Genesis 18:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 18:13, NIV: "Then the LORD said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?'"

Genesis 18:13, ESV: "The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’"

Genesis 18:13, KJV: "And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?"

Genesis 18:13, NASB: "But the LORD said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I actually give birth to a child, when I am so old?’"

Genesis 18:13, NLT: "Then the LORD said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, 'Can an old woman like me have a baby?'"

Genesis 18:13, CSB: "But the LORD asked Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Can I really have a baby when I'm old?'"

What does Genesis 18:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Sarah is listening from a nearby tent as her husband Abraham converses with three strangers. These men are actually God and two angels disguised in human form. The strict approach to hospitality practiced in that era would have applied to every aspect of this event. In part, that probably meant Sarah should not have been eavesdropping. It certainly would have meant that laughing at something a guest said, unless it was intended as a joke, could have been seen as impolite.

Since the details of this passage are brief, we don't know if Abraham and the three men could hear Sarah laugh in response to the idea of her having a baby. It is possible that God's divine awareness that she laughed to herself served as evidence that this was, indeed, the Lord in human form outside of her tent. The text itself gives us no way to know for sure.

In either case, the Lord asks Abraham why Sarah had laughed in unbelief about the idea. This would have been an awkward question for Abraham to answer, since his response to this same news was similar (Genesis 17:17).