A Daily Genesis

Genesis 16:4-8

Rate this Entry
[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:4 . . He cohabited with Hagar and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became lower in her esteem.[/B]

Before this incident, Hagar knew her place and was humble and self effacing around Sarai, but afterwards she regarded her mistress as somewhat less of a woman than herself. There's no record of Hagar gloating over Sarai, but sometimes women communicate just as effectively with "looks" as they do with words.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:5 . . And Sarai said to Abram: The wrong done me is your fault! I myself put my maid in your bosom; and now that she sees that she is expecting, I am lowered in her esteem. The Lord decide between you and me![/B]

Sarai attempted to take the high moral ground by insinuating that had Abram been a real man, he would've seen that sleeping with Hagar was a bad idea and refused. Therefore it was his fault for not putting a stop to her idea before things got out of hand.

People accuse God of the very same thing all the time. In their mind's eye, if God were really as wise, loving, omniscient, and all-powerful as He's alleged to be, then He would never have put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden to begin with; and when the Serpent tempted Eve, He would have stepped in and put a stop to it before things got out of hand. Therefore, they conclude, it's not the human race's fault for being what it is: it's God's fault for not protecting us from our own stupidity.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:6a . . Abram said to Sarai: Your maid is in your hands. Deal with her as you think right.[/B]

Abram should never have given Sarai carte blanche to do as she pleased with Hagar. In her mood, it would surely get out of hand and go too far. But he was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Abram had to live with Sarai. He could get by without Hagar's good will; so hers was sacrificed to keep peace in the home.

Most men would do the very same thing in his place because it isn't easy for a man to live with an indignant woman. In point of fact, I would put an indignant woman even higher on the graph of difficulty than a weeping woman.

Note that Abram didn't refer to Hagar as "my wife"; nor even as "my concubine". He referred to her as "your maid". It's sad, but obvious that Abram was ashamed of himself for sleeping with Hagar just to make his wife happy; and took care to distance himself from Sarai's maid so she wouldn't get any ideas that Abram had an attachment for her.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:6b-7 . .Then Sarai treated her harshly, and she [Hagar] ran away from her. An angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur,[/B]

Old Testament angels aren't necessarily celestial beings; seeing as how the Hebrew word simply indicates a messenger; viz: someone who speaks and/or acts for another.

The road to Shur went south from Abram's camp; so possibly Hagar's intent was to return home to Egypt. At this point, she was a runaway slave and must have been feeling very lonely, very unimportant, and very unsure of her future. No one cared for her soul, whether she lived or died-- and, where was she to go? Maybe her parents would take her back in when she got home. But how was she to explain the baby?

Genesis doesn't say, but Hagar could have hitch-hiked a ride with a caravan. It's hard to believe a woman in that day would dare attempt a journey that far on foot, and all by herself.

Shur is the name of a desert region east of the Suez Canal and extending down along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez. Shur means "wall" and may refer to the mountain wall of the Tih plateau as visible from the shore plains.

The position of Shur is defined as being "opposite Egypt on the way to Assyria" (Gen 25:18). After crossing the Red Sea, the people of Israel entered the desert of Shur (Ex 15:22) which extended southward a distance of three days' journey. The region is referred as being close, or adjacent, to Egypt. (1Sam 15:7 and 1Sam 27:8)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:8a . . the angel said: Hagar, slave of Sarai,[/B]

It should be pointed out that the angel didn't refer to Hagar as Abram's wife; but as Sarai's slave-- additional clues that Hagar and Abram were never married otherwise her status would be that of Abram's spouse rather than Sarai's slave.

This meeting is strikingly similar to the New Testament's encounter between Christ and a female inhabitant of Samaria in the Gospel of John. In both cases, the women were lone, unmarried Gentile women, both cases took place at a source of water, both occurred along a major north/south road through Palestine. Both meetings were private, and In both cases, the messengers knew some pretty intimate things about the women with whom they spoke.

This is the very first instance in the Bible record where somebody addressed Ms. Hagar by name. What I like best is that although her human masters aren't recorded calling her by name, a messenger of God-- higher in dignity and rank than either Abram and Sarai --did call out to her by her own name.
†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:8b . . where have you come from, and where are you going?[/B]

At first the angel probably impressed Hagar as just another friendly traveler. But there was something very unusual about this mysterious stranger. He knew Hagar's name, and he knew she was a slave; and he knew her mistress' name too. And he also knew Ms. Hagar was preggers. That had to break the ice quite nicely don't you think?
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:8c . . And she said: I am running away from my mistress Sarai.[/B]

Somehow the angel won Ms. Hagar's confidence, and she was comfortable talking about herself. There's a very real possibility that the angel was the first person to take a genuine interest in Hagar's feelings for a long, long time.

In my 71+ years journeying through this life, I've discovered there are lots of people out there aching for someone to take them seriously. They don't like being marginalized; they don't like being made to feel unimportant, inferior, unnecessary, expendable, mediocre, and stupid-- they want to count; they want to matter, they want to be noticed and they want to be heard.

I've no doubt that is the very reason behind the success of social networking; e.g. blogs, twittering, online forums, FaceBook, MySpace, and Instagram et al.

One of the four common characteristics of seemingly level-headed Muslim men who become suicide bombers is the wish to devote themselves to a cause higher than themselves; viz: they desire to make their lives count for something. Those kinds of personalities are good candidates for martyrdom.

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags