Genesis 16

Hagar and Ishmael

1 Abram's wife, Sarai, did not have any children. She had an Egyptian servant. The servant's name was Hagar. 2 Sarai 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.

16:2Sarai 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.

3 Abram had now been living in Canaan for 10 years. Sarai gave her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to him. She became like another wife for Abram.

4 Abram had sex with Hagar and she became pregnant. When Hagar knew that she was pregnant, she no longer respected Sarai.

5 Then 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.’

6 Abram 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.

16:6Abram and Sarai went against God. They would not wait for God to give them a son. Hagar is pregnant. But Abram and Sarai are quarrelling. Abram is the family leader. He should have told Hagar to respect Sarai. Hagar knows that Sarai is her mistress. She should show that she knows this.

7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar. She was by a stream of water in the desert. The stream was near the road to Shur. 8 The 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.’

9 The angel of the Lord told Hagar, ‘Go back to Sarai. You are her servant and you must obey her.’

10 The angel also said, ‘I will make the number of your descendants become very many. They will be too many for people to count.’

11 The angel of the Lord said to Hagar,

‘Now you are pregnant and you will give birth to a son.

The Lord has heard your sad crying,

so you must give your son the name “Ishmael”.

16:11The name ‘Ishmael’ means ‘God hears’.

12 Like 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.’

13 When 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.’ 14 That is why they called the well in that place ‘Beer Lahai Roi’. The well is between Kadesh and Bered.

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.

15 After some time Hagar gave birth to a son. Abram was his father. Abram gave his son the name ‘Ishmael’. 16 Abram was 86 years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.