Why did the angel need to draw Avrohom’s attention to Sarah’s modesty?
(18,9) “And they said to him: Where is Sarah, your wife? And he said: Behold, in the tent.”
Rashi explains that the angels asked Avrohom where Sarah was to show that she was modest in order to endear her to her husband. But this is difficult to understand - is it possible that until now Avrohom did not know that she was modest?
But it seems to me that because the words that the angels were about to say to Avrohom “I will surely return to you at this time next year” seem to imply that they were going to return to him but not to her, they were concerned that this might create some enmity between them. Because it might lead Avrohom to think that Sarah was the cause of his not having children from her until now.
Therefore, the angel forestalled this by asking Avrohom “Where is Sarah your wife?” even though the angel knew where she was, in order to draw Avrohom’s attention to her modesty, intimating to Avrohom that since he was certainly aware that she is always in the tent because she is modest, he can be certain that Hashem will reward her for her modesty. As Chazal taught in the gemora Megillah 10b: “Every bride who is modest in the house of her father-in-law is rewarded by having kings and prophets among her descendants”.
So too with Sarah - in the merit of her modesty Hashem’s promise to Avrohom that “kings will descend from you” (Bereishis 17:6) and Hashem’s promise concerning Sarah that “kings of peoples will descend from her” (Bereishis 17:16) will certainly be fulfilled.
Thus, by drawing Avrohom's attention to Sarah’s modesty the angels endeared Sarah to Avrohom, as Rashi explained.
Why did the angels ask Sarah where Avrohom was when he was standing right there?
(18,9) “And they said to him: Where is Sarah, your wife? And he said: Behold, in the tent. ”
Chazal taught in the Midrash that the word אליו has dots over the letters איו, because the angels also asked Sarah “Where is he?”. But this is very difficult to understand - why would they ask Sarah where Avrohom was when he was standing right there!
But it seems to me that when they asked where is he or she, they were not asking about their physical location but about their spiritual location, their spiritual level. They were asking Avrohom due to which good deed would Sarah merit having a son, and they asked Sarah the same question about Avrohom.
Now, it has already been observed by some that the letters of the words אליו איה (to him: Where is she?) are the same as the letters of the words אליה איו (to her: Where is he?). But we can add an additional observation, and say that just like we expound the two words אליו איה as if they were written אליה איו, so too the two words אשתך ויאמר (your wife, and he said) can be expounded as if they were written אישך ותאמר (your husband, and she said).
Thus, it is as if it was written “And they said to her: Where is your husband? And she said: Behold, in the tent”, and thus we see that she too answered the question about Avrohom’s spiritual level with the words “Behold, in the tent”. Because just like this answer delineated the modesty of Sarah as we mentioned above, so too it delineated the spiritual level of Avrohom - always making sure to set up a tent as a hospice for his guests (the gemora in Sotah 10a explains that the posuk in Bereishis 21:33 “and he planted an אשל” means that he set up a hospice), and sitting at the entrance of the tent to look for guests.
Thus, the pshat of the posuk includes two things. The literal reading of the posuk is that “they said to him: Where is Sarah your wife” - what is her spiritual level in virtue of which she will merit having a son. To which he answered “Behold, in the tent”, that in virtue of her modesty she will merit that kings will descend from her, as we mentioned above. And the expounded reading of the posuk alluded to by the dots over the letters איו is that “they said to her: Where is your husband?” - what is his spiritual level in virtue of which he will merit having a son. To which she answered “Behold, in the tent”, that in virtue of his always making certain to set up a hospice for guests he will merit to have a son. As it says in Tehillim 17:14 “they will be satisfied with sons and leave their wealth to their young children. I with righteousness will see your face”.