Hagar – 10 Key Points for Bible Study

From our lesson of Hagar (Genesis 16; 21:8-21; Galatians 4:22-31, here are some important points.  There is no Saturday Bible Study for the discussion on Hagar.

1. God promised Abram (Abraham) that he would be the Father of a great nation (Genesis 12:2), but Sarai (Sarah) had no children for 10 years. She convinced Abram to sleep with her Egyptian maidservant Hagar to build a family through her (Genesis 16:1-3). Abram’s name was not changed to Abraham until Genesis 17:5 and Sarai’s name was not changed to Sarah until Genesis 17:15.

2. Hagar conceived a child through Abram and upon becoming pregnant began to look down on her mistress (Genesis 16:4).

3. Sarai blamed Abram for the attacks on her by Hagar. She had in good faith, in line with the customs of assuring a son to the father, allowed Hagar to substitute for her as birth mother of a child, due to her being barren. The result of Sarai’s good faith was her being scorned by Hagar, The mother-to-be (Genesis 16:5).

4. Abram (Abraham) allowed Sarai to punish Hagar as she saw fit. The punishment was severe enough that Hagar decided to flee from her mistress Sarai (Genesis 16:6).

5. Hagar was “found” by The angel of the Lord near a spring, beside the road to Shur east of Egypt.  He asked her where she had come from and where she was going and she admitted she was running away from her mistress Sarai, perhaps headed for her homeland of Egypt (Genesis 16:7-8).

6. The angel of the Lord told Hagar to return to Sarai, to submit to her and in return she would have numerous descendants, starting with the child she was carrying, whom shall be named Ishmael. This child will live in hostility toward all his brothers (Genesis 16:9-12).

7. In the story there are questions as to specifically who was The angel of the Lord. For this lesson, we point out, that the NIV Study notes indicate that the personal uses of “I” in the  verse of Genesis 16:10, “The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” and Hagar’s proclamation of Genesis 16:13, She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who  sees me,” for she said, I have now seen the One who sees me.”  is different from the expected language of one who is called “an angel” or “messenger” in Hebrew(1).

8. Hagar returned to Abram and Sarai and bore Abram son and named him Ishmael (Genesis 16:15), but fourteen years later Sarah bore Isaac for Abraham (Genesis 21:2).

9. Hagar and Ishmael were eventually sent away because Sarah found Ishmael scorning Isaac (Genesis 21:9). God allowed the dismissal as Isaac was the child of promise (Genesis 21:10). Ishmael grew up in the desert and became an archer (Genesis 21:20).

10. In the Book of Galatians in the New Testament, Paul contrast Hagar and Ishmael to Sarah and Isaac to explain birth with ordinary future opposed to one born with promise and assurance.  Paul says the acceptance of Jesus makes one free from the law and gives one the ability to live by the promises and assurance of faith (Galatians 4:21-31). 

 1. The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume I, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, New York.

2. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.

3. Jean E Syswerda, Women of the Bible, Zondervan, 1999.



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