great beauty of her face and the grace of her stature. By these gifts she made her wish a command and disarmed opposition.” Both in bearing and character she illustrated the significance of her name. Through the long, long years of the quiet and stedfast devotion of Abraham to Sarah, peace reigned in the matrimonial tent more because of Abraham’s gentleness, kindness and forbearance, even though he lived so long with the more expressive and possessive ways of Sarah.

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