Sarai’s Suggestion – Unbelief Actions (G-16-HBS)

SARAI’S SUGGESTION

As we come to this chapter, I must confess that I almost wish it were not in the Bible.

After Abram rose to the heights in chapter 15, you would say that he certainly is treading on high places—but he is not perfect.

In chapter 16 we see the lapse of this man’s faith relative to Sarai and Hagar, the Egyptian maid.

We have here the unbelief of both Sarai and Abram, and the birth of Ishmael. This is certainly a letdown after the wonder of the previous chapter.

Genesis 16:1-5 KJV

[1] Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

[2] And Sarai said unto Abram, 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.

[3] 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.

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

[5] And Sarai said unto Abram, 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.

Genesis 16:1

Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.


  • The previous Chapter sets out the faithfulness of God, this Chapter, the faithlessness of Abraham.

Genesis 16:2

And Sarai said unto Abram, 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.


  • meaning that it wasn’t the Lord who spoke to Abraham
  • proclaims the impatience of unbelief; the “flesh” quickly tires of waiting for the Divine promise
  • the path of Faith is full of dignity, the path of unbelief full of degradation
  • tired of waiting, they no longer set their hopes upon God, but rather upon the Egyptian slave girl.
  • which means that the Patriarch was not hearkening to the Voice of the Lord.

Genesis 16:3

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.


  • The Epistle to the Galatians declares that Sarah and Hagar represent the two principles of Law and Grace; Hagar represents salvation by works; Sarah Salvation by Faith; these principles are opposed to one another; Ishmael is born as the result of man’s planning and energy; Isaac is born as the result of God’s planning and energy; in the birth of Ishmael, God had nothing to do with it and, as regards the birth of Isaac, man was dead; so it is today, salvation by works entirely depends on man’s capacity to produce them; Salvation by Faith upon God’s ability to perform them; under a covenant of works, God stands still in order to see what man can do; under the Covenant of Grace, man stands still to see what God has done; the two covenants are opposed; it must be either Hagar or Sarah; if Hagar, God has nothing to do with it; if Sarah, man has nothing to do with it — Williams
  • As stated, ten being the number of completion, is it possible that, at this time, God had planned to bring forth Isaac?
  • Or better yet, how much do our failures of faith hinder in our lives that which God desires to do?
  • Or worse still, how much does it delay us with what He desires to do?

Genesis 16:4

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


  • she began to act unkindly toward Sarah, actually with contempt!

Genesis 16:5

And Sarai said unto Abram, 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 and Sarah think that, by their clever plan, they can hasten and bring to pass the Divine Promise; the result is misery; he succeeds in his plan, Ishmael is born; but better were it for Abraham and the world had he never been born! It is disastrous when the self-will plans of the Christian succeed
  • Sarah now sees her wrong, but too late! Works of the flesh, and this definitely was a work of the flesh, always bring on dissension.

I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,

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