Hagar - Genesis 16


Genesis 16:1-16

Sarai was Abram's faithful wife.  She stuck with him through trying times, and also struck it rich with him in livestock, in silver, and in gold.  Genesis 13:2.  Three hundred and eighteen servants had been born in their house.  Genesis 14:14.  But Sarai had a depressing problem.  "Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children."  Genesis 16:1.  Barrenness was a heavy burden that many women in the Bible carried.

Sarai placed the blame for her barrenness on the Lord, saying to her husband, "The Lord has restrained me from bearing children."  However, she had a wrong solution to her problem.  She said to Abram, "Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her."  Genesis 16:2.  Children of concubines were often considered children of the wife.  See Genesis 30:1-6.

Hagar, an Egyptian slave, was Sarai's maid.  At Sarai's insistence Abram went in to her, and she conceived.  Sarai's depression became more intense, as she became despised by Hagar.  It was more than she could bear.  With Abram's approval she mistreated Hagar, causing her bondwoman to run away.  Sarai was glad to get rid of her.

Poor pregnant Hagar!  All alone she walked in the wilderness heading back to Egypt.  Thirsty and tired and desperate, she rested at a spring of water.  And we read, "Now the Angel of the Lord found her...."  Nobody else was looking for her.  (The Angel of the Lord was the Lord Himself.)  Calling her by name, He questioned her, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?"  He understood her situation.  She replied, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai."  Genesis 16:7, 8.

"The Angel of the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand."  God knows what is best for us.  With His compassionate word of much needed direction, He added a promise, saying, "Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son.  You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction...."  He added that her son would be a wild man, a fighter. 

The name Ishmael literally means "God hears."  The Lord had heard the sad cries of this lowly Egyptian slave, who had suffered at the hands of her mistress, Sarai.  "Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees...."  Hagar gave the Lord a name, which in Hebrew is El Roi, the God who sees.  She added a question, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?"  Genesis 16:13.

Ishmael means "God hears."  El Roi means "God sees."  Finally, the well at the deserted place where the Lord found Hagar and she found God is called "Beer Lahai Roi," which means "the Well of the One Who Lives and Sees Me."  Genesis 16:14. 

Hagar, the Egyptian slave, met Someone who heard her cry, sought her out, and literally turned her life around.  She returned to Sarai as the Lord said, and she gave birth to a son, "God hears."


El Roi, nothing is hidden from Your eyes.  Thank You that You hear our prayers, and understand our needs.  Open our eyes that we might see and recognize You at work in our lives.  In Jesus' name. Amen!


Remember Lot - Genesis 19



All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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