Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

A smiling Sarah peeks out from behind a doorway as she eavesdrops on her husband Abraham conversing with three angels. The painting, by Flemish artist Gerard de Lairesse (c. 1640–1711), illustrates the moment in Genesis when the divine messengers tell Abraham that Sarah will soon bear a son. When Sarah overhears the news, she “laugh[s] to herself, saying, ‘Now that I am withered, am I to have enjoyment—with my husband so old?’” (Genesis 18:12). But although Sarah spoke to herself, God knew just what she said: “The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Shall I in truth bear a child, old as I am?” Is anything too wondrous for the Lord?’” (Genesis 18:13–14). According to author Carasik, the biblical author “lends” God omniscience in this story to reinforce the message that no one—not even Sarah and Abraham—is allowed to keep secrets from God. Dating to about 1688, Lairesse’s painting of “Abraham and the Three Angels” hangs in the Louvre.