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by Wayne Blank
A Handmaid Becomes A Concubine
"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar; 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. 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. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress."
"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!"
"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."
"The Angel Of The Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 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."
"The angel of The Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit to her." The angel of The Lord also said to her, "I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude."
"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 to your affliction. 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."
"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?" Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered."
"And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram." (Genesis 16:1-16 RSV)
The Birth Of Isaac
"And Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; every one who hears will laugh over me." And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would suckle children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."
"And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 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."
"And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 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. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring."
"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 Beersheba."
"When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 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."
"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. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation."
"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."
"And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt." (Genesis 21:6-21 RSV)
Fact Finder: In the New Testament, did the apostle Paul say that Sarah and Hagar represented the two covenants?