1 "Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an
Egyptian, whose name was Hagar." Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children
(literally, bare not to him, notwithstanding the promise; the barrenness of Sarai being
introduced as the point of departure for the ensuing narrative, and emphasized as the
cause or occasion of the subsequent transaction): and she had - literally, to her
(there was) - an handmaid, an Egyptian (obtained probably while in the house
of Pharaoh (ch. 12:16) - whose name was Hagar - "flight," from hagar, to flee.
compare Hegirah, the flight of Mahomet. Not her original designation, but given
to her afterwards, either because
of her flight from
or because of her escape from her mistress (Michaelis, Bush, 'Speaker's Commentary').
Though not the imaginary or mythical (Bohlen), it is doubtful if she was the real
(Ainsworth, Bush), ancestor of the Hagarenes (I Chronicles 5:10, 19-20; 27:31;
Psalm 83:6, 8).
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." And Sarai said
unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained us from bearing. Literally,
hath shut me up (i.e. my womb, ch. 20:18; συνέκλεισέ με - sunekleise me - restrained
me - Septugint) from bearing. Her advancing age was rendering this every day more
and more apparent. I pray thee go in unto my maid (ch. 30:3, 9). It is so far satisfactory
that the proposal to make a secondary wife of Hagar did not originate with Abram;
though, as Sarai's guilt in making it cannot altogether. be excused, so neither can
Abram be entirely freed from fault in yielding to her solicitations. It may be that
I may obtain children by her. Literally, be built up by her; from banah, to build,
whence ben, a son (Deuteronomy 25:9; Ruth 4:11). Calvin notes that Sarai's desire
of offspring was not prompted by natural impulse, but by the zeal of faith which
made her wish to secure the promised benediction. As yet it had not been clearly
intimated that Sarai was to be the mother of Abram's child; and hence her recourse
to what was a prevalent practice of the times, while unjustifiable in itself, was a
signal proof of her humility, of her devotion to her husband, and perhaps also of
her faith in God. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. "The faith of both
was defective; not indeed with regard to the substance of the premise, but with
regard to the method in which they proceeded" (Calvin).
3 "And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram
had dwelt ten years in the
to be his wife." And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after
Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan (i.e. in his eighty-fifth, and her
seventy-fifth year; a note of time introduced, probably, to account for their impatience
in waiting for the promised seed), and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
Afterwards styled a pilgash or concubine (ch. 25:6), she is here improperly called a
wife quae praeter Dei legem is alienum thorum inducitur (Calvin), from whom the
pilgash or concubine differed:
(1) in power over the family, which belonged solely to the true wife, not to the
(2) in the manner of espousal, which in the case of the former was accompanied
with solemn rites of espousal and liberal gifts of dowry; and
(3) in privilege of issue, the offspring of the secondary wife having no title to inherit.
The act of Sarai (compare the similar behavior of Stratonice, the wife of King
Deiotarus, who, according to Plutarch, gave her maid Electra to her husband,
and so obtained an heir to the crown) is as little to be imitated as the conduct
The apparent repetitions in vs. 1-3 do not require the hypothesis of different authorship
(Tuch, Colenso, Bleek, Davidson) for their explanation, but are characteristic of the
genius of Hebrew composition (compare ch. 7:1-10), and may even be considerably
removed by connecting vs. 1-2 with the last chapter, and commencing the new
sub-section with v. 3 here (Quarry, p. 331).
Crooked Ways, or Marrying with Hagar (v. 3)
Ø The author of it; Sarai, the wife of Abram, a daughter of the faith, the
mistress of a household. To the first, the suggestion referred to in the
narrative should have been impossible; in the second, it was inconsistent;
while, proceeding from the third, it was calculated to be harmful.
Ø The wickedness of it. It was:
o a clear violation of the law of God (compare ch. 2:24; Matthew 19:5;
I Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:28, 31);
o a direct offence against the soul of Abram, being in reality the
placing of a dangerous temptation in his way (Deuteronomy 13:6;
Romans 14:13); and,
o an unjustifiable invasion of the liberties of Hagar. Though
permitted in the providence of God to be a bondmaid in the
house of Sarai, she was not in the power of her mistress to
be disposed of in the way proposed, without consent either
asked or obtained.
