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Blogging the Bible, Day 6
January 7, 2007 — 6:15 pm

The Birth of Ishmael

Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is having problems conceiving a child. She goes to Abraham and says:

Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

Why do I sense a soap opera moment looming ahead?

And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.


In typical fashion, Sarah gets more than a little jealous at what’s going on. She goes to Abraham and says:

My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

Abraham doesn’t want to deal with all this drama, and he doesn’t. He tells Sarah “Look, it’s your problem. If your slave is causing you grief, deal with her any way you wish. And, boy oh boy, does Sarah take that to heart. She treats Hagar so badly that she runs away into the desert rather than dealing with her bitchiness any longer.

But, you can’t hide from the Lord, don’t you know. An angel came upon Hagar and commanded her to return to Sarah and submit to her wishes. In return, the angel promised Hagar that her seed would be voluminous.

So, Hagar tramps on back to camp and re-establishes herself. It’s not told how she is treated once she gets back. But, hey, she’s a slave…not only that, she’s a slave that ran away. And, not only that…she’s a slave that slept with Sarah’s husband and is now carrying his child. You’re guess is as good as mine, dear reader.

A short time later, Hagar gives birth to Ishmael, whom the Lord has said will be:

a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

To date, I’m not overly impressed with Abraham’s character. He willingly allowed his wife to become a sexual servant (in order to avoid bodily harm), he slept with his wife’s slave and after he knew that she conceived, allowed his wife to treat her any way she wished.

I’m not really seeing the “family values” connection here.

— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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