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Genesis 16

Hagar and Ishmael
1Now Sarai had borne no children for Abram. She had an Egyptian slave girl named Hagar, # 16:1 There is a Jewish tradition that Hagar was the daughter of Pharaoh, who after seeing the miracles that accompanied Abram and Sarai, gave the Egyptian princess to be Abram’s servant (Midrash by Rashi). Hagar can be translated “ensnaring.” It is also related to the word for “stranger.” In Arabic, it could mean “fugitive.” 2so Sarai said to Abram, “Please listen. Since Yahweh has kept me childless, go sleep with my maidservant. Perhaps through her I can build # 16:2 That is, give Abram a son. This is an obvious wordplay in Hebrew. The words for “build” (baneh) and “son” (ben) are quite similar. you a family.” Abram listened and did what Sarai asked.
3Abram had already lived ten years in the land of Canaan when his wife Sarai took her Egyptian slave girl Hagar and gave her to Abram to be his second wife. 4He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. Once Hagar realized she was pregnant, she belittled Sarai and despised her. 5So Sarai went to Abram and said, “It’s totally your fault that Hagar despises me—and you’re not standing up for me! # 16:5 In the honor/shame culture of the ancient Near East, barrenness was a disgrace. The shame that Hagar heaped on Sarai was culturally and emotionally more than she could bear. I gave my slave girl to your embrace, and when she found out she was pregnant, she despised me. May Yahweh judge between us who is in the right!”
6Abram responded, “She’s your slave girl under your authority, so do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai cruelly mistreated Hagar, who then ran away from her.
7The angel of Yahweh # 16:7 This is likely a preincarnate appearance of Christ (called a Christophany), for the angel is called “Yahweh” in v. 13. “The angel of Yahweh” refers to an appearance of Yahweh in human form. This is the first mention of an angel in Scripture. encountered Hagar by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. # 16:7 Shur means “wall” and is identified with a wilderness near the Egyptian-Israeli border. 8He asked her, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and what are you doing here?”
She replied, “I’m running away from Sarai, my mistress.”
9The angel of Yahweh told her, “You have to go back to your mistress and humbly submit to her.” 10The angel added, “I will greatly multiply your descendants until no one can count them.” # 16:10 Only God could multiply Hagar’s descendants. We see the kindness of God revealed by his promise to Hagar. God is the guardian of the weak and the suffering. See Rom. 2:4; Heb. 4:15.
11Yahweh’s angel continued, “You are now pregnant, and soon you will give birth to a son. You will name him Ishmael, # 16:11 Ishmael means “God hears” or “May God hear!” for Yahweh has heard your cries of distress. 12Your son will have a wild nature that no one can tame. # 16:12 Or “He will be a wild donkey of a man.” This was not necessarily a crude insult, but a figure of speech indicating that Ishmael would live a solitary existence. Like a wild donkey left in the desert, he would be wild and untamed. This is the “beastly” nature of fallen man, the wild Adam, the flesh. He will be hostile toward everyone, and everyone will be hostile toward him; and he will live at odds with all his kinsmen.”
13After her encounter with Yahweh, Hagar called him by a special name, “You are the God of My Seeing,” # 16:13 Or “You are the God who sees me” or “You are the God whom I See.” This encounter at the well reminds us of a later time when Jesus would journey to a well to meet a woman who had a history of running from God. At this well of Jacob, the Living One again saw into the heart of a woman and spoke mercy to her. At Jesus’ encounter with the woman at Jacob’s well, God saw into her heart, and she saw into God’s. See John 4:1–30. for she said, “Oh my, did I just see God and live to talk about it?” # 16:13 Or “Have I not gone on seeing after he saw me?” The exact meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. 14That is why the well is called Spring of the Living One Who Watches Over Me. # 16:14 Or “Beer-Lahai-Roi.” The Hebrew word for “spring” has a homophone that can be translated “eye.” The well is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. # 16:14 Kadesh means “sacred”; Bered means “hail.” A place known as “Little Petra” appears on maps today as Siq al-Barid. It lies about four miles north of Petra and is situated in a short canyon. About halfway between Ein Kadesh (also known as Ein Musa) and Siq al-Barid are the ruins of a small Turkish village named Chai, and its spring is called Ein el-Chai. This site seems to match the description of Beer-Lahai-Roi with its spring-fed well. 15Hagar returned and bore Abram a son, whom Abram named Ishmael. 16Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.

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