Ø The extenuations of it.
o The practice was common. Secondary wives being then in vogue, the
scheme recommended by Sarai may not have been regarded by her as
o The motive was good. It had its origin undoubtedly in a firm belief in
the promise, and a strong desire that her husband should no longer be
debarred from its realization through her apparently permanent sterility.
o The self-denial was great. The entire conduct of Sarai, in giving Hagar
to her husband, evinced certain truly engaging features in her personal
and wifely character, which must not be overlooked in forming an
estimate of her peculiar action; such as genuine humility in yielding to
another the honor of being the mother of Abram’s seed, and intense
devotion to her husband in submitting for his sake to a displacement
which must have carried anguish to her breast.
Ø Deliberately. He was not surprised into this secondary marriage with the
Egyptian maiden. The scheme of Sarai appears to have been talked over
between them; and if at first he had scruples in complying with her
proposition, they were eventually overcome.
Ø Inconsiderately. That is, the ulterior consequences were not taken into
account in assenting to this device for the anticipation of the promised
seed; only its immediate feasibility and superficial recommendations. So
men are morally shortsighted, and cannot see afar off when confronted by
some sweet temptation. Had Abram only dimly discerned the outcome of
Sarai’s counsel, he would have seen that the thing was not of God. A
perception of the coming whirlwind would often hinder the sowing of the
wind. (Much less the problems of the 21st Century – CY – 2019)
Ø Inexcusably. Though not dictated by carnal desire, Abram’s
acquiescence in Sarai’s scheme was far from being faultless. It evinced a
want of faith, and, indeed, a want of true spiritual discernment in
supposing that what God had promised as a gift of grace could be
surreptitiously snatched from His Divine hand in the way proposed,
or even by any purely human stratagem; and a want of patience in not
calmly waiting for the accomplishment of God’s word in God’s own
time and way.
Ø Humiliation to Sarai. Elated by the prospect of maternity, the young
Egyptian slave-girl despised her mistress; by haughtiness of carriage,
perhaps silently discovering contempt for Sarai s sterility, and possibly
assuming airs of superiority, as if, in consequence of approaching
motherhood, anticipating her displacement from the throne of Abram’s
love (Proverbs 30:23).
Ø Misery to Abram. The womanly nature of Sarai, stung to jealousy by the
success of her own plan, and incapable of longer enduring the scornful
triumph of a maiden whom her own hands had transformed into a favored
rival, with something like vindictive heat turned upon her meek,
submissive, and in this matter wholly innocent lord, reproaching him as, if
not the cause of her barrenness, at least the patient and half-satisfied
witness of her humiliation; she almost called down upon him the judgment
of Heaven. To a noble spirit like that of Abram the anguish of Sarai must
have been distressing to behold; and the pain which it occasioned must
have been intensified when he came to realize the painful dilemma in which
he stood between her and Hagar.
Ø Oppression to Hagar. Reminding Sarai that Hagar, though a wife to
him, was still a maid to her, the patriarch unwisely extended sanction to
whatever remedy the heated breast of Sarai might devise. The result was
that the favored maiden was at once thrust back into her original condition
of servitude, deprived of whatever tokens of honor and affection she had
received as Abram’s wife, and subjected to injurious treatment at the hands
of her incensed mistress and rival, from which she ultimately sought refuge
1. That eminent saints may lapse into grievous sins.
2. That a child of God is specially liable to temptation after seasons of high
3. That the strongest temptations sometimes proceed from the least
4. That trying to anticipate the Divine promise is not an uncommon form of
5. That when God’s people take to crooked ways, nothing but evil can
come of it.
4 "And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had
conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." And he went in unto Hagar.
בּוא אֶלאּ, a linguistic peculiarity of the Jehovist, occurring in ch. 29:21,30; 30:3-4;
38:2, 9, 16 (Vaihinger, Davidson); but by some partitionists Genesis 29. and 30. are
assigned to the Elohist (Tuch, Bleek, De Wette). And she conceived: and when she
saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. As Hannah by
Peninnah (I Samuel 1:6); barrenness among the Hebrews having been regarded as a
dishonor and reproach (ch. 19:31; 30:1, 23; Leviticus 20:20), and fertility as a
special mark of the Divine favor (ch. 21:6; 24:60; Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 7:14).
Whether Hagar imagined Sarai to be through her barrenness "tanquam a Divino
promisso repudiatam" (Lyra), or anticipated Sarai's displacement from her position
as Abram s wife (Inglis), she, immediately on perceiving her condition, became
insolent (compare Proverbs 30:23).
