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Sarah, Hagar, and Abraham

Genesis 15:1-5; Genesis 16: 1-11, 13-16, Genesis 17: 1- 5, 15-16; Genesis 21: 1-3, 6, 8-19 (New Revised Standard Version)

... the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. "Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward will be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless and the heir of my house is [my servant] Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir." But the word of the Lord came to him, "This man shall not be your heir; no one but your own issue shall be your heir." He brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And then he said, "So shall your descendants be."

Now Sarai, Abram's wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, and Sarai said to Abram, "You see that the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her." And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, "May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my slave-girl to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked down on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!" but Abram said to Arai, "Your slave-girl is in your power; do with her as you please. Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she [Hagar] ran away from her [Sarai].

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am running away from my mistress Sarai." The angel of the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress and submit to her." The angel of the Lord also said to her, "I will greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude." And the angel of the Lord said to her,

Now you have conceived and shall bear a son;

You shall call him Ishmael [God hears]

for the Lord has given heed to your affliction...

So she named the Lord who spoke to her, "You are Elroi [God of seeing]," for she said, "Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?" Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [Well of the Living one who sees me]; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.

Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said, "I am God almighty; walk before me and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous." Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you; you shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham...

God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her."

The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son whom Sarah bore him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, "God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me."

The child grew and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac." The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring." So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, "Do not let me look on the death of my child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him." Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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