"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Isaac Born to Sarah
Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7 Commentary
by Margaret Odell
Standing in the opening of his tent in the heat of the day, Abraham suddenly sees three men standing in front of him.
Though he has no idea who they are, he bows deeply, and then modestly offers them basic travelers’ comforts—water to wash their feet, shade for rest, and a little bread before they head on their way again. His household becomes a flurry of activity: he himself selects the calf, gives it to the lad to prepare, and then tells Sarah to prepare a substantial quantity of bread.
This trio of Abraham’s household provides an interesting contrast to Abraham’s three visitors, who appear in such perfect concord that the narrative sometimes presents them as a single entity, the LORD himself (verses 1, 9-10); in fact, early Christian commentators treated the visitors as a type of the Holy Trinity. By contrast, the three figures in Abraham’s household occupy different positions in a hierarchy of command and obedience. Somewhat ambiguously, the boy is identified neither as a servant (?ebed) nor a son (ben) but a boy (na?ar), as both Ishmael and Isaac will be called in later ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 372: Isaac Born to Sarah
September 15, 2019
Podcast on Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7, the Narrative Lectionary readings for Sept. 15, 2019, (Isaac Born to Sarah) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.