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." And Sarai said unto Abram,
My wrong be upon thee. Ἀδικοῦμαι ἐκ σοῦ - adikoumai - this wrong is your fault
(Septuagint); indue agis contra me (Vulgate); My injury is upon thee, i.e. thou art
the cause of it (Jonathan, Rosenmüller, Ainsworth, Clarke, 'Speaker s Commentary');
or, it belongs to thee as well as to me (Clericus, Bush, Alford); or, perhaps better,
May the injury done to me return upon thee! compare ch. 27:13 (Keil, Kalisch, Lange,
Wordsworth) - the language of passionate irritation, indicating repentance of her
previous action and a desire to both impute its guilt to, and lay its bitter consequences
on, her husband, who in the entire transaction was more innocent than she. I have
given my maid into thy bosom (very imprudent, even had it not been sinful; the
result was only what might have been expected); - and when she saw that she
had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee
(compare I Samuel 24:15; Judges 11:27). An irreverent use of the Divine name
on the part of Sarai (Calvin), and a speech arguing great passion (Ainsworth).
6 "But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it
pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face."
But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand (regarding her still
as one of Sarai's servants, though elevated to the rank of secondary wife to himself);
do to her as it pleaseth thee. Literally, the good in thine eyes; in which conduct of
the patriarch may be seen perhaps
(1) an evidence of his peaceful disposition in doing violence to his feelings as a
husband in order to restore harmony to his disquieted household (Calvin), and
(2) a proof that he had already found out his mistake in expecting the promised seed
through Hagar (Calvin); but also
(3) an indication of weakness in yielding to Sarai's passionate invective (Willet, Bush),
(4) an unjustifiable wrong inflicted on the future mother of his child (Candlish).
And when Sarai dealt hardly with her - (literally, afflicted) her by thrusting her
back into the condition of a slave (Lange, Candlish); though probably by stripes
or maltreatment of some sort in addition (Ainsworth, Bush) - she fled from her face.
The Maid, the Mistress, and the Master (vs. 1-6)
Ø Tempting her husband.
Ø Excusing herself.
Ø Appealing to God.
Ø Afflicting her servant.
Ø Yielding to temptation.
Ø Perpetrating injustice.
Ø Acquiescing in oppression.
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." And the angel of the Lord. Maleach Jehovah,
elsewhere styled Maleach Elohim (ch. 21:17; 31:11); supposed but wrongly to be a
creature angel (Augustine, Origen, Jerome, Hofmann, Bamngarten, Tholuck,
Delitzsch, Kurtz), for the reasons chiefly
(1) that the term angel commonly designates a class of spiritual beings (ch. 19:1; 32:1;
Job 4:18; Psalm 91:11; Matthew 13:41; John 20:12, et passim - scattered references);
(2) that the ἄγγελος κυρίου - anggelos kuriou - angel of the Lord - of the New Testament
(Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:9; Acts 12:7) is always a created angel;
(3) that the meaning of the term מַלְאָך, one sent, from לָאַך, to depute (Gesenius),
one through whom work is executed, from לָאַך, to work (Keil), implies a
certain degree of subordination, which is afterwards more distinctly recognized
(I Chronicles 21:27; Zechariah 1:12);
(4) that the distinction between the unrevealed and the revealed God was not then
developed as in later times, and particularly since the advent of Christ -
to every one of which arguments, however, it is comparatively easy to reply (compare
Keil and Lange in love). With more force of reason believed to have been
the Divine Being Himself, who already as Jehovah had appeared to Abram
(the Fathers, the Reformers, Hengstenberg, Keil, Lange, Havernick, Nitzsch,
Ebrard, Steir, Kalisch, Ainsworth, Bush, Wordsworth, Candlish), since:
Elohim (ch. 22:12).
(ch. 16:13; 18:23-33; 28:16-22; Exodus 3:6; Judges 6:15, 20-23; 13:22).
without the least reserve (v.13; ch. 18:1; 22:16; Exodus 3:2; Judges 6:12).
complete accordance with earlier fore-shadowings (ch. 1:26; 11:7) and
later revelations of the same truth.
the central point in the Old Testament revelation was a creature angel,
while that of the New is the incarnation of the God-Man.
