Genesis 18:9 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.

It is not clear who is said to have the tent behind him?

  • Does it matter who she was behind?
    – curiousdannii
    May 7, 2021 at 8:32

2 Answers 2

  • Abraham had his tent close to the pathway / road where wayfarers would pass by
  • It was his practice that when ever someone passed by he would ask them to halt so he can give them some food and water so they can be refreshed and go their way.
  • Remember that Lot also does the same thing by asking the angels to come into his house (Genesis 19:1)
  • Now the wife always had her own tent and only when the time for intimacy came the lwife would come to the husbands tent.
  • her tent would be right behind the husbands and her maids would have tent behind hers.
  • See also the details of Jacob and his 4 wifes where you see similar practice of having separate tents (Genesis 31:33-36)

So the verse is pointing that Sarah was in her tent that was behind Abraham.

Hope this helps. God bless.


Gen 18:9-12 says this:

9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked.

“There, in the tent,” he replied.

10 Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and your wife Sarah will have a son!”

Now Sarah was behind him, listening at the entrance to the tent. 11 And Abraham and Sarah were already old and well along in years; Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 So she laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

The arrangement of people appears to be the LORD and the two angels (Gen 19:1) with their back to the tent talking to Abraham, who was facing the tent.

Notice that the "LORD" in the above translation is actually just the verb "said" in the 3rd person masculine singular, so it should be strictly translated, "And He said". In any case, it is clear that the LORD YHWH is speaking. Thus, the "He" at the beginning of V10 is the same "him" at the end of the same V10.

Thus Sarah was standing, just out of sight in the entrance of tent door behind the LORD.


It is fascinating that while Sarah stood behind the LORD, later in V22 we have the opposite:

And the two men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.

It appears that there is a deliberate literary contrast between the action of Sarah and Abraham in this short narrative.

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