Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

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.

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 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 judge between me and thee.

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.

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.

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 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; 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; 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?

14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

MEMORY VERSE: O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. —Psalm 139:1-3

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Hagar, the Egyptian maid of Sarai and second wife of Abram, fleeing from the harsh treatment of Sarai, was found by the Lord near a fountain in the desert and given direction, comfort and a prophecy of her posterity. She named the fountain after the personal revelation given her by Jehovah-El Roi.

WORD DEFINITIONS

Genesis 16:1 “Hagar”: stranger or sojourner; a word purely Hebrew, probably given her by Abram. It comes from a Arabic verb which means “to flee” or “run away.” Whether she was part of the group of servants Pharaoh gave Abram when he left Egypt or an Egyptian fugitive rescued by Abram when he lived in the Negeb, the dry plains country in the southern part of the land of Canaan which lay nearest Egypt, we may only speculate. She may have been given the name afterward because of her flight into the desert away from Sarai.

Genesis 16:3 “Wife”: “Used to describe an inferior, though not degrading, relation, in countries where polygamy prevails. Hagar, Sarai’s slave, of whom she had the entire right of disposing, was given by her mistress’ spontaneous offer, to be the secondary wife of Abram, in the hope of obtaining the long-looked-for heir” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary). “Concubinage, under that dispensation, was perfectly lawful; therefore he could, with equal justice and innocence, when it was lawful in itself, and now urged by the express desire of Sarai, take Hagar to wife. And it is very likely that he might think that his posterity, whether by wife or concubine, as both were lawful, might be that intended by the promise” (Clarke’s Commentary).

Genesis 16:6 “Dealt hardly with her”: afflicted or mishandled her in order to humble her.

Genesis 16:9 “Angel”: messenger. “Of the Lord”: Jehovah (Yahweh), the existing one; the proper name of the one, true God. The term, “Maleach [angel or messenger] Jehovah” (also Maleach Elohim in other places) is constantly spoken of as being Divine, not a created angel; and is worshipped by those to whom He was revealed without rebuke. “This person, who is here called malach Yehovah, the Angel of the Lord, is the same who is called dellac hammalach haggoel, the redeeming Angel or the Angel the Redeemer, Genesis 48:16; malach panaiv, the Angel of God’s presence, Isaiah 63:9; and malach habberith, the Angel of the Covenant, Malachi 3:1; and is the same person which the Septuagint, Isaiah 9:6, term the Angel of the Great Counsel or Design” (Clarke’s Commentary).

Genesis 16:11 “Ishmael”: God hears.

Genesis 16:14 “Beerlahairoi”: translated by some, “Well of the living One of vision,” or “The living One who sees me;” or by others, “Well of the life of vision,” where after seeing God life was preserved or new life was imparted.

LESSON BACKGROUND

It had been ten years since God called Abram to leave his country and sojourn in Canaan and had promised him a son. During that time, because of famine, he traveled to Egypt. In fear of Pharaoh killing him and taking his wife Sarai because of her great beauty, Abram claimed her as sister and not wife. Pharaoh did desire Sarai and took her with him, but God intervened and Pharaoh restored Abram’s wife to him along with gifts of servants and livestock. After this Abram and his nephew Lot parted ways; Abram became involved in conflicts between area kings, rescuing Lot, who was a prisoner of the war; was blessed by a special king/priest, Melchizedek; and had a special visit from God, which resulted in Abram building an altar of sacrifice and entering into a covenant with God.

Abram was now eighty-five and Sarai was seventy-five, and there was still no sign of a child being born to them. God had not as yet revealed that their heir would be born through Sarai. Their faith yet being imperfect, desperation to achieve the conception of the son who would bring the promised Messiah drove Sarai to suggest that Abram father the son by her maid Hagar, and Abram to agree with her.

The dynamics in this home are too complicated to describe in this short lesson;

however, the main focus today is what happened when Hagar fled into the desert. Fully intending to run all the way back to Egypt, she was “found” by the Angel of the Lord. As we discovered in the Word Definitions, this Angel was no other than the Lord Jesus Christ in the form He often took in the Old Testament when He appeared to people from time to time.

Here you have a home situation that, though lawful in that time, was clearly out of line with God’s original plan; people who were supposed to be people of faith—the only people she knew who believed in the one, true God—being harsh and overbearing; and a slave, a foreigner, a young woman: alone, unprotected, afraid, newly pregnant and on the run. He came to her as One who “saw” her, who had been looking after her with tender love and care, who knew her, knew her unborn child, and knew his future. In awe and worship, she touched the water bubbling up out of the desert place, whispering, “He sees me! He knows me! Have I really seen Him face to face? Watched Him walk away until he faded from sight? Oh, this is a blessed place! You are the well of the living God who sees me, whom I have seen and yet live!”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck

DISCUSSION:

1. Hagar: Define her name and explain her status.

2. Sarai: Can you explain the motivation for her actions?

3. Angel: Share the blessed significance of this individual.

COMMENTS AND APPLICATION

Several things have touched me deeply as I studied this story. First, the raw humanity that is presented here. “Here in our weakness You find us falling before Your throne.” The desperation of waiting ten years on a promise and still no sign of fruition. The failing bodies and yearning hearts. The flawed idea which brought bitterness, regret and family conflict. A young slave woman with nowhere to go, and an expected baby—what would happen to him?

Secondly, I see a loving Savior, a Redeemer; One who had never forgotten His promise; whose eyes continually search the earth for broken, searching, wayward hearts who would receive His help. Does this not point us, wounded and lonely and lost, to the seeking Savior, the wounded Savior on the cross who understands, who knows us, who can direct us?

O, that hearts today would open their eyes to the One who sees and hears and knows! You who are running; you who feel alone and forsaken; you who feel like a foreigner and of no worth to anyone. You who feel used by religious people, who, although loved and taught by God, have so much yet to learn! Maybe you are a young lady, alone, expecting a baby, and scared. God sees you and your baby. He has a plan for your child. Listen to Him, and follow what He says to you. He is your Jehovah-El Roi.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck

REFLECTIONS

Jehovah-El Roi—the Living One who sees me! How complicated things get when we make our own choices and get out of God’s will. William Jenks said, “When men’s passion is upon the throne, reason is out the door, and is neither heard nor spoken.” The trouble is in its infant stage here when Abraham is feeling the weight of the conflict between the memory. Humanly speaking, it looks like God could have been justified by saying, “You all got yourselves into this mess; you get yourselves out of it,” but He didn’t. He looks down and sees Hagar and speaks such comfort to her.

To a young woman who was expecting a baby, who was in a desert place, and running from the abusive environment she was in, this meeting from God was special. Can you imagine that she was actually willing to return to Sarah and Abraham after this visit with God? After she heard the voice of God and recognized that the Living One saw her, she said, “Thou God seest me.” She then was without reluctance to return to her master.

We sing the song, “Just To Know That He Knows.” What comfort it brings to us when we know He sees us and understands what we are going through! This meeting with God was one of two that Hagar was to have. Direction and prophecy were given both times (Genesis 16:7 and 21:17). The first visit was before Ishmael was born and the next was approximately 13 years later. We may forget God’s promises to us and need reassuring once in a while, but “Thou God who sees me” is always faithful to pay us a visit, cheer, and comfort us along the way.

—Bro. James Bell