GENESIS CHAPTER 16

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic which limits the observer to the content offered by the book of Genesis. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

I) [Gen 16:1-3]:

(v. 16:1 NKJV) "Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.

(v. 16:2 NKJV) So Sarai said to Abram, 'See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.' And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

(v. 16:3 NKJV) Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan."

A) AFTER ABRAM HAD LIVED IN THE PROMISED LAND FOR TEN YEARS, HIS WIFE SARAI, IN FAITHLESSNESS, BLAMED THE LORD FOR HER CHILDLESS CONDITION AND AS WAS THE CUSTOM OF THE TIME, SHE PERSUADED ABRAM TO TAKE HER EGYPTIAN SLAVE SERVANT HAGAR AS HIS WIFE AS A SUBSTITUTE CHILD BEARER FOR SARAI. THIS CONTRADICTED GOD'S COVENANT WITH ABRAM, CAUSED MORE PROBLEMS IN ABRAM'S HOUSEHOLD AND JEOPARDIZED THE COVENANT

(v. 16:1 NKJV) "Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. (v. 16:2 NKJV) So Sarai said to Abram, 'See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.' And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. (v. 16:3 NKJV) Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan." =

Up to this time, Sarai, Abram's wife had borne Abram no children. She blamed the LORD for restraining her from bearing children, reflecting a lack of belief in His veracity and sovereignty and covenant promise to Abram. As was the custom of the time, she persuaded Abram to provide a child for her by giving Abram her Egyptian maid servant Hagar to take as his wife. This was contrary to what the LORD had promised to Abram.

[The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Walvoord and Zuck, Eds., Victor Books, USA, 1988, p. 56]:

"In the legal custom of that day a barren woman could give her maid to her husband as a wife, and the child born of that union was regarded as the first wife's child. If the husband said to the slave-wife's son, 'You are my son.' then he was the adopted son and heir. So Sarai's suggestion was unobjectionable according to the customs of that time."

So Abram heeded the voice of Sarai instead of the LORD's, and once more caused havoc in his household and jeopardized the LORD's covenant with Abram and his descendants through Sarai to inherit the promised land. Verse 3 stipulates that by this time Abram had been in Canaan for ten years, indicating Abram's growing trust in the LORD relative to His promises - until Sarai stepped in with her faithless proposal to use Hagar as a substitute child bearer.

II) [Gen 16:4-6]:

(v. 16:4 NKJV) "He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.

(v. 16:5 NKJV) Then Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.'

(v. 16:6 NKJV) 'Your servant is in your hands,' Abram said. 'Do with her whatever you think best.' Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her."

A) ABRAM TOOK HAGAR AS HIS WIFE AS SARAI SUGGESTED AND WHEN HAGAR CONCEIVED SHE BEGAN TO OPENLY DESPISE SARAI HER MISTRESS KNOWING THAT THE CHILD WOULD NOT BE HERS, BUT SARAI'S

(v. 16:1 NKJV) "Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. (v. 16:2 NKJV) So Sarai said to Abram, 'See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.' And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. (v. 16:3 NKJV) Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. (v. 16:4 NKJV) "He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress." =

Abram took Hagar as his second wife and slept with her as Sarai, his first wife insisted he do; and Hagar conceived. When Hagar conceived, she began to openly despise Sarai, her mistress and owner, evidently because Sarai's intention was to take possession of the child as Abram's son in order to have his inheritance bestowed upon him.

1) [Compare Gen 16:2 NKJV]:

"So Sarai said to Abram, 'See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.' And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai."

Sarai evidently remained barren and bitter. Her suggestion and Abram's compliance jeopardized the promise of the LORD for Abram to have children through his wife Sarai and not a substitute second wife.

