Genesis 18:10

Hebrew Bible

8 Abraham then took some curds and milk, along with the calf that had been prepared, and placed the food before them. They ate while he was standing near them under a tree. 9 Then they asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There, in the tent.” 10 One of them said, “I will surely return to you when the season comes round again, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years; Sarah had long since passed menopause.)

Samaritan Genesis 18:10

Samaritan Penteteuch

8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

 Notes and References

"... wehu aharayw (v. 10): “but [she] was behind him.” There are several possible readings of this phrase. If wehuwehi, with the possible meanings that a) “and she [Sarah] was behind him [Yahweh],” or less likely, b) “and it [the door] was behind him [Yahweh].” (The other grammatically possible options are not logically possible, i.e., that “she was behind it [the tent],” or that “it [the door] was behind it [the tent].”) The LXX has ουσα οπισθεν αυτου, “being behind him.” The feminine participle ουσα is nominative, and thus can only refer to Sarah, and not the door or the tent. To judge between these alternatives, we can rule out the interpretation that the phrase would describe Yahweh as behind the tent (MT option b), since the rest of the passage appears to portray the action as occurring in front of the tent. It also seems unlikely that it would describe the door in particular as being behind Yahweh (Sam. Pent. option b), although this is possible. More likely, the meaning is either that the tent was behind Yahweh (MT option a), or that Sarah was behind Yahweh (Sam. Pent. option a, LXX). The last of these options is the strongest possibility logically, since the point is that Yahweh’s knowledge of Sarah’s laughter is extraordinary ..."

Hamori, Esther J. When Gods Were Men: The Embodied God in Biblical and Near Eastern Literature (pp. 67-68) De Gruyter, 2008

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