Found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness. Properly an uninhabited
district suitable for pasturing flocks, from a root signifying to lead to pasture;
hence a sterile, sandy country, like that here referred to, Arabia Deserta, bordering
and well-known spring. In the way to Shur. "Before Egypt, as thou goest toward
(Genesis 25:18); hence not Pelusium on the Nile (Jos., '
but probably the modern Dschifar in the north-west of Arabia Deserta (Michaelis,
Lange). Hagar was clearly directing her flight to
The Capture of the Runaway, or Hagar and the Angel of the Lord
Ø The agent of her capture. The angel of Jehovah (see Exposition),
whose appearance to Hagar at this particular juncture was doubtless:
o Unexpected. Those who flee from duty seldom anticipate the
encountering of God in their career (Jonah 1:3).
o Instantaneous. The Invisible Supreme, who ever compasses our paths,
only requires to either open His creatures’ eyes, or veil His uncreated
glory in a finite form, to make His presence known (Psalm 139:7; Luke
o Familiar. Though here mentioned, angelic visitation need not now
have occurred for the first time. Hagar probably had learned something
in the patriarch’s household of the character, existence, and form of
this celestial visitant.
o Opportune. Whether regarded in this light or not, the present Divine
manifestation to Hagar was highly seasonable, as God s visits to men
ever are, in both the world and the Church.
Ø The place of her capture.
o In the wilderness, a very different locality from Abram’s tent. But all
regions are equally accessible to God’s providence and grace; and
God’s angel of mercy and salvation can find his way to disconsolate
wanderers across the wilderness of a barren world as easily as to
eminent saints within the sacred precincts of the Church.
o On the way to Shur, i.e. going back to Egyptian worldliness and
idolatry. Her chances of reaching the
considering her bodily condition; but thither was her destination, and
hence her arrest by the angel of the Lord was a special mercy. So
Divine grace interposes to prevent those who have been once
enlightened from relapsing to their old natural condition of worldliness
o By a fountain of water, beside which it may be imagined she had cast
herself in sheer exhaustion; an emblem of those springs of refreshment,
or wells of Baca, which God has prevailed for the spiritually
disconsolate, and one of which was being opened by Jehovah’s visit
for the comfort of the unhappy bondmaid.
Ø The question of the angel.
o The designations used, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, reveal the minuteness of
the Divine knowledge. God is acquainted with the names and the
homes, the conditions in life, and the constituent elements in the
history of all men (Psalm 139:1-5).
o The reference to Hagar’s original condition of servitude implies
disapprobation of her union with Abram. No transaction can be safely
passed as blameless until it has been reviewed and judged by God.
o The inquiries addressed to Hagar were designed to convict her of sin.
Whence had she come? From Abram’s house, where the name of God
was worshipped; from the presence of Sarai, who had a lawful claim
upon her service;
seed, of which, as she fondly hoped, she was about to become the
mother — in all which she was clearly committing wrong. Then
was she going? Back again to
of her flight, while in the mean time she was exposing herself and
her unborn child to serious peril. Doubtless these and other
considerations of a similar sort arose within the breast of Hagar
as she listened to Jehovah’s questionings. When God examines
souls they are truly, minutely, and completely searched.
Ø The answer of Hagar.
o Promptly given. There was no sign of hesitancy or reluctance.
The utmost frankness and cordiality should characterize a
sinner’s dealings with God.
o Briefly expressed. “She was fleeing from the face of Sarai her
mistress.” Comprehensive brevity should signalize our responses
to God’s interrogations.
o Honestly declared. She had run away. If it was wrong, she made
no attempt at concealment. Guileless acknowledgment of sin is
a true mark of contrition.
Ø To return to Abram’s house. The tent of Sarai, though to Hagar’s quick
Southron blood a place of humiliation, was nevertheless for her the true
place of safety, both physically and spiritually. The first counsel that God’s
word and spirit give to those who flee from duty, forsake the company of
saints, and venture out upon perilous and sinful courses is “to stand in the
ways, and ask for the old paths” (Jeremiah 6:16).
Ø To submit to Sarah’s yoke. Her alliance with the patriarch could not in
God’s sight alter her original position as a slave. Though soon to be the
mother of Abram’s seed, she was still a bondwoman, whose duty was
submission, however galling to her hot blood, and however unreasonable it
seem in the case of one whose child might yet inherit
people are required to abide in those stations in life in which they have
been called, until they can be honorably released from them (I Corinthians
7:20-22), and to endure those afflictions which God in His providence
may impose, rather than impetuously and sinfully endeavor to escape
from them (Matthew 16:24).