B) ABRAM SLEPT WITH HAGAR AFTER MAKING HER HIS SECOND WIFE AND WHEN HAGAR KNEW SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH HIS CHILD WHO WOULD BE GIVEN TO ABRAM AND SARAI AS AN HEIR, HAGAR UNDERSTANDABLY BEGAN TO OPENLY DESPISE SARAI, WHEREUPON SARAI REACTED BY PLAYING THE VICTIM AND BLAMING ABRAM WHICH ABRAM THEN GAVE HER LATITUDE TO DO AS SHE WISHED RESULTING IN SUCH ABUSE THAT HAGAR FLED INTO THE WILDERNESS

(v. 16:1 NKJV) "Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. (v. 16:2 NKJV) So Sarai said to Abram, 'See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.' And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. (v. 16:3 NKJV) Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. (v. 16:4 NKJV) He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. (v. 16:5 NKJV) Then Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.' (v. 16:6 NKJV) 'Your servant is in your hands,' Abram said. 'Do with her whatever you think best.' Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her." =

There is no wonder why Hagar would despise Sarai, having already been enslaved to serve Sarai as a hand maiden, and then having been forced to marry Abram and have sexual intercourse with him to have children by Abram of whom Sarai claimed ownership for bestowal of Abram's inheritance as an heir. The hatred that Hagar openly expressed toward Sarai caused Sarai to view herself as the victim, declaring that she was being wronged and was suffering as a result! She even attempted to justify her position on the matter by invoking the judgment of the LORD, implying that He would favor her side. This implies that the LORD was now Sarai's LORD by her own admission but contaminated by her own self-centeredness and lack of faith. Abram complied to Sarai's bitter complaint about Hagar by giving Sarai authority to do what she thought best. Notice Abram's unwillingness to deal with the issue in accordance with the will of the LORD. Whereupon, Sarai mistreated, (lit., repeatedly humiliated), Hagar so that she fled from Sarai into the wilderness toward her native land, Egypt.

Note that the Hebrew word rendered mistreated is in the Piel stem which expresses intensive, intentional and repeated action to humble, mishandle, afflict, humiliate.

III) [Gen 16:7-16]:

(v. 7 NKJV) Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.

(v. 8 NKJV) And He said, 'Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.'

(v. 9 NKJV) The Angel of the LORD said to her, 'Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.'

(v. 10 NKJV) Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, 'I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.'

(v. 11 NKJV) And the Angel of the LORD said to her: 'Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction.

(v. 12 NIV) He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in histility toward all his brother.'

(v. 13 NKJV) Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, 'Have I also here seen Him who sees me?'

(v. 14 NKJV) Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

(v. 15 NKJV) So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.

(v. 16 NKJV) Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram."

A) THE ANGEL OF THE LORD, GOD'S UNIQUE MESSENGER / AGENT MADE HIMSELF AS HUMAN AND SPOKE WITH HAGAR AT A SPRING OF WATER AT SHUR ON HER WAY BACK TO HER NATIVE EGYPT

(v. 16:4 NKJV) "He [Abram] slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. (v. 16:5 NKJV) Then Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.' (v. 16:6 NKJV) 'Your servant is in your hands,' Abram said. 'Do with her whatever you think best.' Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. (v. 7 NKJV) Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur." =

After Hagar had fled from the presence of Sarai, the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness on the way to Shur, which is an ancient village on the border of Egypt, (cf. Gen 25:18). Evidently Hagar was on the way to return to her native land of Egypt. The first time apearance in Scripture of the phrase "mal'akh yehwAh" rendered "the Angel of the LORD" in the NKJV, 'Angel' meaning messenger, refers to the particular and unique Messenger of the LORD - (notice the definite article "the"), who appears in human form and speaks with Hagar. In consideration of the context, especially Hagar's response to the Angel of the LORD, we can conclude that He took on human form and interacted with Hagar normatively as a human being. The context provides nothing to the contrary of a normal interaction between two human beings. In verse 16:10, the Angel of the LORD declares to have a capacity reserved for God Himself: to increase Hagar's physical descendants; hence the Angel of the LORD is God Who appears and speaks to Hagar in human form, the preogative of God the Son, Jesus Christ, in a preincarnate appearance.

