Saturday, September 14, 2013

Moms in the Bible - Hagar

Chapter 7 – Hagar

Hagar was an Egyptian maidservant to Sarah, Abraham’s wife (they were still called Sarai and Abram at that time).  Since Sarah was having no luck conceiving and since she really wanted to have children, she offered her servant up to her husband as a surrogate wife. I wonder what Hagar thought of this arrangement. Was she happy to get to be the master’s second wife? Was she angry or disgusted that she had to be his sexual partner? She probably
had no choice in the matter, but it is interesting to note that she did not despise her mistress until after she conceived. I’m going to assume therefore that Hagar did not mind being Abraham’s second wife.

Unfortunately for her once she conceived she started to despise Sarah. Because of her attitude she received some pretty harsh treatment from Sarah. So she fled from her. Hagar, alone and pregnant, got as far as a spring in the desert where she was found by an angel of the Lord. He told her to return and also gave her some pretty astounding news about the son she was going to have (see Genesis 16 for those particulars). He also told her that her descendants would be too numerous to count.

Long story short: Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Abraham probably doted on his only child (Abraham was 86 when Ishmael was born). When Sarah finally gave birth to Isaac fourteen years later, she took revenge by having Hagar sent away to wander in the desert of Beersheba. Hagar then showed her own poor memory and shortsightedness. When her water ran out she set Ishmael under a bush and sat down nearby to wait for death to claim them both. What? Didn't she remember that the angel told her she would have many descendants? It took God opening her eyes for her to see a well of water. After that she must have remembered God’s promise and in fact got a wife for her son from Egypt. I don’t particularly care for Hagar, but her circumstances show that God does bless moms even in the most bizarre situations.

Next Saturday – Hannah