When looking at people who receive new names, it is easy to see when referring to the flesh, the old name is used, but when referring to the promise the new name is used. This is most apparent when referring to the children of Jacob vs those of Israel. This observation is not the subject of the question, but is the assumed foundation for it.

Sarai is the name used for the woman of the flesh and Sarah used for the woman of the promise.

1 Peter 3:1-6 only alludes to the unblessed שָׂרַ֣י Sarai but neglects to mention the blessed שָׂרָ֖ה Sarah's characteristics. Genesis 18:12-15 shows her outspoken nature, though it was ill-informed. Genesis 21:10-12 shows a cruel nature but God commands Avraham to obey his outspoken wife : "whatever Sarah tells you, hearken to her voice" ( כֹּל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר תֹּאמַ֥ר אֵלֶ֛יךָ שָׂרָ֖ה שְׁמַ֣ע בְּקֹלָ֑הּ ) , since he plans to bless both boys as is seen later in the narrative.

Why would 1 Peter 3:1-6 only inform women to behave like שָׂרַ֣י Sarai (the flesh), but not the blessed שָׂרָ֖ה Sarah (who was no longer silent regarding her husband's judgement concerning his children)? Shouldn't the woman of the promise be the model?

1 Peter 3:1-6 [NKJV]

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord

1 Peter 3 tells nothing else of שָׂרָ֖ה Sarah. This seems to be intentionally misrepresenting our Matriarch & God's command to Avraham in Genesis 21:12.

  • Not sure of the relevance of the Genesis passage, which is basically about one wife's complaint about the potential danger, for her and her offspring, posed by another wife and her son. It is still Abraham, rather than any of his wives, which will come to take decision about the two, which they will have to obey. There is a difference between a judge trying to determine which of the two parties (the accuser or the accused) to trust, and an underling, forced to obey his master's wishes. A fair judge is not a servant to either of the two parties involved in the dispute he is trying to settle.
    – Lucian
    Jul 12 '21 at 14:54
  • 1
    Where is Sarai in the text? Close.
    – Michael16
    Jul 13 '21 at 18:17
  • I appear to have partially answered the question in the attempt to make it a relevant question. Sarah was not given a new name because of a character change, perhaps she became haughty in her 'blessing' just as Israel would do as they proclaimed their 'position' as children of Avraham.? Perhaps the rest of the answer lies in Paul's hermeneutical hint that when he speaks of marriage, he is speaking of Christ and the church. The church learns quietly from her husband and is not haughty like Sarah.
    – Bob Jones
    Aug 11 '21 at 4:18

This question incorrectly assumes that there is a Sarah 1.0 that was meek and obedient and a Sarah 2.0 was outspoken and did not obey him.

Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him Lord throughout her married life as was the norm in that time period. But obeying Abraham does not mean that the relationship was based on slavery. She let her needs and be known, and as in the ideal marriage where the groom lays down his life for his wife, Abraham was responsible for making sure those needs were met and that his wife was taken care of. The point is that when Sarah made requests, it was still his decision. Abraham did not ask Sarah, she asked him. No one can possibly dispute that the patriarchs lived in patriarchal societies.

The premise of this Sarah 1.0 and Sarah 2.0 hypothesis is that in Genesis 21, Sarah asks Abraham to get rid of Ishmael, but Abraham doesn't want to, and then God tells Abraham to listen to her, and so Ishmael and Hagar are sent out. Here is the passage in question:

Gen 21.12-13

But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”

But the context is clearly listen to her in this case. Not, listen to her from now on. The "ki" (because/for) is important.

Indeed, there is nothing else recorded about Sarah, as after this incident Abraham signs a treaty with Abimelech with no mention of Sarah, goes to sacrifice Isaac with no mention of Sarah, and then Sarah dies. So if Sarah was given newfound powers of bossing Abraham around, there is no record of these powers being exercised apart from the situation with Ishmael. And if she was given new found encouragement to speak up, the scriptures don't record a single sentence she said after this event, either.

Nor did Sarah's character somehow change. I.e. in Gen 16.2, Sarah asks Abraham to sleep with Hagar, and he complies. But here, God didn't tell him to listen to her, so if there was a case to be made that Abraham obeyed Sarah, it would be in Gen 16, not in Gen 21.

So there was no Sarah 1.0 or Sarah 2.0. Sarah remained the same Sarah, with no personality change. It was the same Sarah that Peter was referencing, who called Abraham Lord and obeyed him, and did not raise an objection even when Abraham went to sacrifice her only son Isaac, but she trusted in Abraham.


Note the very important opening instruction in 1 Peter 3:1

Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your husbands

This is a direct reference to the passage before about all people submitting to one another especially, "to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." It is parallel to Paul's instruction in Eph 5:21-28 about submitting to one another including wives submitting to husbands.

Paul simply uses Sarah/Sarai as an exemplar of this type of behavior.

I see not reference to two different behaviors of Sarah in any of these poassages.

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