0 SAB Genesis 16

Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. 16:6

Trivia: How old was Ishmael when he was circumcised?



Abraham impregnates Sarah's slave, Hagar

1Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

Sarah, Abraham's wife, couldn't have children [1]. But she had a female slave named Hagar.

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.

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.

Sarah said to Abraham,

God has prevented me from having children.

Go have sex with Hagar, so I can have children through her.

Abraham did as Sarah suggested and had sex with Hagar.

4And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

Hagar conceived. And when she realized that she was pregnant, she despised Sarah. [2]

Sarah forces Hagar to leave

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.

Sarah said to Abraham,

It's your fault. I let you have sex with my slave. Then when she conceived, she despised me.

Let God decide which of us is right.

6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

Abraham said to Sarah,

Your slave is in your hand. Do whatever you want with her.

And when Sarah treated her harshly, Hagar ran away.

God sends an angel to retrieve Hagar

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.

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.

After Hagar ran away from Sarah, an angel found her by a fountain.

The angel said to her, "Where did you come from, Hagar? And where are you going?"

Hagar said, "I am running away from my mistress, Sarah."

9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

The angel said,

Return to you mistress and submit to her. [3]

I'll multiply your seed exceedingly. No one will be able to count all the seeds you're going to have.

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.

You are pregnant and will have a son. His name will be Ishmael.

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.

He will be a wild man. He will fight against everyone, and everyone will fight against him.

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?

14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

Hagar gives birth to a son, Ishmael

15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.

Hagar bare Abram a son, Ishmael. [4]

16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born. [5]

VegetableEMPEROR3 months ago

Infertile Sarai concocts an idea to gain a child through surrogacy with Hagar. It's not clear in the writing whether Sarai informed Hagar as to why she was being given to Abram for sex, but given Hagar's reaction to finding out she is pregnant, it would suggest that Sarai didn't tell Hagar she was meant to be a surrogate. She would have no reason to be mad at discovering her pregnancy if that was the stated plan all along.

It's also not clear whether Hagar was even okay being with Abram at all. This supports the idea that Hagar, the "handmaid", was just another slave in the book to submit to their owner's wishes, no matter how awful they may be.

This could have been avoided by our perfect omniscient god character simply granting Sarai the ability to bear children, but that wouldn't make for a very positive story, would it?

"Sarai, Abram's infertile wife, wishes to bear children, so she prays every night before her slumber that God may give her a child of her own. God answers the prayer, sprinkles holy dust on Sarai's loins, and instructs her to make love to her committed husband. Sarai discovers she's pregnant. The end." No need for slaves, no need for surrogacy, no need for rape or defilement, no need for surprise pregnancies, or intervening angels sending "handmaids" back to their mistresses. Just a decent story of a sad woman getting something nice for a change. CAN'T HAVE THAT, NOW CAN WE?!?


Copyright © 1999-2024
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible

Send comments to Steve Wells
at swwells(at)gmail.com