Fierce Women in the Bible: Sarai

I am loving my study of the fierce women of the Bible! I love focusing on just the women. I feel I’m getting to know them as real people.

Our next two women behave as the first mean girls in the Bible. We’ll discuss the first one (Sarai) today and in the next blog. Then we’ll discuss the second one (Hagar).

2. Sarai’s story—Sarai’s story starts in Genesis 11:27. She’s Abram’s wife, but she cannot have children (verse 30). In chapter 12 Abram receives word from God they are to leave the extended family and go to “the land which I [God] will show you” (12:1). God also goes on to tell Abram that He will make Abram “a great nation.” Abram takes his orphaned nephew Lot and Sarai and heads off to the land God directs them to. After they are there for a while, a famine grips the area. Abram and his company go to Egypt where there is food. When they approached Egypt Abram said to Sarai, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and it will come about hen the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you” (verse 12-13).

Does this sound awful to anyone else?! Abram is selling out his wife to save his own skin, because he’s in a land that God did not tell him to go to.

When they arrive in Egypt Sarai is noticed for her beauty. She is taken into Pharaoh’s harem and Abram is rewarded with livestock and servants. But God wouldn’t let Sarai be violated because of the poor judgment of her husband and He strikes Pharaoh’s household with “great plagues.” Pharaoh returns Sarai untouched to Abram and Pharaoh’s men usher them out of town. Phew!

3. How did Sarai deal with her situation? As we saw, she obeyed Abram and went along with his deceit even though it put her at physical and moral risk.

4. What were her emotions? The Bible doesn’t say. I can only imagine fear, anger, helplessness, hopelessness, and betrayal.

5. What did God say to her? Her only word from God was through Abram to go to Canaan.

6. How did the man in the story relate to her? Was he godly in fulfilling his role? Abram used Sarai to save himself. He put her not only in physical harm, but moral harm. He was a godly man, but failed to protect his wife and trust God in this situation. I wonder if God even wanted him to go to Egypt or if God would have provided for him and his family in Canaan.

7. Did Sarai honor, trust, and obey God? The results? Sarai did what her husband asked her to do even though it was wrong.

8. No female relationships in this section of Scripture.

9. What can I learn from Sarai? God gave me a brain and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. I must use these to know what God asks of me. I am responsible for my actions. If someone, even my husband, asks me to participate in something that is not God-honoring I must speak up. I must speak the truth and obey God, not man.

Have you learned to trust and obey the Holy Spirit’s guiding you?

How difficult is it to say no when everyone else says “why not!”?


Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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