Ø The richness of the offered consolation.
o A gracious assurance — that she was an object of:
§ the Divine regard, as this very visit proved;
§ the Divine observation, since the Lord knew her condition; and
§ the Divine compassion,
for already He had heard her affliction and no sweeter consolation can
be offered to either penitent backslider or dejected sufferer.
o A comfortable promise — that she should live to be the mother of
Abram’s seed, that her unborn babe should be a son, and that her son
should develop into a bold, courageous, and prosperous man, and that
through him she herself, an Egyptian slave-girl, should become the
ancestress of a numerous and mighty people. God is able, even in
respect of material and temporal benefits, to compensate for life’s
sorrows and tribulations, and to make up in one direction for what
He takes away in another.
o An important instruction — to name her child “Ishmael” when it
should be born; partly as a memorial to herself of the Divine mercy,
and partly as a reminder to her child of the sure Source of prosperity,
both personal and national, temporal and spiritual. God’s people
should remember the right hand of the Most High (Psalm 77:10),
and seek advancement from HIM ALONE (ibid. 75:6-7).
Ø The efficacy of the offered consolation.
o Adoring gratitude. Hagar was amazed at the Divine condescension in
permitting her to see God and yet live — a mercy denied to Moses on
the mount (Exodus 33:20); and the Divine grace which had imparted life
and hope to her soul through this celestial visitation.
o Mercy remembered, Hagar called the well Beer-lahai-roi, i.e. the well
of seeing and living. The Divine loving-kindness is worthy of
memorials, which also should be written on the tablets of the heart
when they cannot be expressed in words or enshrined in deeds.
o Cheerful submission. Hagar returned to Abram’s house, submitted to
Sarai’s hand, and in due time gave birth to Ishmael. The best evidence
that grace has comforted the human heart is prompt compliance’ with
the will of God.
1. An adumbration of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. An illustration of God’s care of those who are within His Church.
3. An indication of the kind of people that most attract the Divine notice
4. A revelation of the tenderness with which He deals with sinners.
5. A proclamation of God’s gracious readiness to forgive the erring.
Wells in the Wilderness. (v. 7)
1. God provides them for the rest and refreshment of pilgrims.
2. God visits them to meet with weary, and afflicted pilgrims.
3. God dispenses from them life and hope to all repenting and believing
pilgrims. Compare with the angel of Jehovah and Hagar at the fountain of
Christ and the woman of
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."
And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid. Declining to recognize her marriage with the
patriarch, the angel reminds her of her original position as a bondwoman, from
which liberty was not to be obtained by flight, but by manumission. Whence camest
thou? and whither wilt thou go! And she maid, I flee from the face of my mistress
Sarai. "Her answer testifies to the oppression she had experienced, but also to the
voice of her own conscience" (Lange).
God Pleading with Wanderers (v. 8)
“Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go?” She
knew not, cared not. Undisciplined, smarting under effects of her own
willfulness (v. 4), she thought only of escaping pain — a type of those
weary, yet unconverted (compare Jeremiah 2:13; 5:3). But God saw her.
The Shepherd sought her (compare ch. 3:9; Luke 15:9). Though not
of the chosen race, and having no claim upon His care, of His own mercy He
calls her (compare Psalm 145:9; Ephesians 2:4; Titus 3:5). The angel
of the Lord; in v. 13 called the Lord; the messenger of the covenant
(Malachi 3:1) — sent to carry out the Father’s purpose (compare John 3:17;
Luke 4:18). The same who speaks in the voice of awakened
conscience, that he may give peace (compare Matthew 11:28). “Hagar,
Sarai’s maid,” expresses God’s full knowledge of her (compare Exodus
33:12; John 10:3). The name distinguishes the individual. She a
stranger, a slave, a fugitive; yet God’s eye upon her; all her life before Him
(compare Psalm 139:1-4). A word for those following their own ways,
feeling as if hidden in the multitude. Nothing glaring in their lives; men see
nothing to find fault with; will God? (compare Psalm 94:7). He knows thee
altogether; THY WHOLE LIFE:
Ø the selfishness underlying a fair profession,
Ø thE unconfessed motives,
Ø the little duplicities,
Ø the love of worldly things; or
it may be thy spiritual pride and self-trusting. He sees thee through. But wilt
thou seek to escape the thought of Him? For what does He search thee out?
