The Book of “Hebrews” Bible Study for the Hearty Boys by Warren Camp
Summary with Videos, Questions, and Answers

Hebrews 11:8–19 . . . facilitated by Warren

“Examples of Abraham’s Faith”

We examined in our last commentary titled "Faith: Definition and Examples," we explored the likely meaning of 11:1–7, highlighting the encouragement the author gave to his audience of persecuted, saved Jewish Christians, motivating them to endure and survive faithfully. He defined "faith," then elaborated on it being the means of endurance for Christians then and now. He then punctuated "faith" by presenting three faithful exemplars from the Old Testament, Abel, Enoch, and Noah, often referred to as honorary members of the Hall of Faith." Today's continued presentation provides a few more of the many examples of faith in the lives of Israel's ancestors. It's worth noting that all of chapter 11's Hall of Faith legends are presented in chronological order (vv. 4–38).

In his epistle to the Hebrews, our author afforded the most space to describing exemplars of faith to Patriarch Abraham (11:8–19), whom we'll focus on significantly today. He's been introduced in "Hebrews" as a recipient of God’s promises (6:13) and a shining example of the many who shared in those promises. He again showed up in 7:4–6 with Melchizedek, with whom we find established the basis for the author’s dramatic claim: that the exalted Christ holds the office of heaven’s High Priest.

Obedience to the Lord’s Calling (11:8–12)

The author speaks of Abraham’s faithful response to the Lord’s calling (v. 8) and his promises (vv. 9, 11, 17), language not found but implied in the Genesis narrative (highlighted below). Abraham left his own country at God’s command, without knowing his destination. In addition, by faith, he offered up his son, Isaac, as a blood sacrifice.

8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore (11:8–12).

Abraham's examples  God commanded Abram (Abraham’s original name) to "Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you" (Gen. 12:1). God didn’t give him a road map or an identifiable destination. His first act of obedience was simply to step out and take the course, from his home in Haran to that unknown venue. That was a great step of faith; in those days, one’s security was established by his or her parents and extended family. Seeing Abram respond, without reservation to God’s command, was truly a magnificent example of faith.

Abram's destination was Canaan, later known as the Promised Land (Gen. 12:5–6). But it turned out later that Abraham experienced Canaan only as a tent-dwelling "stranger in a foreign country," not as a citizen. Tents served as shelter for nomadic herdsmen who required grazing land and water for their animals. However, living in more permanent houses was a safer and more secure type of dwelling.

By an act of faith, Abraham said "Yes" to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. Upon leaving, he had no idea where he was going. By faith, he lived in the country that Father God promised him, enduring as a stranger who camped in tents instead of living in houses "as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise" (v. 9). They looked forward to living in a better city "with foundations." Abraham endured and succeeded by keeping his eye on an unseen city that had real-yet-eternal foundations — it was the city designed and built by God.

About Abraham’s "faith" examples, we're told these things (11:8–10): (1) He obeyed God by leaving his homeland for a place that God had promised, about which he'd never seen or heard; (2) he lived as a "sojourner" in that land, "like a stranger in a foreign country," never possessing it, excepting the plots on which he and Sarah were buried; and (3) he longed for a lasting city that Father God had designed and built. But please note: His faith was less than stellar.

Pastor/teacher/commentator Bob Deffinbaugh says this about Abraham's strength, after reading the account in Gen. 12:10–20: "Abraham’s faith is far from strong in this text. He leaves the promised land and sojourns in Egypt where he fears for his own life, even though God has made great promises to him. These promises presume that Abraham will live. But somehow he fears that God will not be able to protect him in Egypt, beyond the borders of the Promised Land. So he instructs Sarai to lie about her relationship to him (okay, it was a half-truth, but that was the same as a full-blown lie — ask Pharaoh). Doing so, he put Sarai (the mother-to-be of the promised child) into Pharaoh’s harem. Even Pharaoh could see the wrong here. Nevertheless, God spared Sarai’s honor (sexual purity) and Abram’s life."