B) THE ANGEL OF THE LORD CALLS HAGAR BY NAME AND REFERS TO HER POSITION AS A FEMALE SLAVE, BUT DOES NOT MAKE AN ISSUE OF HER ENSLAVEMENT. LATER HE TELLS HER TO GO BACK IN SUBMISSION TO SARAI. HAGAR'S RESPONSE IS HONEST AND OBEDIENT

(v. 16:4 NKJV) "He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. (v. 16:5 NKJV) Then Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.' (v. 16:6 NKJV) 'Your servant is in your hands,' Abram said. 'Do with her whatever you think best.' Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. (v. 7 NKJV) "Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. (v. 8 NKJV) And He said, 'Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.' " =

The Angel of the LORD in human form entered into a conversation with Hagar beginning with addressing her by name and position: "[The Angel of the LORD said] 'Hagar, Sarai's maid...' [Hebrew, "shiphchath Sarai," lit., "female slave of Sarai"]. Notice that the Angel of the LORD addresses Hagar personally and includes a designation of her position as female slave without commenting on the institution of slavery. Whereupon He asked her, "Where have you come from and where are you going."

Certainly the Angel of the LORD already knew the answers to those questions, hence we may conclude that the intent of the questions was to gain her attention and focus it on the reality of her circumstances, especially relative to the survival of herself and the child she was carrying currently by a spring in the wilderness.

Hagar's answer, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress, Sarai," reflects an honesty which directly answers the Angel of the LORD's questions and affirms a conversation in which the LORD Himself is directly observed and represented in a real time experience through the Angel of the LORD.

C) THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SAID TO HAGAR TO RETURN TO SARAI'S AUTHORITY AND THEN SAID THAT HAGAR'S DESCENDANTS WILL SO MULTIPLY THAT THE NUMBER WILL NOT BE COUNTABLE DEMONSTRATING THE OMNISCIENCE OF GOD

(v. 16:4 NKJV) "He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. (v. 16:5 NKJV) Then Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.' (v. 16:6 NKJV) 'Your servant is in your hands,' Abram said. 'Do with her whatever you think best.' Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. (v. 7 NKJV) "Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. (v. 8 NKJV) And He said, 'Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.' (v. 9 NKJV) The Angel of the LORD said to her, 'Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.' (v. 10 NKJV) Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, 'I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.' " =

(v. 10 HEBREW) "WayyO'mer lAhh ...mal'akh .yehwAh

..............................."and he said ..to her angel of ..Yahweh [LORD]

harbAh ........'arbeh ..............'eth-zar'Ekh welO

multiplying ..I will multiply your seed.......and not

yissAphEr .......................mErOv"

they will be counted for multitude"

The Angel of the LORD said to Hagar to return to her mistress and humble herself under, i.e., submit to her hand of authority and serve her again. The next verse (16:10), literally says "And He [the Angel of Yahweh = the LORD] said to her [Hagar, (vv. 8-9)] multiplying, I will multiply your seed which is to say with the repetition of the verb to multiply, I will greatly multiply your descendants, and [consequently] they will not be [able to be] counted as a multitude, i.e., their number will be so great that they will not be even able to count them as a multitude or large number. So the Angel of the LORD said to her, 'I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.' "

Notice that since only God has this capacity and can claim to multiply descendants, hence the Angel of the LORD is God.

D) THE ANGEL OF THE LORD DECLARES HAGAR IS WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON IMPLYING OMNISCIENCE HENCE DIETY. THEN HE TELLS HAGAR TO CALL HER SON ISHMAEL BECAUSE THE LORD HAS HEARD OF HER AFFLICTION, (THE NAME ISHMAEL MEANS GOD HEARS. FINALLY, THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SAYS THAT ISHMAEL WILL BE A WILD TEMPERMENTAL MAN WITH HIS HAND AGAINST EVERYONE AND WILL LIVE IN HOSTILITY TOWARD HIS BROTHERS

(v. 16:4 NKJV) "He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. (v. 16:5 NKJV) Then Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.' (v. 16:6 NKJV) 'Your servant is in your hands,' Abram said. 'Do with her whatever you think best.' Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. (v. 16:7 NKJV) "Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. (v. 16:8 NKJV) And He said, 'Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.' (v. 16:9 NKJV) The Angel of the LORD said to her, 'Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.' (v. 16:10 NKJV) Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, 'I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.' (v. 16:11 NKJV) And the Angel of the LORD said to her: 'Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. (v. 16:12 NIV) He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.'.' " =

The Angel of the LORD now addresses Hagar's condition of being "with child" and declares that she "shall bear a son," implying omniscience and corroborating that He indeed is God in human form - the preincarnate Son, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the Angel of the LORD tells Hagar to "call her infant son Ishmael because He said that the LORD has heard [of] your affliction. Note that the name Ishmael means "God hears" which refers to Hagar's affliction, i.e., dire circumstances and God hears it, i.e., knows and cares personally about her. On the other hand, the Angel of the LORD says that Ishmael will be a donkey of a man, i.e, a wild, tempermental man whereupon his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers."

