Abram and Sarai still had no children, but in the last chapter God promised Abram that he would have many descendants. Sarai decides it is her fault, so she tells Abram that he has her permission to marry and have children with Hagar, Sarai’s maidservant. Hagar quickly became pregnant, and started to look down on Sarai. Sarai become very unhappy with the situation, and brings it up with Abram, who tells her to do what she sees fit. So Sarai abuses Hagar until Hagar runs away. Luckily, an angel finds and stops Hagar.
The angel tells Hagar to return to Sarai and to “submit to her authority.” The angel then tells Hagar that he will make her descendants too numerous to count. The angel also tells her to name her son Ishmael, that he will be “a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone’s against him; alongside all his kindred shall he encamp” (Genesis 16:12). Hagar returned and bore Abram and named him Ishmael.
The footnotes say that it was common practice at the time for a wife to find a concubines to bear her husband children if she does not within two years. That part of the story is ok for it’s time, however, it really doesn’t seem relevant for today’s women. This story seems to be focusing in on Sarai’s attempt to circumvent God’s plan of giving Abram a nation of descendants, however, shouldn’t God have been aware of the cultural practices at the time and been a bit more specific with Abram about from whom his children were to come from? Or was this also part of God’s plan, for Abram’s children to have an asshole step-brother living next door to fight with?
The footnotes also say that this chapter is about God intervening and taking the side of Hagar, because she has no other resources. This sounds nice on the surface, but God does not really intervene to make her life better, he tells her to go back home, where Sarai was making her life miserable. He then tells her to submit to Sarai’s authority. Basically, God tells her to know her place. If God really wanted to help Hagar, could he have not given her good fortune in a new place to live, blessed her life?
Last question: is trying to speed up God’s plan and having bad things happen because of it part of God’s plan?
Lessons I Learned:
- As wicked as man is, God sure likes to make more wicked men.
- God supports the abuse of servants.