How old was Sarah when Ishmael was born?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Sarah, who was originally named Sarai, was 75 years old when Ishmael was born. At this point in her life, she had been married to Abraham for many years, but they had been unable to conceive a child together. This was a source of great sorrow and frustration for both Sarai and Abraham, as having children was seen as a crucial aspect of their lives and the fulfillment of God’s promises to them.

In the ancient Near East, the ability to bear children was not only a personal desire but also held significant cultural and religious importance. It was believed that having children was a blessing from God and a means of continuing one’s lineage. Moreover, in the case of Abraham and Sarai, the birth of a child was directly tied to the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham, which promised him numerous descendants and the land of Canaan as their inheritance.

As Sarai approached her late 70s, she began to feel desperate and worried that she would never be able to fulfill her role in God’s plan. She came up with a plan that was common in the cultural context of that time. Sarai proposed that Abraham should have a child through her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar. In this way, Sarai believed that she could obtain a child by proxy and fulfill her obligations to God.

Abraham, although initially hesitant, agreed to Sarai’s plan, and he had a child with Hagar. Ishmael was born when Abraham was 86 years old. This event marked a significant moment in the family’s history, as it was the first step towards the fulfillment of God’s covenant. However, it is important to note that Ishmael was not the child of the covenant; rather, he was born out of Sarai’s impatience and desire to take matters into her own hands.

Despite the birth of Ishmael, Sarai’s longing for a child of her own remained unfulfilled. It was not until many years later, when Sarai was 90 years old and Abraham was 100, that God intervened and miraculously enabled her to conceive. This miraculous birth resulted in the arrival of their son Isaac, who was the true child of the covenant and the one through whom God’s promises would be ultimately fulfilled.

Sarah, formerly known as Sarai, was 75 years old when Ishmael was born. This birth was a result of Sarai’s plan to have a child through her maidservant Hagar, as she and Abraham sought to fulfill God’s promises. However, it was not until many years later that Sarai herself gave birth to Isaac, the true child of the covenant.