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So Sarai said to Abram, “Since[a] the Lord has prevented me from having children, please sleep with[b] my servant. Perhaps I can have a family by her.”[c] Abram did what[d] Sarai told him.

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  1. Genesis 16:2 tn Heb “look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) introduces the foundational clause for the imperative to follow.
  2. Genesis 16:2 tn Heb “come to.” The verb בּוֹא (boʾ; “to come, enter”) with the preposition אֶל (ʾel; “to”) means “to approach, to come to” (HALOT 1:113) and is a euphemism for coming together for sexual relations (see further at 2 Sam 12:24). “Please get together with” might be closer to the Hebrew but would be less clear about the implication, so a different euphemism has been used for the Sarai simply sees this as the social custom of having a child through a surrogate. For further discussion see C. F. Fensham, “The Son of a Handmaid in Northwest Semitic,” VT 19 (1969): 312-21.
  3. Genesis 16:2 tn Heb “perhaps I will be built from her.” Sarai hopes to have a family established through this surrogate mother.
  4. Genesis 16:2 tn Heb “listened to the voice of,” which is an idiom meaning “obeyed.”sn Abram did what Sarai told him. This expression was first used in Gen 3:17 of Adam’s obeying his wife. In both cases the text highlights weak faith and how it jeopardized the plan of God.

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