Sarai and Abram had decided to not wait on God’s promise, and concocted a scheme to get an heir, not believing what Abram had been promised by the LORD.
FYI: Abram means, exalted father.
Abraham means, father of a multitude.
Sarai means, my princess.
Sarah means, she is a princess.
Hagar means, emigration, forsaken, stranger.
Ishmael means, God will hear.
1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar; 2 and Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my maid; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. 4 And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my maid 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!” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. Gen. 16:1-6
So now there is a huge jealousy problem between Sarai and Hagar. Hagar is a concubine, or second kind of wife. Sarai is the wife in charge as she was a dowery wife, or the first wife. (See Also: Three Kinds of Wives)
Hagar essentially ran away from Sarai, feeling there was a better life in the wilderness. At this point in the narrative, Hagar is with child.
Found by the LORD, himself, Hagar is by a spring of water. The child she will bear is a son of Abram and will be mightily blessed by the LORD.
She is on her way to Shur, believed to be between Egypt and ancient Israel. Shur roots from the verb to travel or journey, so it is where one is on the way to somewhere else.
7 The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her.” 10 The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”
11 And the angel of the LORD said to her,
“Behold, you are with child,
and shall bear a son;
you shall call his name Ishmael;
because the LORD has given heed (listened) to your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him;
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “Thou art a God of seeing”; for she said, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. Gen. 16:7-14
The Angel of the LORD
The Angel of the LORD, or the physical presence of God, doesn’t speak to just anybody. His appearances are rare and profound. Hagar is one of a very few people in the Bible who are blessed with such an event.
After hearing Hagar’s cry, the LORD comes to this woman of faith, and announces to her she is with child. She must return to her mistress and submit to her. The LORD is providing for her and her child.
Hagar is told by God to name her son Ishmael. God doesn’t name people very often. Ishmael is the very first person that God named, quite an honor. Ishmael is going to be the father of a great multitude or number of descendants, a very numerous people. Another blessing.
When God does name individuals, it is only those that typologically or literally point to The Redeemer. [Gen. 17:19; Is 7:14; Is. 8:3; Hos. 1:4 ; Hos. 1:9; Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:13]
It is unfortunate that the translators have constructed their understanding of the words by their own prejudices. Hence, the idea that Ishmael is a wild ass as a curse, and not a blessing.
First of all, one never sees a wild donkey that is not well fed. They seem to be able to find food where ever they are. They are by nature, roaming animals that are difficult to tame, thus wild. It is only when they are tamed and controlled by humans that they sometime suffer from want or neglect.
The characteristic of these numerous peoples is that they will be wanderers and very independent.
Before the Face
In Hebrew this is EL-PHANA, meaning before the face. We see it in Gen 1:2 when the deep and the waters are before the face of the Creator. In Gen 1:20 the Heavens are before the face of the Creator. In Gen 4:14 Cain is driven from before the face of the ground. The term means to deeply consider someone or something.
The translators have put against every man for the phrase EL-PHANA, before the face of everyman. Meaning that everyone is impressed by this man and his descendants. To dwell against all his kinsmen, should be before the face of his kinsmen.
Donkeys are also known for their bravery in the face of predators. They do not run as other animals, but stand before the face of any predator. They will kick and bite to defend themselves and the rest of their herd. Whatever happens, his kinsmen must always consider this perspective.
Consider Abraham’s son Ishmael
When Abraham receives the prophecy of Isaac’s birth, He asked God to also consider Ishmael.
As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. Gen. 17:20
In spite of the difficult family relations, Abraham clearly cares deeply for Ishmael. God recognizes this and tells Abraham the same basic promise He gave Hagar.
8 And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the lad and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your descendants be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. Gen. 21:8-14
No one really knows what “playing with Isaac” means. There are a great many speculative things written by both the Jews and the Church, none of them are very kind to Ishmael. What ever he was doing, Sarah took the opportunity to rid herself of Hagar and Ishmael. She saw Ishmael as a threat to the blessings of Isaac.
Ishmael through no real fault of his own or his mother Hagar, are put out. Ishmael found himself out of favor with his father’s other wife. Abraham is upset, but God reminded him that all would be well with the boy. So, the mother and son of great blessing were sent out into a dry and barren land.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the child.” And as she sat over against him, the child lifted up his voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. 20 And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt. Gen. 21:15-21
This time, the LORD hears the voice of Ishmael and comes to save them from great thirst. The promise of Ishmael becoming a great nation must have comforted Hagar.
Many years later, both Ishmael and Isaac come to their fathers funeral. There does not seem to be any lasting animosity between the two boys, as both are present.
8 Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 9 Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Mach-pelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, Gen. 25:8-9
The Son’s of Ishmael
12 These are the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maid, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the first-born of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. 17 (These are the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred and thirty-seven years; he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his kindred.) 18 They dwelt from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria; he settled over against all his people. Gen. 25:12-18
The text indicates that while Ishmael lived, his family traveled in the land of his father Abraham. The land that is between Assyria and Egypt.
FYI: Mohamed was a descendant of Ishmael’s son Kedar (See Also: The Tents of Kedar)
We also learn of the 12 princes that are tribal descendants of Ishmael. Today, we know that most of the Arab speaking nations are descendants of Ishmael. Those that are not of Ishmael, are of Abraham’s other sons by his third wife Keturha.
1 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Le-ummim. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. 5 Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6 But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country. Gen. 25:1-6
The Arab world contains approximately about 500 million people. They are very prosperous as these countries contain much of the world’s oil and minerals yet untouched.
For most of history these tribes continued in the faith of their father Abraham. When the Messiah came most of what was then the Easter Roman Empire follow His teachings, and where among the first that were called Christians. It was only later that the teaching of the crazy man Mohamed turned them from faith. Few stood up to the call of ,“convert or die.”
Now is the time to call the Son’s of Abraham back to the faith of their father.