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Genesis 16

16
Chapter 16
Sarai and Hagar
1Abram's wife, Sarai, had not given birth to any children. She had an Egyptian servant. The servant's name was Hagar. 2Sarai said to Abram, ‘The Lord has not let me have any children. Go and sleep with my servant. Then if she gives birth, her children will be my family.’ Abram agreed to do this. #16:2 Sarai wants Abram to have a son. God has told Abram that he will have many descendants. But neither Abram nor Sarai will wait for God to keep his promise.
3Abram had now been living in Canaan for 10 years. Sarai gave her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to him. She became like another wife for Abram.
4Abram had sex with Hagar and she became pregnant. When Hagar knew that she was pregnant, she no longer respected Sarai.
5Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘It is because of you that Hagar is now insulting me. I gave her to you so that you could have sex with her. Now she is pregnant and she does not respect me any more. The Lord will decide who is right, you or me.’
6Abram said to Sarai, ‘Hagar is your servant and you have authority over her. Do to her whatever you think is right.’ Then Sarai caused trouble for Hagar. So Hagar ran away from Sarai.
7The angel of the Lord found Hagar. She was by a stream of water in the desert. The stream was near the road to Shur. 8The angel said, ‘Sarai's servant, Hagar, where have you come from? Where are you going?’ Hagar replied, ‘I am running away from Sarai. I am her servant.’
9The angel of the LORD told Hagar, ‘Go back to Sarai. You are her servant and you must obey her.’
10The angel also said, ‘I will make the number of your descendants become very many. They will be too many for people to count.’
11The angel of the Lord said to Hagar,
‘Now you are pregnant and you will give birth to a son.
When you cried in pain, the Lord heard you,
so you must give your son the name “Ishmael”. #16:11 The name ‘Ishmael’ means ‘God hears’.
12Like a wild donkey, nobody will be able to rule him.
He will fight against everyone, and everyone will fight against him.
He will think that everyone is his enemy.
He will keep away from his brothers.’
13When Hagar heard what the angel said, she said to herself, ‘I have seen the God who sees me!’ So she called the Lord ‘The God who sees me.’ 14That is why they called the well in that place ‘Beer Lahai Roi’. #16:14 ‘Beer Lahai Roi’ means ‘Well of the living One who sees me’. Hagar came from Egypt. People in Egypt worshipped different gods. Now Hagar has met the living God. The well is between Kadesh and Bered.
15After some time Hagar gave birth to a son. Abram was his father. Abram gave his son the name ‘Ishmael’. 16Abram was 86 years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.
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Birth of Ishmael.#In the previous chapter Abraham was given a timetable of possession of the land, but nothing was said about when the child was to be born. In this chapter, Sarah takes matters into her own hands, for she has been childless ten years since the promise (cf. 12:4 with 16:16). The story is about the two women, Sarah the infertile mistress and Hagar the fertile slave; Abraham has only a single sentence. In the course of the story, God intervenes directly on the side of Hagar, for she is otherwise without resources. 1Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children. Now she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar.#Gn 11:30. 2Sarai said to Abram: “The Lord has kept me from bearing children. Have intercourse with my maid; perhaps I will have sons through her.” Abram obeyed Sarai.#The custom of an infertile wife providing her husband with a concubine to produce children is widely attested in ancient Near Eastern law; e.g., an Old Assyrian marriage contract states that the wife must provide her husband with a concubine if she does not bear children within two years. #Gn 21:8–9; Gal 4:22. 3Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant. As soon as Hagar knew she was pregnant, her mistress lost stature in her eyes.#Because barrenness was at that time normally blamed on the woman and regarded as a disgrace, it is not surprising that Hagar looks down on Sarah. Ancient Near Eastern legal practice addresses such cases of insolent slaves and allows disciplining of them. Prv 30:23 uses as an example of intolerable behavior “a maidservant when she ousts her mistress.” #1 Sm 1:6; Prv 30:23. 5#Gn 21:10–19. So Sarai said to Abram: “This outrage against me is your fault. I myself gave my maid to your embrace; but ever since she knew she was pregnant, I have lost stature in her eyes. May the Lord decide between you and me!” 6Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power. Do to her what you regard as right.” Sarai then mistreated her so much that Hagar ran away from her.
7The Lord’s angel#The Lord’s angel: a manifestation of God in human form; in v. 13 the messenger is identified with God. See note on Ex 3:2. found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur,#Ex 15:22. 8and he asked, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.” 9But the Lord’s angel told her: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her authority. 10I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the Lord’s angel, “that they will be too many to count.”#Gn 17:20; 21:13, 18; 25:12–18. 11Then the Lord’s angel said to her:
“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,#Ishmael: in Hebrew the name means “God has heard.” It is the same Hebrew verb that is translated “heeded” in the next clause. In other ancient Near Eastern texts, the name commemorated the divine answer to the parents’ prayer to have a child, but here it is broadened to mean that God has “heard” Hagar’s plight. In vv. 13–14, the verb “to see” is similarly broadened to describe God’s special care for those in need.
For the Lord has heeded your affliction.
12He shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
Alongside#Alongside: lit., “against the face of”; the same phrase is used of the lands of Ishmael’s descendants in 25:18. It can be translated “in opposition to” (Dt 21:16; Jb 1:11; 6:28; 21:31), but here more likely means that Ishmael’s settlement was near but not in the promised land. all his kindred
shall he encamp.”#Gn 21:20; 25:18.
13To the Lord who spoke to her she gave a name, saying, “You are God who sees me”;#God who sees me: Hebrew el-ro’i is multivalent, meaning either “God of seeing,” i.e., extends his protection to me, or “God sees,” which can imply seeing human suffering (29:32; Ex 2:25; Is 57:18; 58:3). It is probable that Hagar means to express both of these aspects. Remained alive: for the ancient notion that a person died on seeing God, see Gn 32:31; Ex 20:19; Dt 4:33; Jgs 13:22. she meant, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after he saw me?”#Gn 24:62. 14That is why the well is called Beer-lahai-roi.#Beer-lahai-roi: possible translations of the name of the well include: “spring of the living one who sees me”; “the well of the living sight”; or “the one who sees me lives.” See note on v. 13. It is between Kadesh and Bered.
15Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.#Gn 16:2; Gal 4:22. 16Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.