Genesis 16




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 Egypt (Ambrose, Wordsworth),

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 land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram

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

     of Abram.


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.


  • THE SINFUL COMPLIANCE. “Abram hearkened unto the voice of



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

in flight.


  • LEARN:


1. That eminent saints may lapse into grievous sins.

2. That a child of God is specially liable to temptation after seasons of high

    religious privilege.

3. That the strongest temptations sometimes proceed from the least

     expected quarters.

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      Pride.

Ø      Contempt.

Ø      Insubordination.

Ø      Flight.




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:


  • The Maleach Jehovah explicitly identifies Himself with Jehovah (v. 10) and

       Elohim (ch. 22:12).


  • Those to whom He makes His presence known recognize Him as Divine

(ch. 16:13; 18:23-33; 28:16-22; Exodus 3:6; Judges 6:15, 20-23; 13:22).


  • The Biblical writers constantly speak of Him as Divine, calling Him Jehovah

without the least reserve (v.13; ch. 18:1;  22:16; Exodus 3:2; Judges 6:12).


  • The doctrine here implied of a plurality of persons in the Godhead is in

complete accordance with earlier fore-shadowings (ch. 1:26; 11:7) and

later revelations of the same truth.


  • The organic unity of Scripture would be broken if it could be proved that

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

on Egypt (ch. 14:6; Exodus 3:1). By the fountain. The article indicating a particular

and well-known spring. In the way to Shur. "Before Egypt, as thou goest toward

Assyria" (Genesis 25:18); hence not Pelusium on the Nile (Jos., 'Ant.,' 6:07, 3),

but probably the modern Dschifar in the north-west of Arabia Deserta (Michaelis,

Rosenmüller, Keil, Lange). Hagar was clearly directing her flight to Egypt.





The Capture of the Runaway, or Hagar and the Angel of the Lord

(v. 7)




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 land of Ham were indeed small,

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

and sin.


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; from the land of Canaan, the inheritance of Abram’s

seed, of which, as she fondly hoped, she was about to become the

mother — in all which she was clearly committing wrong. Then

whither was she going?  Back again to Egypt, as the ultimate goal

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

might seem in the case of one whose child might yet inherit Canaan. God’s

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

    and compassion.

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

                Shur, Christ and the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well (John 4:6-15).


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 paina 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).


  • “WHENCE CAMEST THOU?” Is the wilderness better than the home

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


  • “WHITHER WILT THOU GO?” How many have never really

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

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.”  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 ταπεινώσειtae tapeinoseibaseness; 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 Israel is designated by the prophet

"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);

but either:


(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 Beersheba,

     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

to Abram.”




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!




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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