Continuing to highlight Abraham's compromised faith, Deffinbaugh writes this: "One would hope that this was a lesson Abraham would have to learn but once, but this was not the case. A number of years later, Abraham and Sarah settled in Gerar, where virtually the same failure occurs once again (Gen. 20:2–13). . . Abraham should have learned his lesson earlier. He had already failed this way once before and had been corrected for it. Even though he failed, God protected Sarah and him. He now knows for certain that it is Sarah who is to become the mother of the child that God promised Abraham (Gen. 17:16; 18:9–10). The time for Sarah to conceive is near, and yet Abraham’s feeble faith places his wife in the harem of yet another king, Abimelech." Incidentally, thousands of years later God didn't remember Abraham's delayed and continual disobedience, only his faith.

Image of repeated word 'faith'

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of "faith" repetitions.

By faith, barren Sarah, then an old woman, miraculously became pregnant because she believed the One who made a promise would do as he'd promised. That’s how it happened; because of Sarah and Abraham's faith, from one man’s dead and shriveled loins, his offspring numbered in the millions. Their faith had a positive impact on more lives than they'd ever dreamed. Yet, like her husband, Sarah’s faith wasn't perfect: She first laughed in unbelief of God's promises (Gen. 18:9–15); then she learned to "laugh in faith" (21:6). No matter, Sarah counted God as faithful, and God blessed Sarah with a son. Incidentally, the author uses the term "By faith" repetitively (21 times in this chapter in the NIV, and 38 times throughout this epistle, as shown on this list).

Abraham and Sarah’s “Faith” Lesson (vv. 13–16)

Each one of these people of faith died without ever having in their hands the things that God had promised; nevertheless, they still believed. How did they do it? Each saw, heard, and welcomed his promises, admitting that they were all transients in the world. People who lived this way made it plain that they were looking for their own home country. If they were homesick for their previous country, they could have returned any time they wanted. But they sought a far better country than that — a heavenly country. That's why God was so proud of them and designed and created a city that awaited their arrival.

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (11:13–16).

Despite Father God's promise to Abraham and Sarah, who believed his promise, they and everyone of "these people were still living by faith when they died." Sadly for them, they never received or realized his promised things; they were able only to see and appreciatively welcome the promised results by faith, though fulfillment appeared far away. The two always acted on God's promise with the understanding that their new environment wasn't to become their home (vv. 13–14). Living by faith is easier when we remember that this earthly world isn't our home. Abraham, Sarah, and all of the Hall of Faith inductees were confident that Yahweh had a better and more enduring home for them, with him in heaven (v. 16).

Warren Camp's custom Scripture of Hebrews 11:8-16

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Warren's Scripture Picture.

Just as those ancestors who received their Promised Land abodes, the spiritual ancestors singled out here in chapter 11 were "foreigners and strangers on earth" (v. 13) in search of God’s heavenly city (v. 10). The eventual destination of the ancestors’ sojourn wouldn't be Canaan, the land to whom God had promised Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3). Instead, it was "the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Heb. 11:10, 16). It was truly "a country of their own," the future inheritance of God’s people (11:8). Until their arrival, they were resident aliens of an earthly venue (v. 13). Because of the certainties and blessings granted to earth's citizens, God's people lived by faith in God. It was his promise of an eternal home — a Sabbath rest — that motivated their enduring obedience to him and his holy word.

As homeless nomads, Abraham and Sarah's promised future was threatened by her barrenness, their spiritual tests, and the fragile progression that follows each predecessor's death. In the end, the Church’s ancestors fully and faithfully trusted God’s promises "even though [they] did not know where [they were] going" (v. 8), seeing only "the things promised" by God. The many ancestors "did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance" (v. 13). These pilgrims had a vision of living in their own land. Abraham's descendants wouldn’t receive what had been promised to them for many years to come.

If Abraham and Sarah had chosen instead to return to Haran, they could have done so; they "had opportunity to return" (v. 15). Their families would have welcomed them back; they could have lived in houses, not tents. But they chose not to do so. Because God had called them, by faith they chose to honor and obey his command. "Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them" (v. 16). Though all were far from perfect, he was pleased to be known by them as their God. For them and us, he chooses to remember one's faith rather than one's sins. That said, everyone bold enough to believe that God is truly Lord Almighty, being confident in the reality of heaven and Jesus' gift of eternal life, can comfortably know that they bring him pleasure.

What Abraham Knew by Faith (vv. 17–19)

By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, "his one and only son," as he had been to receive him — and this, after he'd already been told, "Your descendants shall come from Isaac." Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead. In a sense, that’s what happened when he received Isaac back, alive, removed from the altar.

