Exit Parallel Mode
 

Genesis 16

16
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.

Genesis 16

16
Abram, Hagar, and Ishmael
1Abram's wife Sarai had not been able to have any children. But she owned a young Egyptian slave woman named Hagar, 2and Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has not given me any children. Sleep with my slave, and if she has a child, it will be mine.”#16.2 Sleep…mine: It was the custom for a wife who could not have children to let her husband sleep with one of her slave women. The children of the slave would belong to the wife. Abram agreed, 3and Sarai gave him Hagar to be his wife. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan for ten years. 4Later, when Hagar knew she was going to have a baby, she became proud and was hateful to Sarai.
5Then Sarai said to Abram, “It's all your fault!#16.5 It's…fault: Or “I hope you'll be punished for what you did to me!” I gave you my slave woman, but she has been hateful to me ever since she found out she was pregnant. You have done me wrong, and you will have to answer to the LORD for this.”
6Abram said, “All right! She's your slave, and you can do whatever you want with her.” But Sarai began treating Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
7Hagar stopped to rest at a spring in the desert on the road to Shur. While she was there, the angel of the LORD came to her 8and asked, “Hagar, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
She answered, “I'm running away from Sarai, my owner.”
9The angel said, “Go back to Sarai and be her slave. 10-11I will give you a son, who will be called Ishmael,#16.10,11 Ishmael: In Hebrew “Ishmael” sounds like “God hears”. because I have heard your cry for help. And later I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all. 12But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him.”
13Hagar thought, “Have I really seen God and lived to tell about it?”#16.13 Have…it: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. So from then on she called him, “The God who Sees Me”.#16.13 The God who Sees Me: Or “The God I have Seen”. 14That's why people call the well between Kadesh and Bered, “The Well of the Living One who Sees Me”.#16.14 The Well…Me: Or “Beer-Lahai-Roi” (see 25.11).
15-16Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to their son, and he named him Ishmael.#Ga 4.22.