Hagar and Ishmael, 1-16

Gen 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar;

Hagar – The name is Semitic, not Egyptian, and was possibly given to her by Abraham after she left Egypt.

Gen 16:2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

When Sarah realised that she was barren, she gave her maidservant to Abraham so that the family line could be continued through her.  An example of this ancient custom has been discovered in the Nuzi tablets.

Gen 16:3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.

Gen 16:4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.

Gen 16:5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.”

Gen 16:6 “Your servant is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai ill-treated Hagar; so she fled from her.

Gen 16:7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.

Gen 16:8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

Gen 16:9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”

Gen 16:10 The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.”

Gen 16:11 The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.

Gen 16:12 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 towards all his brothers.”

Gen 16:13 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.”

This is ‘is an expression of thankful amazement that God cares for people in the most unexpected situations (cf. Ps. 139:1–12).’ (Steinmann)

‘In Scripture when God sees, he cares (cf. Gen 29:32; Exod 3:7).’ (Wenham)

Gen 16:14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

Gen 16:15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.

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