Genesis 16: The Birth of Ishmael

woman desert aloneHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Abram impregnates Hagar, the slave of his barren wife Sarai. Sarai beats Hagar, who flees, and an angel informs Hagar that her son Ishmael will multiply greatly. Hagar returns to Abram and gives birth to Ishmael.

II. Photo

Hagar runs away: “Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away from her.” (v.6)

III. Select Verses

1-6: Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, and Sarai said to Abram, “You see that the LORD has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my slave-girl to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Your slave-girl is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away from her.

7-12: The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her.” The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will so greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude.” And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Now you have conceived and shall bear a son; you shall call him Ishmael, for the LORD has given heed to your affliction. He shall be a wild ass of a man, with his hand against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him; and he shall live at odds with all his kin.”

IV. Outline

1-6. Abram impregnates Hagar

    1a. Sarai was barren

    1b-2. Sarai tells Abram to have children with Hagar, Sarai's slave

    3-4a. Abram impregnates Hagar 

    4b-5. Sarai hates Hagar and blames Abram

    6. Sarai beats Hagar, who flees

7-14. Hagar and the angel

    7. An angel finds Hagar at a well

    8-9. Hagar is to return to Sarai

    10. Hagar's offspring will multiply greatly

    11. The child shall be named Ishmael (god has listened)

    12. Ishmael will be a stubborn, wild, nomad

    13-14. Hagar names the angel and the site of the vision 

15-16. Hagar gives birth to Ishmael when Abram was 86 years old

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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