Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Genesis Chapter 16: Along Comes Hagar, The Decision Out of Desperation

 

Genesis Chapter 16: And long Comes Hagar

 

Now last time we took an in depth look at Genesis Chapter 15 where we see Abram emerging as a man of Faith.

 

In Chapter 16 my my how the tables have turned for now Abram is seen as a man of unbelief. 10 years has passed since Abram left his father and brother in Haran of Mesopotamia

 

A lot has happened during these 10 years. Abram and family were kicked out of Egypt by pharaoh and returned to Canaan. Abram and his nephew lot had to separate after there were quarrels amongst their herdsman. Lot moves toward Sodom and some time later. He is kidnapped by allied kings in which Abram goes in with 318 men and rescues lot and the other captives taken by these kings. After this Supernatural triumph Abram meets the mysterious king of Salem, Melchizedek. And a short while after this the Lord Yahweh, utilizes a Middle eastern covenant ceremony to confirm and affirm His covenant made with Abram in Chapter 15. So thus far the Lord has brought Abram through A LOT! However, we see the unbelief of Abram emerge in this chapter nonetheless

 

One of these reasons is Abram has yet to truly know God as being able to exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think, Abram is still getting to know who this God is that called him to leave his family, his land and brought him to Canaan

 

In Genesis chapter 15:6 states Abram “believed the Lord”. However is Genesis 16:2 it states Abram “hearkened to the voice of Sarai”, whereas in Genesis 15 he walks after the Spirit, at the beginning of Genesis 16 we see a change and Abram not only acting according to the flesh BUT listening to the voice and counsel of Sarai over the Promise the Lord made him of an heir. Which the Lord lowered himself and performed the proper middle eastern type act that would signify a covenant had been made.

 

Genesis 16:1-2 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant -whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall [a]obtain children by her.”

 

First of all it was typical back then if a woman was unable to produce children that the man would divorce her. Secondly the fact Abram is still married to Sarai is a testament to his commitment to her that transcends an heir even though we know from genesis 15 this deeply troubled Abram.

 

Secondly…

 

This sounds very very familiar. We see this In Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was [a]pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

 

Adam knows what the Lord said, he knows not to partake of the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil YET he hearkens unto the voice of his wife Eve Over the command made by Almighty God. The enemy manipulatively utilized Eve’s incredible influence on Adam to come in and try to completely upset the Lord’s communion with man

 

Abram in the same manner hearkens unto the voice and instruction of Sarai his wife and puts her words at a greater weight than that of Almighty God who DIRECTLY spoke to Abram Promisi                                                ng him an heir from his own body, and He DIRECTLY spoke to Adam when the Lord said “DON’T TOUCH THE TREE”

 

Now Hebrew tradition says that Hagar was a gift from Pharaoh when Abram had his little adventure in Egypt years earlier. Some say she even was a princess from Pharaohs own household.

 

So this situation with Hagar is truly a fresh testing of Abram and his FAITH in what the Lord has promised him. You see the enemy knows how desperately Abram wants an heir. So the enemy can fabricate and make something look like the answer that is really meant to derail the promises of God.

 

Well.. Hagar, the Egyptian maidservant, is the fruit on that tree, the forbidden one the one that the Lord DOES NOT want Abram to partake of. However, who GIVES Hagar (THE FRUIT) because IT LOOKS PLEASING but Sarai herself, out of her own shame, insecurities, and mistrust of God. The enemy through this peddles this deception onto Abram through Sarai, born of shame and fear.  Sarai would of first had to of been deceived into thinking this was a good idea in order to feed this idea to Abram. Let me tell you this, when one is desperate and in despair, their thinking and discernment becomes impaired and many things LOOK like a good idea that have disastrous results. The enemy thrives on those conditions

 

This is peddled by the enemy using Sarai’s own insecurities and shame of being unable to produce a male heir for Abram, or a child at all. Women back then were shamed and looked at as useless many times if they could not conceive and give birth to an heir. Sarai feels inadequate, she knows she in the natural is beyond child bearing years, and that inadequacy and fear are truly the vehicles used to drive this plot

 

 

You see instead of listening to God and the promise he made to

Abram concerning an heir, Sarai just makes her own plan, veering off of the plans of God and detouring down Hagar way to accomplish it, an alternatice way to obtain what the Lord promised.

 

In Genesis 2 it was the Serpent manipulating Eve into feeling inadequate, as if the Lord were causing her to “miss out” on becoming like God by telling her and Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That inadequacy then caused Eve to believe and sin against what the Lord clearly told her to do and she pulled Adam down this slippery slope with her. Adam was the Spiritual head, he clearly knew what the Lord had told them, yet he allowed himself to be swayed by Eve. You see the serpent did not sway Adam, Eve did. The enemy many times will use the woman

 

Likewise it was Sarai who swayed Abram down an alternative path, taking matters into her own hands, to ultimately get what the Lord promised Abram in a specific way. Abram KNOWS THIS, yet just as in the garden, he caves and allows Sarai to sway him into this plan not born of the Lord.

