Genesis 18:12

Hebrew Bible

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.) 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, especially when my husband is old too?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child when I am old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.”

Luke 1:18

New Testament

16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.” 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is old as well.” 19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold61 because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will be silent, unable to speak, until the day these things take place.”

 Notes and References

"... A number of other theological roles related to the metaphor of the son of God intrude themselves strongly and create considerable variety and flexibility in these narratives. Particularly important are those of prophet, Nazirite and messiah. One story stands out for its strong exploitation of the humorous potential of the birth story’s plotline. In the story of Samson’s birth that is found in Judges 13, the narrative takes full advantage of the massive human confusion that comes into pity whenever gods impregnate women. We saw this comic motif already in the Abraham and Sarah story of Genesis 18:12, Behind Sarah’s laughter at the thought of her and her old man ‘having fun again’ lay the hidden prophecy of the divine stranger’s promise. Matthew’s gospel takes up the theme briefly, but only in a serious manner; in order to present the husband Joseph in the favourable light of trusting piety. Luke’s episodes of the conceptions of John and Jesus both introduce this comic motif. Variants of Sarah’s question are voiced by both Zechariah and Mary: ‘How can I know this as I am an old man and my wife an old woman, advanced in years?’ and ‘How can this be, since I have never been with a man?’ The stock nature of the material becomes quite clear when Zechariah’s question is rebuked as doubt in order to draw the moral that nothing is impossible for God..."

Thompson, Thomas L. The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel (pp. 494-495) Basic Books, 1999

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