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.

HAGAR FLEES

The moral implications that you and I read into this are not quite here in the historical record. Abram and Sarai were brought up in Ur of the Chaldees where this was a common practice, and the moral angle is not the thing that for them was so wrong.

The terrible thing was that they just did not believe God. The wrong that they committed by Abram taking Sarai’s maid Hagar was a sin, and God treated it as such. But today we reverse the emphasis and say that taking a concubine is a sin, but we do not pay too much attention to the unbelief.

Yet the unbelief was the major sin here; that is, it was lots blacker than the other.

Genesis 16:6-16 KJV

[6] But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

[7] And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

[8] And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

[9] And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

[10] And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

[11] And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

[12] And he 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.

[13] And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

[14] Wherefore the well was called Beer–lahai–roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

[15] And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.

[16] And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

Genesis 16:6

But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.


  • The Scripture doesn’t tell us what Sarah did.

Genesis 16:7

And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.


  • Every evidence is, this “Angel of the Lord” is none other than a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Genesis 16:8

And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.


 

Genesis 16:9

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.


  • Had she not obeyed, she would no doubt have died in the wilderness.

Genesis 16:10

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.


  • However, the Lord said nothing about Faith, because there was no faith in the heart of Hagar, and neither would there be any in the heart of her son, Ishmael.

Genesis 16:11

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.


  • The fault of her situation did not belong with Hagar, but rather with Abraham and Sarah; however, she ultimately forfeited what the Lord could have done for her by opposing His Plan, which was Isaac. “Ishmael” means “God hears;” however, it has nothing to do with Ishmael, but rather the plight of Hagar.

Genesis 16:12

And he 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.


  • These predictions describe the Arab people perfectly. They cannot get along with anyone in the world, and they cannot even get along among themselves. The descendants of Ishmael dwell in the presence of all his brethren [Israel], but do not subdue them and, in fact, never will subdue them!

Genesis 16:13

And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?


  • Hagar recognized that the Angel was, in fact, the Lord, actually the God of Abraham
  • Hagar gave the name to the Lord of “El Roi,” which means, “You are a God Who permits Himself to be seen.” As is obvious, she truly had a wonderful Revelation, but, sadly and regrettably, her self-will overrode her faith. She wanted her son, Ishmael, to be the heir of Promise, but that was not to be. She would even go so far, even as we will see, to try to kill Isaac. And so do all who reject the Cross follow in her footsteps.

Genesis 16:14

Wherefore the well was called Beer–lahai–roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.


  • “Beer-lahai-roi” means “Well of the Living-Seeing God.”

Genesis 16:15

And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.


  • Hagar, without doubt, related to Abraham all that had happened, placed herself under the authority of Sarah, and Abraham was then careful to name the boy what the Lord had said —“Ishmael.”

Genesis 16:16

And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.


  • Onescore= 20 years, so 20 years times 4 = 80, plus six years totals 86
  • Abraham would yet have to wait some 14 years before the Promise would be fulfilled. As previously asked, I have to wonder if this lapse of faith did not prolong the waiting period for the Promise to be realized!

 

 

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