Gen 16: "These things may be taken figuratively, for the women
repr two covenants. One covenant is from mountain Sinai and bears children who
are to be slaves: This is Hagar" (Gal 4:24). Like Israel, Hagar came from Egypt
(v 1), sought profit thru connection with Abraham (v 4; cp Joh 8:33), despised
the true seed (v 4), found self homeless and desolate (vv 6-8), but is invited
to return and submit (vv 9,10) (WAbr 64).
HAGAR: An Arabic or Semitic name, meaning "wanderer" or
THE LORD HAS KEPT ME FROM HAVING CHILDREN (RESTRAINED ME
FROM BEARING): Typ, "faith had not yet come" (Gal 3:23) to spiritual Israel.
However, "through faith" Sarah later conceived (Heb 11:11).
ABRAM AGREED (HEARKENED) TO WHAT SARAI SAID: Sometimes
waiting for the promised fulfillment is the most difficult thing.
TEN YEARS: Abram is now 85, Sarai 75.
"Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot
bear up... an unloved woman who is married, and a maidservant who displaces her
mistress" (Pro 30:21,23). Barrenness was esteemed a reproach: Gen 19:31;
30:1,23; Lev 20:20. Fertility was esteemed an honor: Gen 21:6; 24:60.
YOU (Abram) ARE RESPONSIBLE (MY WRONG BE UPON THEE): That is,
for not rebuking Hagar. But the fault is at least partly Sarai's. Should not
Abraham and Sarah have foreseen such problems?
ANGEL: "Malak". First time used. Sig "messenger,
ambassador, or king". Angels are "ministering spirits" (Heb 1:14).
THE ROAD TO SHUR: Located near Red Sea (1Sa 15:7).
Possibly same as modern "Suez". Hagar was going back to Egypt! (Apostate Israel
was driven back to Egypt.)
WHERE ARE YOU GOING?: To point out the utter
helplessness of her state. Cp attitude of Jesus at well with Samaritan woman
GO BACK... SUBMIT: The frequent call of the prophets to
wayward Israel after the flesh, even when in exile.
The multiplying of Hagar's seed points to the large number of
descendants coming from Ishmael. He had 12 sons and these became the forefathers
of a number of the Arab peoples.
Hagar is assured that the child will count as hers, not as
Sarai's (WAbr 61). Note the 2 names of God: El hears ("Ishmael" = "whom El
hears") all nations, but Yahweh hears His people.
A WILD DONKEY (WILD MAN): Hardy, swift, difficult to
catch or tame. "A wild ass among men" (RV). The rebellious nature of this animal
and his longing to dwell in the desert: Job 39:5-8. This fits the character of
the Arab as shown through centuries of history even up to the present day. His
hand being against every man can be seen in the warlike nature of these peoples.
Ishmael mocking Isaac (Gen 21) typ of later conflicts between the Arabs and
...HAND AGAINST...: A common phrase for violence and
injury: Gen 37:27; Exo 9:3; Deu 2:16; Jos 2:19; 1Sa 18:17,21;
HE WILL LIVE IN HOSTILITY TOWARD ALL HIS BROTHERS: Or,
"to the east of" (NIV mg); lit, "in the presence (face) of" (AV). Cp the sons of
Keturah, whose rightful place was to the east of Isaac (Gen 25:6).
"The word is: rude, and bold and fearing no man; untamed,
intractable, living at large, and impatient of service and restraint. His hand
will be against every man -- that is his sin, and every man's hand against him
-- that is his punishment. Note, Those that have turbulent spirits have commonly
troublesome lives: they that are provoking, and injurious to others, must expect
to be repaid in their own coin. 'To run away, to run wild': hence the wild ass,
from its fleetness and its untamable nature. What is said of the wild ass (Job
39:5-8) affords the very best description that can be given of the Ishmaelites,
(the Bedouins and wandering Arabs), the descendants of Ishmael: 'Who hath sent
out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the brayer? Whose house I
have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. He scorneth the
multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. The range
of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing.'
Nothing can be more descriptive of the wandering, lawless, freebooting life of
the ancient Arabs than this.
"It is further said, 'His hand will be against every man, and
every man's hand against him' -- many potentates among the Abyssinians,
Persians, Egyptians, and Turks, have endeavoured to subjugate the wandering or
wild Arabs; but, though they have had temporary triumphs, they have been
ultimately unsuccessful... Cyrus, Pompey, and Trajan all endeavoured to conquer
Arabia, but in vain. From the beginning to the present day they have maintained
their independence, and God preserves them as a lasting monument of His
providential care, and an incontestable argument of the truth of Divine
Revelation. Had the Pentateuch no other argument to evince its Divine origin,
the account of Ishmael and the prophecy concerning his descendants, collated
with their history and manner of life during a period of nearly four thousand
years, would be sufficient. Indeed the argument is so absolutely demonstrative,
that the man who would attempt its refutation, in the sight of reason and common
sense would stand convicted of the most ridiculous presumption and folly"
THE GOD WHO SEES ME: "El-roi" = the God of seeing. God
hears (Ishmael) and sees (El-roi). Therefore he lives ('la-kai': v
I HAVE NOW SEEN THE ONE WHO SEES ME: A question in AV:
'Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?' Or, 'Have I also here seen
the latter purposes or designs of Him who sees me?'
"Hagar had trouble. She was pregnant with Abram's baby and as
a result had been mistreated by Sarai. The way she was mistreated must have been
so bad that Hagar fled from Sarai. But there was something, it seems, that Hagar
had not counted on. The LORD was watching. He knew all she had been through, all
she was going through, and He also knew the best way to solve her problems. So
the LORD appeared to Hagar and he told her what she needed to know.
"Hagar learned a very important lesson from her encounter with
God. She learnt that he is the God who sees, the God who hears and the God who
knows. Ishmael was named as a result of this lesson. His name means, 'God
hears,' or 'God sees.'
"There are times in our lives when we also have trouble. Like
Hagar, we may have a relationship that completely breaks down; we may feel like
running away, or leaving our marriage or our church because of the difficulties
we have. But like Hagar, we have to remember that God sees and hears, and when
our trials get too much for us, He will intervene because He will not try us
beyond what we are able to bear.
"Running away will not solve anything -- it will only delay or
stunt the development of our characters. Instead, let us give our problems to
God and trust him to solve them. After all, he is 'The Living One who sees me' "
BEER LAHAI ROI: "The well of him that liveth and seeth
me" (AV mg), or "the well of life and vision". Strategically placed between the
"storm" ("Bered") and the "sanctuary" ("Kadesh"). Cp Gen 25:11.
Hagar gives birth to Abraham's son, as the Mosaic Covenant
gave birth to Yahweh's firstborn (Exo 4:12), constituting the people of God as
"the ecclesia in the wilderness" (Act 7:38).