Genesis 16: In The Shadow of Sarai

June 16, 2023 ·

Summary:
Sarai, who is unable to conceive, suggests to Abram that he should have a child through her maidservant, Hagar, in the hope of building a family through her. Abram follows Sarai’s advice, and Hagar becomes pregnant. However, conflicts arise between Hagar and Sarai, leading to a disagreement and causing Hagar to flee from Sarai’s presence. At a spring, God’s angel encounters Hagar, offering words of encouragement and instructing her to return to Sarai. The angel also assures Hagar that she will have numerous descendants through her child, and advises her to name the child Ishmael. Hagar names the spring accordingly, and she gives birth to Ishmael when Abram is 86 years old.

Key Verse:
13. So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

My thoughts:
This passage introduces the first mention of “the angel of the Lord.” There is considerable debate surrounding the identity of the angel of the Lord. At times, it appears to be God Himself, potentially even taking on a human form, which some interpret as a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus. Other instances depict the angel of the Lord as simply an angel serving as God’s specific messenger.

In Genesis, when the Lord interacts with people, He is often portrayed as a tangible, physical person who doesn’t appear significantly different from anyone else. Examples of this can be found in Genesis 18 or Genesis 32. It is challenging to determine precisely what the individuals in Genesis saw, whether it was merely an angel or some human manifestation of God Himself. Regardless of the answer, I believe that God was revealing Himself to people who had few assumptions about how God should relate to them, using a manner that was effective and clear to them.

While polygamy was not God’s original intention, most prominent figures in the Old Testament practice it from this point onward. Abram, in this instance, takes a second wife, Hagar, and God permits it, despite His ultimate intention for monogamy. This is considered comparatively insignificant, as Abram and his descendants were not deliberately trying to be disobedient but rather following the cultural norms prevalent among men of high status during that era.

Even though Hagar is merely a maidservant, God deeply cares for her. God does not show favoritism based on external factors such as social status.

In category:Genesis
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