Is it not to bring thee to peace? A word of comfort to him who is cast
down because of weakness in faith, little progress, want of spirituality.
HE SEES ALL (compare Luke 19:5). Not as man — men see the failures;
God sees the battle, the longing desire for better things, the prayers (Psalm 28:1;
130:1), the searching of heart, the sorrow because of failure. Even in the
wilderness He is present to help (Galatians 6:9).
thou hast left? (compare Isaiah 5:4). Thou hast left safety and plenty
(Numbers 21:5), impatient of God’s discipline. A goodly possession was
thine — the place of a child (I John 3:1), the right always to pray
(Luke 18:1; John 15:7; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:2), the promise of
guidance (Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 30:21). For what hast thou given up all this?
Is thy present lot better? In deepest love these questions are asked.
God pleads by providence (Psalm 119:67), by the entering of the word
(ibid. v. 130; Hebrews 4:12), by the “still small voice” of the
Holy Spirit. (I Kings
considered. Hast thou renounced thy heavenly portion? God forbid.
Ø Is thy life heavenward?
Ø Are thy sins blotted out?
Ø Hast thou accepted the free gift of salvation?
I am not sure of that. And why not? Is it not that thou hast not cared enough
to entertain the question as a practical one? (compare Ezekiel 20:49; 33:32).
Meanwhile thou art not standing still. The day of grace is passing away
(compare Jeremiah 8:20). Still Christ pleads (Revelation 3:20). But day
by day the ear becomes more dull, and the aims and habits of life more
hard to change. “Return,” was the Lord’s word to Hagar. Take again thy
place in God’s family (compare Luke 15:20). Fear not to bear thy cross.
There is a welcome and joy in heaven over every returning wanderer.
(ibid. v. 10)
9 “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit
thyself under her hands.’ And the angel of the Lord said unto her - as Paul
afterwards practically said to Onesimus, the runaway slave of Philemon (see
Philippians 1:12) - return to thy mistress, and submit thyself - the verb here
employed is the same as that, which the historian uses to describe Sarah s
conduct towards her (v. 6); its meaning obviously is that she should meekly
resign herself to the ungracious and oppressive treatment of her mistress - under
10 “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly,
that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said unto
her (after duty, promise), I will multiply thy seed exceedingly (literally, multiplying
I will multiply thy seed; language altogether inappropriate in the lips of a creature),
that (literally, and) it shall not be numbered for multitude.
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.” Ishmael. "God shall hear," or, "Whom God hears," the first instance
of the naming of a child before its birth (compare afterwards ch. 17:19; I Kings 13:2;
I Chronicles 22:9; Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:13). Because the Lord hath heard thy
affliction. Τῇ ταπεινώσει – tae tapeinosei – baseness; humiliation (Septuagint),
"thy prayer" (Chaldee), of which there is no mention, though men's miseries are
said to cry when men themselves are mute (Calvin; compare Exodus 3:7).
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.”
And he will be a wild man. Literally, a wild ass (of a) man; the פֶּרֶא, onager, being
so called from its swiftness of foot (compare Job 39:5-8), and aptly depicting
"the Bedouin’s boundless love of freedom as he rides about in the desert, spear
in hand, upon his camel or his horse, hardy, frugal, reveling in the varied beauty
of nature, and despising town life in every form" (Keil). As Ishmael and his
offspring are here called
"wild ass men," so
"sheep men" (Ezekiel 36:37-38). His hand will be against every man, and every
man's hand against him. Exemplified in the turbulent and lawless character of
the Bedouin Arabs and Saracens for upwards of thirty centuries. (continued on
a world scale in the 20th and 21st centuries – CY – 2019) "The Bedouins are the
outlaws among the nations. Plunder is legitimate gain, and daring robbery is
praised as valor (Kalisch). And he shall dwell in the presence of - literally,
before the face of, i.e. to the east of (Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Tuch, Knobel,
Delitzsch); or, "everywhere before the eyes of" (Kalisch, Wordsworth); or,
independently of (Calvin, Keil, Lunge, Murphy) - all his brethren. The Arabs
of today are "just as they were described by the spirit of prophecy nearly 4000
years ago" (Porter's 'Giant Cities of Bashan,' pp. 28, 31, 324).