 

I also find it VERY interesting that Hagar is Egyptian, the very people who would enslave the Jews for 400 years, Abram is being tempted to be intimate with an Egyptian, idolatrous woman, and Sarai in her unclear thinking from her shame and impatience leads him right into this mess.

 

We see that over and over again Abram and his faith are tested beginning with having to leave his family and the land he knew because the Lord had called him out, he is tested when there is famine in the land, he was tested, his love for lot was tested, his courage when he and his men had to go rescue lot when he was taken captive by Chedorlaomer. The King of Sodom offered Abram all the wealth in exchange for the people

 

Now Abram is tested in a whole new way through a very strong suggestion by his own wife Sarai who is embattled with her own psychological issues

 

Would Abram take matters out of the hands of Almighty God and muck things up complicating matters of the covenant that was made

 

Up to this point the character of Abram was tested 6 different times

 

And Egypt comes up 2 times in this testing. The first when Pharaoh took Sarai into his harem under the impression that Abram was her brother in Genesis 12, now here Egypt is involved in the testing Again through Hagar Sarai’s servant. Egypt would later on lull the jews into mixing their pagan worship with Godly practice which opened the door for the jews to be enslaved 400 years. So in a way this whole scenario is a preview of what is to come for the nation of the Jews, intermixing with Egypt, a people not even in existence YET. However what Abram is about to do is a prophetic confirmation of the Jews mixing with the Egyptians in the future. I believe in many ways it sets the stage

 

Interestingly enough according to the laws of Hammurabi and other ancient near eastern legal documents, it was common during that time for an infertile wife to provide her husband with a concubine that would in turn bear children for the couple. Those children were considered to be the wives children as much as a biological child would be. (dennis prager the rational bible) In a way similar to adoption where the parents consider that child to be as much their child as any biological child.

 

Based on Abrams lack of reaction he seems none to thrilled with the idea YET he HEARKENS unto Sarai, not the voice of the Lord, but Sarai.

 

The reason Sarai does this, is they had dwelt in the land of Canaan 10 years and there was no conception. the motivator: she had given up on the Lord’s promise in a way, or maybe did not believe it at all, and was taking matters into her own hand. As she got older she panicked more and more

 

In the scriptures it does not say that Abram actually married Hagar. The scriptures say that Sarai gave Hagar to Abram LIKE a wife. She was not a wife because she remains a servant to Sarai, and if she had become a wife she would of no longer been at servant status

 

 

 

 

Abram has relations with Hagar and she conceives, however this is NOT the promised Child, this is the enemy’s ploy to stop that from happening therefore stopping the line that Jesus himself would be birthed through. This is the enemys plan, give them a child so they will be content and NOT want THE CHILD.

 

 

Genesis 16:4: So he went into Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her [a]eyes.

 

In a plot twist worthy of the Bachelor, Hagar when she conceives now feels superior to her mistress Sarai. In the ancient world because the wife’s worth was diminished if she did not give birth, Hagar now feels superior to Sarai. Here begins the divisiveness the enemy will attempt to use to derail God’s plans.

While the Bible does not go  indepth or detail about this wife/concubine. Husband triangle, there are other records from other middle eastern cultures of that time that go into detail about this. The law codes of Ur-Nammu dating back to 2100 BC and the law of Hammurabi from around 1800 BC both deal with this issue. These laws make it very clear that the barren wife who takes this very serious step of making her servant a concubine to her husband, puts the wife, who would be Sarai in this example, in a lower social position in the eyes of the people.

However, legally nothing changes for the concubine for they gain no extra rights from this and does not gain any equal footing to the barren wife. There is actually an excerpt right out of the code of Ur-Nammu that says “if the servant, comparing herself to her mistress, speaks insolently to her.” Keep this in mind going into verses 5 and 6…

 

Genesis 16:5: And sarai said to Abram “ The wrong done to me is your fault! I put my maid in your bosom; now that she sees she is pregnant, I am lowered in her esteem. May the Lord judge between you and me!”

 

In an amazing plot twist Sarai becomes angry with Abram! All Abram did was heed Sarai’s very adamant suggestion to take Hagar as a second wife. So after Sarai witnesses all that has taken place and is now deeply regretting this decision, and is angry with Abram for having the audacity to act on it. Sarai is basically saying “it is your fault that you did what I told you to do!” WHAT?!! I know its getting weirder than an episode of the bachelor

 

How true to human nature For Sarai to initiate these events and then blame another for the consequences! Man seeks to put their culpability in the background while blaming others, God, or the enemy. Man still has a choice. They have been given the gift of free will by Almighty God.