17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” [quoted from Gen. 21:12]. 19Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death (11:17–19).

We're told in these three closing verses why Abraham was so cooperative with God about slaying Isaac, "his one and only son." Abraham's faith is commended here in the incident involving his altar sacrifice of Isaac (Gen. 22). His faith was based upon God's previous promise to Abraham in Gen. 17:19: "Then God said, 'Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.'"

Warren Camp's custom Scripture of Hebrews 11:17-19

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Warren's Scripture Picture.

It's important to clarify v. 17's statement that Isaac was Abraham's "one and only" son. The Greek monogenes, for "one and only" or "begotten," means pertaining to what is unique in the sense of being the only one of the same kind or class. Abraham, of course, did have another son, Ishmael (the son of his fleshly attempt to fulfill God’s promise, causing God to not recognize Ishmael as Abraham's only begotten son). Abraham also had later sons by Keturah. But Isaac was a unique son, having been born as a result of God's specific promise to Abraham. Isaac, therefore, could be called a monogenes son, since he was the only one of his kind. Our author undoubtedly knew of Abraham's other sons, however, he pointed to Isaac as being unique, the only son through whom God's promise made in Gen. 17:19 had been fulfilled.

Since Abraham had received that promise of God — that God's promises would continue through Isaac — he literally believed that if God allowed him to go through with the sacrifice, Isaac was as good as dead and God would surely raise him from the dead, in a manner that prefigured Jesus' resurrection. Since Isaac had no children then, by faith, Abraham knew that he'd return home with a living, breathing son Isaac. Now that's faith!

In summation, when Abraham was confronted after receiving a promise and a command from God, which appeared to contradict one other, he acted the way that all believers should act: By faith, he obeyed God's command and let omnipotent God take care of fulfilling his promises.

Closing Considerations (from Dr. Charles Stanley)

Acquiring great faith  Faith increases as a result of our obedience in little things. We marvel at Abraham's willingness to offer up Isaac at the Lord's command. But have you ever considered many of his smaller steps of submission that prepared the way for that enormous test of faith?

Throughout his lifetime, Abraham obeyed God. At the Lord's command, he left his country, was circumcised (Gen. 17:10, 26), conceived Isaac when he and his wife were old (21:1–3), and sent his son Ishmael away (21:9–14). By the time he was asked to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, he already knew that God would always be faithful to His promises. Abraham's previous experiences had taught him to trust the Lord.

In the same way, each small step of obedience solidifies our confidence in God. Then, when he challenges us with a more difficult assignment, a firm foundation of assurance enables us to trust and obey. Great acts of faith flow from our past interactions with the Lord. By neglecting his simple commands, we miss priceless opportunities to witness His faithfulness.

Are you finding it hard to trust God for something big? Maybe that's because you've ignored those small and insignificant promptings of the Holy Spirit. God considered each of his commands important; He promises to reward every act of obedience, regardless of size. Great faith begins with little steps.




It Makes You Wonder . . .
  • Q. 1   How is faith demonstrated or explained in each of the three examples from Abraham's life (vv. 8–12, 17–19)?
  • Q. 2   [Read vv. 13–16 aloud.] What does it mean to you to be an alien and a stranger on earth? . . . How might you feel like a stranger in this world?



This Week’s Passage
Hebrews 11:8–19

New International Version (NIV) or view it in a different version by clicking here.
Listen to chapter 11, narrated by Max McLean.



“Sojourner” is the frequent translation of the Hebrew term gēr (Hebrew gēr [גר]; plural gērīm [גרים]). This Hebrew term and its translation convey the basic idea that a person (or group) is residing, either temporarily or permanently, in a community and place that is not primarily their own and is dependent on the “goodwill” of that community for their continued existence.


At times individual biblical figures sojourn: Abraham sojourned in Egypt (Genesis 12:10) and Gerar (Gen. 20:1); Joseph and his brothers sojourned in Egypt (Gen. 47:4); and a Levite sojourned in Judah and Ephraim (Judges 17:7– 19:1). On other occasions the whole of Israel is seen as sojourning in Egypt (Isaiah 52:4) or Babylon (Ezra 1:2–4).

