Genesis 16 – Sarai and Hagar

Genesis 16

Abram and Sarai had been settled in Canaan for 10 years and were still childless. Notice verse 2 where Sarai does what people still all too often want to do – blame God for things in their life not being as they think they should be right now. So Sarai decides that since God isn’t doing things to suit her, she will take care of matters for Him.  This didn’t work out well then, and it doesn’t work out when we try to do it now. Sarai “gives” Abram her servant (Hagar), so she can conceive a child. That part succeeds, but when she becomes pregnant, Hagar “looks down” upon Sarai, and this is predictably unwelcome.

So Abram follows Adam’s example of bad leadership, and  dumps the problem back in Sarai’s lap for her to do “as she pleases.”  What pleases her is to tell Hagar to take a hike.  Hagar flees, alone and pregnant, into the wilderness. There, an angel of the Lord appears and  sends her back promising to make her offspring too numerous to count. She is to name her child Ishmael (which means “God hears”), and is told that he will be a”a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”  And indeed, Ishmael will be the father of what we know as the Arab nation.

Abram clearly still has much to learn, and God is not pleased with his actions.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.


Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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