NOTE: Up until now, I’ve been posting once a week. This worked well while I was working, and I had some concerns about my productivity with a baby around. But I’ve been accumulating so many scheduled posts that I’ve decided to try posting something twice a week. From now on, I’ll be putting something up every Tuesday and Friday. Enjoy!
Sarai is barren (of course – it’s impossible that the infertility might reside with the male), so she decides to give Hagar, her Egyptian maid, to Abram “that I shall obtain children by her” (Gen. 16:2). Abram agrees and takes Hagar “as a wife” (Gen. 16:3). Once again, polygamy is presented matter-of-factly, clearly a reality in the milieu, and not condemned.
Abram “went in to Hagar” (Gen. 16:4) (phoo! That’s explicit!) and she conceives. As soon as she realizes that she’s pregnant, she starts getting all uppity (those slaves, amiright?) and Sarai complains to Abram. Abram reminds her that “your maid is in your power; do to her as you please” (Gen. 16:6), so Sarai “dealt harshly with her” and Hagar runs away.
An angel of the Lord finds her in the wilderness and tells her to “return to your mistress, and submit to her” (Gen. 16:9). Hear that? If you’re being abused, you should go back to your abuser and submit to them. Awesome.
Hagar gets the same promise as Abram, that she will have many descendants. The angel tells her that she’s pregnant with a son and must name him Ishmael. He will be a “wild ass of a man” (Gen. 16:12), which my study bible says refers to a nomadic lifestyle and not an attitude problem.
Hagar says: “Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?” (Gen. 16:13). A bit confusing since we were explicitly told that she was speaking with an “angel of the Lord” (Gen. 16:7), not with God himself…
She returns to Sarai and gives birth to Ishmael. Abram is now 86-years-old.