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?”
And she called the name - not invoked the name (Chaldee, Lapide), though
occasionally קָרָא שֵׁם has the same import as קָרָא בִשֵׁס (see Deuteronomy 32:3) –
of the Lord - Jehovah, thus identifying the Ma-leach Jehovah with Jehovah Himself –
that spake unto her, Thou God seeth me. Literally, Thou (art) El-Roi, a God of
seeing, meaning either the God of my vision, i.e. the God who revealest thyself in
vision (Gesenius, Furst, Le Clerc, Dathe, Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy),
or, though less correctly, the God who sees all things, and therefore me (Septuagint,
Vulgate, Calvin, Ainsworth; Candlish, Hofmann, Baumgarten, Delitzsch, Wordsworth).
For she said, Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me? Literally, Have I also
hitherto seen? i.e. Do I also still live after the vision? (Onkelos,. Gesenius, Furst, Keil,
Kalisch, Rosenmüller, Murphy).
Glimpses of the Godhead (vs. 7-13)
1. Divine condescension. God visits men as the angel visited Hagar.
2. Divine omniscience. God knows men as the angel knew Hagar.
3. Divine compassion. God pities and comforts men as the angel did Hagar.
4. Divine wisdom. God instructs men as the angel directed Hagar.
5. Divine grace. God pardons and accepts men as the angel did Hagar.
14 “Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh
and Bered.” Wherefore the well was called - in all likelihood first by Hagar –
Beer-lahai-roi, or the well of Him that liveth and seeth me (Authorized Version);
(1) the well of the living one of vision, i.e. of God, who appeared there (Onkeles,
Rosenmüller, Lange) or,
(2) the well of the life of vision, i.e. where after seeing God life was preserved
(Gesenius, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy), or where in consequence of seeing God
a new life was imparted (Inglis). Behold, it is between Kadesh (see ch. 14:7)
and Bered. Of uncertain situation; but the well has probably been discovered
in Ain Kades
(called by the Arabs Moilahi Hagar), to the south of
and about twelve miles from Kadesh (compare Keil in loco).
15 “And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which
Hagar bare, Ishmael.” And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his
son's name - a peculiarity of the Elohist to assign the naming of a child to the
father (Knobel); but the present chapter is usually ascribed to the Jehovist,
while the instances in which the name is given by the mother do not always
occur in Jehovistic sections (compare ch. 30:6, which Tuch imputes to the Elohist) –
which Hagar bare, Ishmael - thus acknowledging the truth of Hagar's vision.
16 “And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael
Hagar (vs. 1-16)
The history of Hagar has its two sides: that which is turned towards God
and illustrates Divine grace, that which is turned towards man and
illustrates human infirmity and sinfulness. Jehovah brought forth
compassionate bestowments of revelation and promise out of His people’s
errors. Abram and Sarah both sinned. Hagar sinned. The angel of the Lord,
representative of the continuous gracious revelation of Jehovah as a
covenant God, appeared in the cloud of family sorrow, drawing once more
upon it the rainbow of promise. Until the HEIR came there was a call for
patience. Unbelief appeared at work — in the patriarch’s weakness, in
Sarah’s harshness, in Hagar’s pride and rebellion, for she was, as a member
of the household, partaker of the covenant. In the wilderness appeared the
messenger of grace.
seest me; or, Thou God of vision. The idea is that the sight of God was
deliverance. Hagar’s seeing God was God seeing her. The vision was both
objective and subjective. So the world has wearied itself in the wilderness
of its own ignorance and moral helplessness (see Galatians 4:22-31).
The unspiritual, carnal mind is the bond slave, which must give way to the
true heir. ALL TRUE RELIGIOUS LIFE is a response to REVELATION!
IN HIS LIGHT WE SEE LIGHT! (Psalm 36:9)
HER PERSONAL HISTORY. She turned back with a new light in her
heart. Submission and obedience are commanded, but abundant reward is
promised. Our life is under the eye of Jehovah and in His hand. “Thou God
seest me” is the cry of a grateful memory, the note of a bright future. The
nearness of God, His knowledge, may be not terror, but blessing, angels
round about us, gracious sunshine of love in which we are invited to walk
as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)
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