E) HAGAR NAMES THE ANGEL OF THE LORD 'YOU- ARE- THE- GOD- WHO- SEES' DECLARING THAT HE IS GOD WHOM SHE HAS SEEN IN HUMAN FORM. THE WELL AT SHUR, IN THE DESERT BETWEEN KADESH AND BERED, WAS NAMED 'BEER LAHAI ROI', I.E., 'THE WELL OF A LIVING ONE MY SEER'

"(v. 16:4 NKJV) "He [Abram] slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. (v. 16:5 NKJV) Then Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.' (v. 16:6 NKJV) 'Your servant is in your hands,' Abram said. 'Do with her whatever you think best.' Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. (v. 16:7 NKJV) Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. (v. 16:8 NKJV) And He said, 'Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.' (v. 16:9 NKJV) The Angel of the LORD said to her, 'Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.' (v. 16:10 NKJV) Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, 'I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.' (v. 16:11 NKJV) And the Angel of the LORD said to her: 'Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. (v. 16:12 NIV) He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers. ' (v. 16:13 NKJV) Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, 'Have I also here seen Him who sees me?' (v. 16:14 NKJV) Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered." =

(v. 16:14 Hebrew)

Hagar addresses the Angel of the LORD, giving Him a name, 'You - Are - the - God - Who - Sees' because she declares that she has seen the LORD right in front of her eyes as the Angel of the LORD in human form who she implies is the God Who hears and looks out for her. So Hagar declares that the Angel of the LORD is the omniscient God and that she also has seen Him as He conversed with here, implying God in human form.

As a result of Hagar's encounter with the LORD, the name of the well near Shur was named "Beer Lahai Roi," (Heb. "BeEr lachay rO'î"), which comes from ''Er' meaning 'well' [of water], and 'chay' meaning 'alive' and 'rO'î'' meaning 'a seer,' i.e., a well of a living (One) my Seer. It's location is further remarked as between Kadesh and Bered. Kadesh, short for Kadesh Barnea is an area of desert springs located fifty miles southwest of Beersheba. Both Kadesh and Bered are located in the desert area south of Palestine.

[BKC, op. cit., p. 57]:

"Hagar's referring to God as 'the One who sees' after her, that is, looks out for her... God sees distress and affliction, and He hears. Sarai should have known this. Since God knew Sarai was barren, she should have cried out to the LORD. Instead she had to learn a lesson the hard way - from the experience of a despised slave-wife who, oronically, came back with a faith experience. How Abram must have been rebuked when Hagar said God told her to name her son Ishmael, 'God hears.' "

F) HAGAR BORE ABRAM, NOW EIGHTY-SIX, A SON WHOM HE NAMED ISHMAEL, MEANING 'GOD SEES' WHICH IRONICALLY POINTS TO GOD SEEING ABRAM AND SARAI WORK OUT A PROBLEM OF CHILDLESSNESS IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROMISE OF THE LORD

(v. 16:7 NKJV) Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. (v. 16:8 NKJV) And He said, 'Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.' (v. 16:9 NKJV) The Angel of the LORD said to her, 'Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.' (v. 16:10 NKJV) Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, 'I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.' (v. 16:11 NKJV) And the Angel of the LORD said to her: 'Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. (v. 16:12 NIV) He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brother.' (v. 16:13 NKJV) Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, 'Have I also here seen Him who sees me?' (v. 16:14 NKJV) Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered. (v. 16:15 NKJV) So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. (v. 16:16 NKJV) Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram." =

As the Angel of the LORD, Who Hagar designated as God, predicted, Hagar bore Abram a son whom Abram, now eighty-six, named Ishmael meaning 'God sees'. Ironically, the meaning of this name becomes magnified because God sees Abram and Sarai's unnecessary solution due to their impatience and lack of faith in the LORD's promise of Abram having a son to inherit the promises of God through Abram and Sarai.

Continue to Genesis chapter 17