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Genesis 16

Hagar and Ishmael

1 Abram's wife was Sarai. She did not have any children. She had a servant from Egypt. The servant's name was Hagar. 2 Sarai said to Abram, ‘The LORD has stopped me having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Her children will be mine.’ 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 been living in Canaan for 10 years. Sarai took Hagar. She gave Hagar to Abram to be his wife.

4 Abram had sex with Hagar. And Hagar became pregnant. Hagar knew that she was pregnant. Because of this, she would not respect Sarai.

16:4Sarai gave Hagar to Abram. ‘To be his wife’ means that Abram would have sex with Hagar. This is so that Abram could have a son. Sarai is still Abram's wife.

5 Sarai said to Abram, ‘It is because of you that this has happened. What Hagar is doing is wrong. I gave her to you. And now she is pregnant. So now she does not respect me. The LORD will say who is right, you or me.’ 6 Abram said to Sarai, ‘Do whatever you think is right. Do what you want to do with Hagar.’ Then Sarai did bad things to Hagar. So Hagar ran away.

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. Respect here means this. Hagar knows that Sarai has authority over her. She knows that Sarai is her mistress. She should show that she knows this.

7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar. She was by some water in the land of dry sand. The water was by the road to Shur. 8 The angel said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from? Where are you going?’ Hagar replied, ‘I am running away from Sarai. I am her servant.’

16:8The angel calls Hagar the servant of Sarai. He does not call Hagar ‘Abram's wife’. God's plan was for Abram and Sarai to have a son. But they would not wait for God to give them a son.
16:8Hagar replies to the angel. She says that she is Sarai's servant. She does not say that she is Abram's wife.

9 The angel of the LORD told Hagar, ‘Go back to Sarai. You are her servant. Do whatever she tells you to.’

10 The angel also said, ‘I will make the number of your descendants grow. They will be too many to count.’ 11 The angel of the LORD said,

‘You will have a child.

You will have a son.

You must name him Ishmael.

Because the LORD has heard how sad you are.

12 He will be a wild man.

He will be like a donkey.

He will fight against everyone.

And everyone will fight against him.

He will think that everyone is his enemy.

He will think that his brothers are his enemies.’

16:12Ishmael means ‘God hears’.
16:12Wild donkeys lived in the land of dry sand.

13 Hagar said to the LORD ‘You are the God who sees me.’ And she said ‘I have seen the One who sees me. And he has let me live.’ 14 That is why they called the well ‘Beer Lahai Roi’. The well is between Kadesh and Bered.

16:14‘Beer Lahai Roi’ means ‘well of the One who lives and has seen me’.
16:14Hagar came from Egypt. People in Egypt worshipped different gods. Now Hagar has spoken with the living God.

15 Some time passed. Hagar had a son. Abram was his father. Abram gave Hagar's son a name. The name of Hagar's son was Ishmael. 16 Abram was 86 years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.