The Undeserving are Chosen – Genesis 11:10-11:32

Sarah is the undeserving individual through whom God chooses to act.  She has no family heritage, no ancestry from which she can draw pride.  She has no ability to produce a child.  She is not able to perform the role of a wife.  Yet, it is only her with whom the reader is connects foreshadowing the coming narrative.  God has chosen Sarah, despite her lack of status, despite her lack of ability, to fulfill his plan.

The Art will be visible once we have at least five pieces to show.

Genesis 11:10-32

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 These are the records of the generations of Shem. Shem was one hundred years old, and became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood; 11 and Shem lived five hundred years after he became the father of Arpachshad, and he had other sons and daughters.

12 Arpachshad lived thirty-five years, and became the father of Shelah; 13 and Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years after he became the father of Shelah, and he had other sons and daughters.

14 Shelah lived thirty years, and became the father of Eber; 15 and Shelah lived four hundred and three years after he became the father of Eber, and he had other sons and daughters.

16 Eber lived thirty-four years, and became the father of Peleg; 17 and Eber lived four hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Peleg, and he had other sons and daughters.

18 Peleg lived thirty years, and became the father of Reu; 19 and Peleg lived two hundred and nine years after he became the father of Reu, and he had other sons and daughters.

20 Reu lived thirty-two years, and became the father of Serug; 21 and Reu lived two hundred and seven years after he became the father of Serug, and he had other sons and daughters.

22 Serug lived thirty years, and became the father of Nahor; 23 and Serug lived two hundred years after he became the father of Nahor, and he had other sons and daughters.

24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and became the father of Terah; 25 and Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years after he became the father of Terah, and he had other sons and daughters.

26 Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

27 Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 Sarai was barren; she had no child.

31 Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there. 32 The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.

The Theme Explained

Before continuing, read the passage above and slowly let the images soak in.  Each image is someone’s personal expression of the theme.  Discover how the images reveal the theme from the passage.


The Terah genealogy cycle focuses on the most unexpected individual.  The generations and narratives to this point have all transpired through the male figure.  Not since Eve has there been the introduction and emphasis placed on the woman.  Sarai is the focus of this narrative.

Interestingly, as the protagonist, she is identified by what she is lacking, and not who she is.  Her sister, Milcah, is not only identified by her father Haran, but also her father Haran is identified by her.  Milcah marries Nahor as one with a defined lineage.  Sarah on the other hand is not given the credential of lineage.  She is not identified with any ancestry or family pride.

In addition, Sarah’s inability to perform the role of a wife, to bear a child, to continue on the lineage, implies Sarah as lacking in her ability.  Once again, the contrast with Milcah is that Milcah produced a son, Lot.  The addition of Lot to the family of Abram, suggests that now Sarah is responsible for perpetuating the line of Haran, not her husband, Abram.  Sarah is thus positioned as an inferior wife.

Of all the characters in this story, she is the only one who has an emotion involved in her role.  All other characters are emotionless and are merely facilitators in this story.  Sarah on the other hand, is presented as suffering.  She is barren.  The narrator then implies that this “defect” results in her inability to produce a child.  The connection of her physical condition with the fact that she is not able to perform the stereotypical role of a wife implies her misery, especially in contrast to her sister-in-law, Milcah, the ideal wife.  The reader can feel the sorrow in her situation.

Yet, with Sarah as the only character in the story presented with any emotion, any suffering, any conflict, she is the heroine of this story.  Her story is as yet unfinished.  The narrator is creating the conflict for the coming resolution of Sarah’s plight.

Sarah is the undeserving individual through whom God chooses to act.  She has no family heritage, no ancestry from which she can draw pride.  She has no ability to produce a child.  She is not able to perform the role of a wife.  Yet, it is only her with whom the reader is connects foreshadowing the coming narrative.  God has chosen Sarah, despite her lack of status, despite her lack of ability, to fulfill his plan.

Themeology