So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” 13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
I'm bothered by the last verse. Why does the text recount that Sarah denied that she laughed followed by Abraham's rebuttal who insisted that she indeed laugh. What is the significance of this particular detail and what is the biblical author trying to convey here?
In my mind there is no doubt that the entire story of Sarah's Laughter in Gen. 18 is somewhat related to the name of 'Isaac=Izhak', which in Hebrew means "laughing". See for example Gen. 21:6 where laughter is clearly the etiological basis for Isaac's name, and in 17:17-19 it is also clearly implied. So Sarah's laughter here is clearly related to the name 'Izhak' given later on. My question is, how does this detail of Sarah's denial and Abraham's response play a role in this narrative (or Isaac's name), and what was its historical significance to the Israelite audience/tradition?
It almost seems as if the narrative here is incomplete, and that a punishment or response should follow after verse 15. But we find none. Any suggestions here would be appreciated.