Abram’s Response:

 

Genesis 16:6 But Abram said to Sarai, “look your maid is entirely in your hands and subject to your authority, do as you please with her.” So Sarai treated her harshly and humiliated her, and Hagar fled from her

 

Abram refuses to accept the responsibility of the wrong Sarai has committed by pushing him into this in the first place. He leaves Sarai to deal with this evil which was of her own doing. However, this is like a domino effect. One evil leads to another. However there is a reason Abram leaves sarai to deal with the matter…

 

Now in that time it was customary that the servant or handmaiden of the wife belonged solely to the wife. She was the wife’s property, she was not the husband’s property at all. The husband had no ownership in the servant of the wife. This is important to understand how sarai deals with her and when the wife says she wants that servant gone..they are gone! Sarai did not need Abram’s approval in this matter

 

What is interesting about this is that King Solomon wrote something that bears a striking resemblance to what has taken place here:

 

Proverbs 21:19: It is better to dwell in a desert land than with a contentious and troublesome (angry) woman

 

This is where Hagar begins to learn her own lessons. That the way of the transgressor is difficult. When Hagar conceived, PRIDE set in. It was now the pregnant Hagar’s attempt  to act as Sarai’s equal that compels sarai to literally drive Hagar away!

 

So when Sarai goes to Abram she was not going to him for his permission, OH NO she had already made her decision and was just putting him on notice for what she was about to do

 

Genesis 16:7-12: Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”

The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 11 And the Angel of the Lord said to her:

“Behold, you are with child,
And you shall bear a son.
You shall call his name 
[d]Ishmael,
Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild man;

His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

 

Ok So first Off

 “The Angel of the Lord” catches up with Hagar at a spring in the wilderness. Now sometimes the word angel was misappropriated with the term messenger. However this individual knows a lot about Hagar and the future of Ishmael. This was definitely a spiritual being that is certain. What I find interesting is in this part of the account Hagar, Egyptian, is fleeing into the wilderness to escape the HARSH HAND of her Jewish master.  However, we will see that reversed in the book of Exodus when Moses leads the Jews, millions, into the wilderness to escape the harsh hand of their Egyptian Masters. It appears that contention between the two and the harsh treatment begins between Hagar and Sarai

 

Secondly the Angel of the Lord says something very interesting to Hagar “where have you come from and where are you going? Now that seems a bit odd because of course the Angel of the Lord knows where she fled from and knows where she is trying to go

 

So what does this mean? This was a check to Hagar’s pride. Inquiring from where  we came, would show us our sin and folly. Hagar was out of her place, and out of the way of her duty, and going further astray, when the Angel found her.  It is a great mercy to be stopped in a sinful way, either by conscience or by providence (matthew henry commentary)

 

The Angel of the Lord wanted her to consider that she was running from her duties in Abram’s household, she was doing this now with Abram’s child, and she was not thinking of the treachery to be endured crossing through the wilderness to return back to Egypt and go back into Idol worship.

 

Hagar’s response in vs 8: “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”

So Hagar acknowledges she is running away from her mistress, her culpability in this.

 

The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.”  This was not up for negotiations and Hagar knew it! This was a command. He did not say would you please return? The Angel of the Lord begins with RETURN. In modern day language this means make a U turn honey and go back your going to WRONG WAY!

 

Hagar could not but admire the Lord's mercy, and feel, Have I, who am so unworthy, been favored with a gracious visit from the Lord? She was brought to a better temper, returned, and by her behavior softened Sarai, and received more gentle treatment. Would that we were always suitably impressed with this thought, Thou God seest me!  (matthew henry commentary) Well it was clear that the Lord saw Hagar and intervened as a way or beginning to rectify what has happened.

 

Hagar also learns through this encounter that she will birth forth a son and his name shall be called Ishmael, which means “whom God hears”, because the Lord has heard hagar’s affliction. She also is given insight into what he will become when he grows up. Get the pepto bismol out for this one Hagar!

 

12 He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.

 

Ishmael is the patriarch of several races but mostly remembered for the creating the Arab race. The land of the Arabs came to be EAST of Israel

 

Abram is the true father of both the Arabs and the Israelites. Now both the Arab people and Israelites are from the line of Shem making them Semites. It is where the term anti semite comes from. Interestingly enough today what are reported as Arabs in the news, many of them are not. So what are identified as Arabs, Persians, Egyptians and others that do not come from the line of shem BUT from the line of Ham (one of Noah’s sons). These are very different from true Arabs who come from the line of Shem. What happens is every muslim is mis categorized as an Arab when in fact many of them are Persian (like from the region of Iran, or Egyptian). This is a different line

 

Genesis 16:13-16 13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-[e]the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here [f]seen Him who sees me?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi;[g] observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

So Hagar heeds the command of the angel and returns back to Sarai and SUBMITS to her, no longer attempting to be her equal. Just as the angel said she bore Abram a son, she named him Ishmael. Abram was 86 years young when Ishamel comes into this world. 86 years! Could you imagine at 86 having your first child, you are ready to go retire in Florida in a nice community and now you have a newborn to contend with. Abrams 86 years must have been different than ours today because he was still a very active guy, I mean just 10 years prior he was off fighting kings at 76 and rescuing lot. The Lord had most certainly preserved his age because the PROMISE Isaac was yet to come!


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