Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. (sarai therefore proposed to Abram that Hagar should become his secondary wife. This was a very usual custom in those days, but it was not a commendable one, and it was an unbelieving act on Sarai's part to propose it.
It is not always easy to patiently wait the Lord's time. We are all too apt to run to expedients of our own; as if the Lord needed our help to fulfil his promises.)
2. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. (Thus those we love best may be the means of leading us astray. The father of mankind sinned by hearkening to his wife, and now the father of the faithful follows his example.)
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 when Hagar 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. (It was Sarai who proposed the arrangement, and now she upbraids her husband for it. It is of no use to lay the blame of our faults upon others, for if we step out of the straight path we shall be sure personally to smart for it.)
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.
Thus Sarai was first unbelieving to God, next unkind to her husband, and then cruel to her servant; so one wrong step leads to others. Unbelief sins, and produces other sins. Even this holy woman was not without infirmity. "There is none good, save on, that is God."
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. (She did not say where she was going, for she did not know. Let each of us ask himself. "Whither am I going?")
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 is shall not be numbered for multitude. (No one could use such language as this but the Angel of the Covenant. Here is a proof of the inspired declaration, "My delights were with the sons of men.")
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 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? (First, God sees us; and then, by his gracious visitations, he leads us to look after himself.)
14. Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; (The well of the living One, my Seer;) 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. (But this was not, as he had hoped, the promised heir; on the contrary, he became the occasion of much trial to the family. When we call in legality to help grace, or sight to assist faith, we miss our object, and ensure for ourselves no little sorrow. The whole scene is a painful one, and should warn us that even in a gracious household sin may sow dissension, and cause heartburnings and distress.)
—Spurgeon's Devotional Bible, January 14 - Morning, Genesis XVI
|C. H. Spurgeon|
Quick as the apple of an eye,
O God, my conscience make!
Awake my soul, when sin is nigh,
And keep it still awake.
Oh may the least omission pain
My well-instructed soul;
And drive me to the blood again,
Which makes the wounded whole!