Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian,
(Not necessarily a slave. Cp. 1 Sam. 25:41.)
whose name was Hagar (= flight. See v. 3.)
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.
(Sarai was still barren, and much time has passed and Abram still does not have the son that God promised to him. So we can see Sarai is going to do something about it, and try to help God out. She simply thinks that God has forgotten them. Abram found no problem with that, for this time he listened to his wife, and acted on her wishes.)
3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan,
(These 10 years to be taken into account in any calculations.)
and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
(This was strictly in accordance with the enactment of Khammurabi [‡ 146] which Abram had brought from Ur.)
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 (YHVH) judge between me and her."
(Pride took over in the heart of Hagar when she was in front of Sarai; and this will cause trouble in the household. Sarai is now trying to blame Abram because she has no children. Now Hagar thinks she is better than Sarai, and this hurts Sarai. With the problems growing between the two women, Abram gets it all dumped on him.)
6 But Abram said unto Sarai, "Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee." And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
(Abram will have nothing to do with the fighting between his two wives, and turns the decision making back to Sarai. In turn Sarai beat Hagar, and put so much pressure on Hagar that she left Abram's house. "Dealt hardly" - Heb. afflicted her. The Code of Khammurabi [‡ 119] forbade her being sold. Sarah could only lay tasks on her.)
7 And the angel of the LORD
(1st occ. = messenger = 2nd Person, as being sent. "The Angel of the Lord" in the Hebrew text is "Spirit of God". This messenger met Hagar as she is almost back home to her fathers, and spoke to her.)
found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
(Shur = wall. The nearest way to her native land. Shur was the name of the great fortified wall shutting Egypt from Palestine.)
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."
(God's message to Hagar is that she should go back to Sarai and use a little bit of common sense. Tell her that "this is her idea to start with, and tell her that I was only trying to please you.")
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 (= who God hears); 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;
(True today and for over 3,000 years. Cp. 21:29. Isa. 21:13. Jer. 3:2. Ezra 8:31. Ps. 10:8,9.)
and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."
(Esp. with the Midianites [37:28], Midian being his half-brother, by Keturah [cp. Judg. 8:22,24]. Cp. the fulfillment in 25:18. They have grown into what we call the Arab world today. It is common to see that when they are not fighting outsiders, they are fighting each other. To this day, the conflict between the Arab nations, and the nations of the "promised seed", Isaac, and the Israelites goes on.)
13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God (El) seest me: for she said, "Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me?"
(I.e. "Do I live, after seeing God?")
14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi (= the well of living after seeing); behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
15 And Hagar bare Abram a son:
(through infirmity of Sarah's faith. So the Law [parenthetically] "because of transgression" [Gal. 3:19]. Levitical law given, as Ismael was, until Christ the anti-type of Isaac should be born [Gal. 4:1-5, 19,31].)
and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
(Abram was eighty six years old when Ishmael was born. Isaac will not be born for another fourteen years. Though the wives of Abram tried to make the promises of God come true through Hagar, they just complicated the issue. Yet, Abram never lost sight of the fact that God was still in control. He did his utmost to please God, and this is the same simplicity that Christ taught. If you please God he blesses you, and God always pays His debts.)