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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Genesis

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FRAMEWORKS: Genesis 16: Hagar and Ishmael


v.1-4 Sarai suggests an alternative way

v.4-6 Saria drives Hagar Out

v.7-12 The Lord reassures Hagar

v.13-16 She affirms the Lord, returns, and bears Ishmael


v.1-4 Sarai suggests an alternative way


v.1,2 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

v.3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.

v.4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.


[Notes: Abram's wife Sarai has started wondering if there is another way for God's promise to be fulfilled and so pressures Abram to use her servant girl to have a child, and he gives way and agrees.]



v.4-6 Saria drives Hagar Out


When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.

v.5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”

v.6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.


[Notes: Hagar the servant girl soon becomes pregnant and despises Sarai for her barrenness. Sarai becomes upset and complains to Abram who consents to her doing what she will with Hagar. She mistreats her so Hagar flees into the desert. Neither Abram nor Sarai are seen in a good light but maybe there are simply conforming to the cultural norms of that day in respect of attitudes towards servants.]



v.7-12 The Lord reassures Hagar


v.7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.

v.8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I'm running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

v.9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”

v.10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

v.11 The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, [Ishmael means God hears] for the Lord has heard of your misery.

v.12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”


[Notes: In the desert Hagar finds a spring and while she is there she is visited by an angel. The Lord reassures her and instructs her as follows:

•  she is to return to Sarai

•  she will have many descendants

•  she is to name her son Ishmael as a reminder that God heard her anguish

•  yet her son will be a rebel outcast.]



v.13-16 Affirms the Lord, returns and bears Ishmael


v.13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

v.14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [ Beer Lahai Roi means well of the Living One who sees me. ]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

v.15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.

v.16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.


[Notes: Hagar acknowledges and affirms the Lord as the One who is there for her, she returns home and has a son and, presumably telling Abram of her encounter with the Lord, they name the child Ishmael.]



Lessons or Challenges to Ponder from Genesis Chapter 16

1. This chapter is not a high point in the testimony of Sarai and Abram. Impatience, wifely nagging, wrong husband-submission, abuse of others, a difficult future. What is amazing is not their behaviour but God's, who is there for Hagar and blesses her with His presence and encouragement in hurtful times.

2. Amazingly the couple do not lose the inheritance God has promised them, but we should not take that as an excuse to behave badly towards others for our own benefit. Do I need to check out my life to see if repentance, reconciliation, or even restitution is required in respect of others?



Continue to Chapter 17