Genesis 16: The Birth of Ishmael

Why did Sarai think the Lord had kept her from having children? Was she right? Why?

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Genesis 16:1–2 Sarai had borne no children for her husband, but she had an Egyptian maid named Hagar. “Since the Lord has kept me from having children,” Sarai said to Abram, “be one with my maid so I may have children by her.” So Abram did what she asked.
King James
Genesis 16:1–2 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 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.

Why did Abram agree to a sexual relationship with Hagar?

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Genesis 16:2–3 “Since the Lord has kept me from having children,” Sarai said to Abram, “be one with my maid so I may have children by her.” So Abram did what she asked.
Abram had lived in Canaan for ten years when Sarai gave her Egyptian maid Hagar to be his second wife.
King James
Genesis 16:2–3 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 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.

Was Hagar’s attitude toward Sarai appropriate? Why?

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Genesis 16:4 After Hagar became one with Adam and knew she was pregnant, she felt superior to her mistress Sarai and treated her with contempt.
King James
Genesis 16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

Why didn’t Abram defend the mother of his child?

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Genesis 16:5–6 “For doing right, I have been wronged,” Sarai said to Abram. “I gave you my maid, and now I am despised because she is having your child. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
“She is your maid,” Abram said. “Do with her as you please.”
Then Sarai dealt so harshly with Hagar that she ran away.
King James
Genesis 16:5–6 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. 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.

What do you think Sarai did to cause Hagar to flee?

Author’s Thoughts
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Genesis 16:6 “She is your maid,” Abram said. “Do with her as you please.”
Then Sarai dealt so harshly with Hagar that she ran away.
King James
Genesis 16:6 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.

How did Hagar know she was talking to an angel?

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Genesis 16:7–8 The angel of the Lord came to Hagar while she rested by a spring on the wilderness road to Shur. “Hagar, Sarai’s maid,” he said, “where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I am running away from my mistress Sarai,” she said.
King James
Genesis 16:7–8 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 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.

Why did the angel ask Sarai where she was going?

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Genesis 16:7–8 The angel of the Lord came to Hagar while she rested by a spring on the wilderness road to Shur. “Hagar, Sarai’s maid,” he said, “where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I am running away from my mistress Sarai,” she said.
King James
Genesis 16:7–8 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 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.

What reasons did Hagar have for believing what the angel said?

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Genesis 16:9–14 “Return to your mistress,” the angel said, “and submit to her authority. I will give you many descendants, so much that their number cannot be counted. You are pregnant and will give birth to a son. Call him Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your cries of affliction. Your son will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone and everyone fighting him, always at odds with his family.”
Then she knew the Lord who spoke to her as El Roi, “God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Therefore, the well between Kadesh and Bered was called Beer-lahai-roi, “the well of the living One who saw me.”
King James
Genesis 16:9–14 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, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 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. 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 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? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

Why did Abram name his son Ishmael?

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Genesis 16:15–16 Hagar gave birth to a son, and Abram called him Ishmael.
Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.
King James
Genesis 16:15–16 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

Did Abram believe Ishmael was the fulfillment of God’s promise? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Genesis 16:15–16 Hagar gave birth to a son, and Abram called him Ishmael.
Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.
King James
Genesis 16:15–16 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.