Sarai and Hagar
16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him any children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See here, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. I am asking you to go in to [the bed of] my maid [so that she may bear you a child]; perhaps I will [a]obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to Sarai and did as she said. 3 After Abram had lived in the land of Canaan ten years, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian [maid], and gave her to her husband Abram to be his [secondary] wife. 4 He went in to [the bed of] Hagar, and she conceived; and when she realized that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress [regarding Sarai as insignificant because of her infertility]. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “May [the responsibility for] the wrong done to me [by the arrogant behavior of Hagar] be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, and when she realized that she had conceived, I was despised and looked on with disrespect. May the Lord judge [who has done right] between you and me.” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Look, your maid is entirely in your hands and subject to your authority; do as you please with her.” So Sarai treated her harshly and humiliated her, and Hagar fled from her.
7 But [b]the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, on the road to [Egypt by way of] Shur. 8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where did you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your mistress, and submit [c]humbly to her authority.” 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The Angel of the Lord continued,
“Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall name him Ishmael (God hears),
Because the Lord has heard and paid attention to your persecution (suffering).
“He (Ishmael) will be a wild donkey of a man;
His hand will be against every man [continually fighting]
And every man’s hand against him;
And he will dwell in defiance of all his brothers.”
13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are [d]God Who Sees”; for she said, “Have I not even here [in the wilderness] remained alive after [e]seeing Him [who sees me with understanding and compassion]?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (Well of the Living One Who Sees Me); it is [f]between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son; and Abram named his son, to whom Hagar gave birth, [g]Ishmael (God hears). 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.
- Genesis 16:2 This must have been an acceptable practice in that time and culture, based on the idea that the children of such a union would belong to the owner of the slave-girl. Abram undoubtedly had informed Sarai of God’s promise to him, and Sarai perhaps thought that this was necessary in order to bring about God’s plan for them.
- Genesis 16:7 This is the first occurrence of “Angel of the Lord (YHWH)” in Scripture. The Hebrew word for “angel” means “messenger” (an angel of God is a special messenger from God who speaks for and is closely identified with Him) and context determines whether the messenger is an angel or a human. The same is true for Greek, and the word “angel” is an English form (transliteration) of the Gr aggelos. The Angel of the Lord can be a special case, however. Many Bible scholars believe that this Angel may be a theophany, that is, a physical manifestation of God, in which case the word Angel is capitalized. The Angel of the Lord may, based on context, be the pre-incarnate Christ, the Son of God.
- Genesis 16:9 Lit under her hands.
- Genesis 16:13 Heb El roi; God never sleeps, He sees, He is aware, He is the great Omnipresent God.
- Genesis 16:13 Or seen the back of Him who sees me, which would suggest that at some point in their conversation Hagar requested to see the divine Angel (see note v 7) and, as in Moses’ encounter with God (Ex 33:18-23), was granted the privilege of seeing His back. The wording of the Hebrew is not clear enough to further narrow the possibilities.
- Genesis 16:14 This, “it is between Kadesh and Bered,” is further proof of the antiquity of the original names, since the place had to be identified to the reader in the time of Moses.
- Genesis 16:15 Ishmael was the first person whom God named before his birth (Gen 16:11). Others were: Isaac (Gen 17:19); Josiah (1 Kin 13:2); Solomon (1 Chr 22:9); Jesus (Matt 1:21); and John the Baptist (Luke 1:13).