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Rashi in parshas Va'eira states:

והנה שלשה אנשים. אחד לבשר את שרה

This is translated as

one to announce to Sarah the birth of a son, see Sefaria there, for instance.

Artscroll translates similarly

one to bring tidings to Sarah that she would give birth to a son.

However, the angel never addressed Sarah. He told Avraham the message and Sarah overheard the conversion.

So why is it referred to as announcing to Sarah, shouldn't it be referred to as announcing to Avraham about Sarah?

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  • All it says is, "one to announce Sarah". It does not say "to Sarah".
    – The GRAPKE
    Nov 8 '20 at 23:58
  • What did you do with the word את?
    – user6591
    Nov 9 '20 at 0:01
  • @user את usually marks the direct object. So it literally means something like to announce Sarah (where "Sarah" functions like "the winner" in the phrase to announce the winner). But it's admittedly a weird construction.
    – Double AA
    Nov 9 '20 at 0:08
  • @Double Do you have any other examples where es is used to refer to a particular person like this? If so you can answer the question and say Sefaria and Artscroll are wrong.
    – user6591
    Nov 9 '20 at 0:11
  • @user6591 וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרָיְמָה אֵת יַעֲקֹב אִישׁ וּבֵיתוֹ בָּאוּ וְאִלֵּין שְׁמָהָת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל דְּעָאלוּ לְמִצְרָיִם עִם יַעֲקֹב גְּבַר וַאֲנָשׁ בֵּיתֵיהּ עָאלוּ Es - the matter associated with.
    – The GRAPKE
    Nov 9 '20 at 0:36
4

As various commentaries point out, the guests asked where Sarah was precisely because they needed to deliver the message to her. According to this it's not that she happened to overhear them speaking to Avraham; it's that they made sure to speak to Avraham within earshot of Sarah.

Bechor Shor

ויאמרו אליו איה שרה אשתך לפי שרצו לבשרה כי האחד בא לבשר את שרה

And they said to him, "where is Sarah your wife?" for they wanted to inform her, because one of them had come to inform Sarah.

Radak

שאלו עליה לפי שלא היתה עמהם במקום שהיו אוכלים מפני צניעותה ולמדנו בסיפור הזה כי לא נאה לנשים הצנועות להתראות בפני האורחים ולפי שהיו רוצים לבשרה שאלו עליה

They asked about her because she was not with them in the place where they were eating due to her modesty. And we learn in this tale that it is not nice for modest women to appear before guests. And because they wanted to inform her they asked about her.

Ralbag

ואחרי אוכלם שאלו איה שרה אשתו כי האחד מהם בא לבשר אותה שיהיה לה בן

And after they ate they asked where Sarah his wife was, for one of them had come to inform her that she would have a son.

Seporno

איה שרה כי כוונת השליחות היתה לבשר את שרה שתשמח היא ותודה כדי שיהיה העבור יותר שלם כי אברהם כבר התבשר מאת האל יתעלה

"Where is Sarah?" – because the purpose of the mission was to inform Sarah so that she would rejoice and give thanks in order for the fetus to be more perfect, for Avraham had already been informed from God may He be exalted.

2
  • I was thinking of something like this, but it would seem to not work with Rashi who gives the reason they asked where she was as a way to point out her tznius, in order to endear her to Avraham. Nothing to do with the announcement.
    – user6591
    Nov 9 '20 at 0:33
  • אחת דבר אלהים שתים זו שמעתי וכפטיש יפוצץ סלע @user6591
    – Alex
    Nov 9 '20 at 0:40

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