now sarai abram’s wife had not been able to bear children for him but she had an Egyptian servant named hagar so sarah said to abram the Lord has prevented me from having children.
go and sleep with my servant.
perhaps I can have children through her.
and abram agreed with sarai’s proposal.
so sarai abram’s wife took hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to abram as a wife.
( this happened ten years after abram had settled in the land of canaan).
so abram had sexual relations with hagar and she became pregnant but when hagar knew she was pregnant she began to treat her mistress sarai with contempt.
then sarai said to abram ” this is all your fault”!
I put my servant into your arms but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt.
the Lord will show who’s wrong- you or me!
abram replied look she is your servant so deal with her as you see fit.
then sarai treated hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
the angel of the Lord found hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness along the road to shur.
the angel said to her hagar sarai’s servant where have you come from and where are you going?
I’m running away from my mistress sarai she replied.
the angel of the Lord said to her return to your mistress and submit to her authority.
then He added I will give you more descendants than you can count.
and the angel also said you are pregnant and will give birth to a son.
you are to name him Ishmael which means God hears for God has heard your cry of distress.
this son of yours will be a wild man as untamed as a wild donkey.
he will raise his fist against everyone and everyone will be against him.
yes he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.
thereafter hagar used another name to refer to the Lord who had spoken to her.
she said you are the God who sees me.
she also said have I truly seen the One who sees me?
so that well was named beer lahai roi which means well of the living one who sees me.
it can still be found between Kadesh and bered.
so hagar gave abram a son and abram named him Ishmael.
abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.
sarai’s choosing to use her servant to have children with abram was her desperation and hopelessness talking.
she should have ignored that voice of despair and instead just trusted God.
I know the saying is true happy wife happy life but this is one time when abram shouldn’t have listened to his wife.
he should have just trusted God that God would give them a kid if he even wanted them to have one and He did cos He had promised HIm in the previous chapter that He would give him as many descendants as there are stars in the sky and land in all directions of the compasses’ ability to point.
we do not know if abram was despairing over having sexual relations with someone other than his wife or if he jumped into it eagerly like a young teenage boy jumping into his first ride when he finally gets his license after much blood sweat and tears to reach that goal.
after ten years of waiting abram and sarai ran out of patience.
they did not yet possess the stamina of their ancestor noah and his wife who stood firm in faith waiting for the heavens to burst open and surround their boat with floodwaters instead of desert.
it was ok for hagar to take pride in the fact that she had a child but she should not have acted as if she was superior to sarai not just because sarai was her boss but because no one should lord it over another as if they are inferior to them.
in her view hagar went from being a nobody to being somebody special.
she felt she had gone from being bottom of the food chain to top dog.
she probably thought sarai would have no future without her help.
at that point in time she was abram’s only hope for a physical legacy at least based on what could be visibly seen but we know our God was moving invisibly behind the scenes to fulfil His promise.
it is significant to mention that hagar came from Egypt not Saudi arabia.
this means Egyptians have a part in the blessing of the Lord coming down to them through God’s selection of Ishmael, choosing to bless their nation through him and his offspring.
perhaps this blessing was God’s way to repay the wrong done by Abraham to the people of Egypt by pretending his wife was his sister.
from that moment on the Egyptians and Israeli people were forever linked and connected even though they had many years generating separate cultures when Ishmael and Isaac went their separate ways cos of the choices of their parent and co parents.
in declaring she had put hagar in abram’s arms sarai admitted culpability and joint responsibility even though she attempted blame shifting in the same sentence.
it is true that abram could have exercised his divinely given authority as a husband over his wife and refused to sleep with their maidservant but he chose to cave in to his fleshly desires and take advantage of her vulnerability.
I don’t think abram was right to leave sarai to deal with hagar.
he had a responsibility as a parent of Ishmael to look after the woman who brought his first son into the world and treat both of them with respect.
you could also say however that it was God’s will that he should make that move of neglecting the responsibilities of fatherhood beyond the age of puberty ( in chapter 21 when Isaac is born and Ishmael and his mum hagar are forced to leave when he was aged 14).
you could say this happened so that Abraham was able to give all of his love from adolescence full to mature adulthood to Isaac.
yes Ishmael suffered from those years of bitterness and neglect as did his mother but God still used them to bring Him glory.
we will never know what was the straw that broke the camels back that made hagar want to run away from what was then known as her home away from home.
perhaps sarai beat her ruthlessly or yelled her head off at her.
all we know is she must have been pushed to breaking point to want to decamp and risk dying in the desert rather than spend another second in the presence of her mistress.
we do not know if hagar knew what she was getting herself into with abram but there is no record of her questioning what she was being asked to do with him.
I’m sure she was scared out of her wits though for all we know abram could have been a persuasive and soothing lover.
we know afterwards he treated her like a dogs breakfast after he had had his wicked way with her.
perhaps he openly expressed a greater desire for her than he did for sarai .
sex does create a bond of fondness between people.
maybe his heart was broken when she ran away and he secretly longed for her.
but we do not know that for sure so I will not be held guilty of adding to scripture just because my mind wants to jump aboard a jumbo jet and take a flight of fancy.
the fact that hagar talks about seeing God face to face after having a personal encounter with what is referred to as the angel of the Lord suggests that she met the preincarnate version of Jesus ( before He came in bodily form) .
if this was Jesus He would have known where she had come from and where she was going but He wanted to establish a personal connection with her and reach into her pain and replace it with HIs joy.
it would have been very hard for hagar to push herself to go back to her mistress.
she didn’t then know that she would be sent away again this time not temporary but permanently and she would not live to see her son’s father again for as long as she lived.
it is significant that Ishmael means God hears.
ishmallah doesn’t have that same meaning 🙂
God can hear you if you are talking to the wrong god or a false god that’s just an idol or a demon but He can only impart HIs nature into you if you are communicating back to Him and walking in obedience to HIs will .
Egypt has had a chequered history of peace accords and war mongering against Israel.
we have to recognise that the current government in charge of Egypt does not represent culturally or spiritually the true native Egyptians who are Christian copts and were there before the arabs came and stole their country.
we know the arabs came as a result of Abraham’s wife keturah.
when hagar says that God sees her the word or phrase used in Hebrew is El Roi – God who sees .
who knew the jetsons were so biblically based 🙂
its amazing to think that God granted hagar a blessing and privilege that He didn’t even spoil moses with.
moses only got to see God’s hindquarters.
hagar was honoured to see HIm face to face in a form that was only a drop in the ocean of the completeness of HIs glory.
may we all experience the heavy thick kabod glory of His presence.
and may it never be said of us Ichabod that His glory has departed from us ❤