Yahweh was the god of the Israelites, whose name was revealed to Moses as four Hebrew consonants (YHWH) called the tetragrammaton.

The English language doesn’t have an exact translation of the word “Yahweh,” so in our Old Testament we see it written as “LORD” in all capital letters.

In Jewish tradition, “Yahweh” is too sacred a name to utter out loud. Over time, Jews started to substitute in “Adonai” or “My Lord,” especially when speaking. Another common replacement is the name “Elohim,” which simply means “God.”
But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."

— Genesis 21:12
A Sabbath Rest

The 'rest' into which we enter is God’s rest, God’s Sabbath rest, such as we find in Gen. 2:2 — the rest God entered after He had finished His work of creation. It is this rest into which the ancient Israelites failed to enter, for 'My rest' is God’s rest, God’s Sabbath rest. This is the rest some failed to enter, but which remains available to us today — a rest received by faith (vv. 3–6).

God’s 'Sabbath rest,' still available, is a rest of ceasing futile works in an effort to earn God’s favor. The one who has entered God’s rest has set aside striving in the flesh while trusting in the work God has finished, in Christ (vv. 7–10).

Pastor Rob Deffinbaugh on https://bible.org/seriespage/1-why-study-hebrews

Scripture Picture of Hebrews 11:8–16 was designed, created, custom-framed, and styled by Warren Camp.

Warren Camp's Scripture picture of Hebrews 11:8-16, highlighting Abraham's obedience to the Lord's calling

Desert safari photo from Google Photos at https://www.google.com/intl/en-GB/photos/about/

Copyright 2020, all rights reserved.

Note: You may save, print, and share Warren's custom Scripture Picture for personal use only!

Scripture Picture of Hebrews 11:17–19 was designed, created, custom-framed, and styled by Warren Camp.

Warren Camp's Scripture picture of Hebrews 11:17-19, highlighting Abraham's offering Isaac as a sacrificeg

Photo from "The Bible" TV miniseries, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; custom wooden sign was created by Warren.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_(miniseries)

Copyright 2020, all rights reserved.

Note: You may save, print, and share Warren's custom Scripture Picture for personal use only!

Key Words Repeated in"Hebrews"


faith” or “faithful (used 38 times in the NIV)

2:17     For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

3:2     He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.

3:5     “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future.

3:6     But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

4:2     For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

4:14     Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

6:1     Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, . . .

6:12     We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

8:9     It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10:23     Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

10:38     And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”

10:39     But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

11:1     Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

11:3     By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

11:4     By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

11:5     By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

11:6     And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

11:7     By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

11:8     By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

11:9     By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

11:11     And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

11:13     All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

11:17     By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, . . .

11:28     By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

Key Words Repeated in"Hebrews"


faith” or “faithful (used 38 times in the NIV)

2:17     For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

3:2     He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.

3:5     “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future.

3:6     But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

4:2     For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

4:14     Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

6:1     Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, . . .

6:12     We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

8:9     It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10:23     Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

10:38     And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”

10:39     But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

11:1     Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

11:3     By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

11:4     By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

11:5     By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

11:6     And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

11:7     By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

11:8     By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

11:9     By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

11:11     And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

11:13     All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

11:17     By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, . . .

11:28     By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, . . .

— Hebrews 6:13
4Just think how great [Melchizedek] was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people — that is, from their fellow Israelites — even though they also are descended from Abraham. 6This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.

– Hebrews 7:4–6
5He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

6Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

— Genesis 12:5–6
The Call of Abram

12 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

– Genesis 12:1
Abram in Egypt

10Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

— Genesis 12:10–20
I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

— Genesis 17:16
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

10Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.

— Genesis 18:9–10
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

10Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

15Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

— Genesis 18:9–15
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”

— Genesis 21:6
The Call of Abram

12The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

    2“I will make you into a great nation,
        and I will bless you;
    I will make your name great,
        and you will be seen as blessed.
    3I will bless those who bless you,
        and whoever curses you I will curse;
    and all peoples on earth
        will be blessed through you.”

— Genesis 12:1–3
Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

— Genesis 17:19
10This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

— Genesis 17:10


26Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.

— Genesis 17:26
The Birth of Isaac

21Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.

— Genesis 21:1–3
9But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

11The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. 13I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

14Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

— Genesis 21:9–14