Gen. 16:1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
Gen. 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
Gen. 16:3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
Gen. 16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
Gen. 16:5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
Chapter 16 brings Sarai more into the picture. She is upset because she still has no children of her own. So she offers her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar, to her husband as a means to building a family. (This was a custom of that time.) Abram agreed, slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. Hagar then must have taken every opportunity to “rub it in” to Sarai. Then Sarai turns around and blames her suffering on the actions of Abram and Hagar.
“The Lord judge between me and thee.” I’m not sure what Sarai meant by this statement. She knew it was her idea for Abram to sleep with Hagar for the purpose of starting a family. Maybe she was inferring that his was the greater sin—as the head of the household and knowing God’s promise—that he had agreed with her that they should implement their own plan for accomplishing God’s promise. (Oh how often I’ve insisted on doing it my way and then wished I could go back and be patient and wait for God.)
(9/06) This reminds me of God’s words to Adam when pronouncing the consequences of his sin—“because you listened to your wife” [and not to Me is implied.] Disobedience to and lack of faith in God always has consequences. Israel is still suffering those consequences today.
Gen. 16:6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
Neither Abram or Sarai showed wisdom or fairness here. Abram gives Sarai permission to deal with Hagar as she wishes. Then Sarai treats her so badly that she runs away. Abram refused to accept any responsibility for his actions. Both Sarai and Abram were wrong, and both tried to place total blame on the other. This is very typical of most of us regarding our sin.
Gen. 16:7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
Gen. 16:8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
Gen. 16:9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
Gen. 16:10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
Gen. 16:11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
Gen. 16:12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Gen. 16:13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?
Gen. 16:14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
“The angel of the Lord”(v7)—From the verses that follow, I believe that this is the Lord Himself because of His message and because Hagar recognized Him (v13). He questions Hagar and tells her to go back to her mistress and submit to her. Then the Lord makes her a promise and tells her what to name her child.
1) He will increase her descendants so they are too numerous to count.
2) She will have a son and should call him Ishmael (God hears).
3) He will be a wild man who will live in hostility toward all his brothers.
(6/07) Only the Lord could make these kinds of promises.
Again, God tells someone a little of the future. Although some of the promise is good, the other knowledge is a message of sadness--to know that your son would live a life at enmity with his brethren. Again, there are no questions, just acceptance and obedience. I always have questions. I guess I would react differently if I were facing God in person.
Beerlahairoi = the well of him that liveth and seeth me OR the well of the vision of life.
Gen. 16:15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
Gen. 16:16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
Hagar had a son—just as God had said. Abram called him Ishmael. (I can only assume that Hagar told Abram of her encounter with the Lord. Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.