Old testament characters - Hagar
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Old testament characters - Hagar

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A study of Hagar and the allegor

A study of Hagar and the allegor

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Old testament characters - Hagar Old testament characters - Hagar Presentation Transcript

  • Old Testament Characters: Hagar
    Laindon Bible Study
    6th July 2011
  • Plan for our study
    Background information
    A synopsis of Hagar’s recorded life
    Genesis chapters 16 and 21 in a little more detail
    Hagar’s final telling act
    “Which things are an allegory”
    Hagar and Islam
    Four key lessons for us
  • Background information
    Mentioned by name:
    12 times in the Old Testament (exclusively in Genesis 16, 21)
    Twice [‘Agar’] in the New Testament (both in Galatians 4)
    ⅓of times mentioned in Old Testament noted that she was “an/the Egyptian” (clearly a significant fact)
    Genesis 12 v 15-16
    15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her [Sarai], and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.
    16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
  • Background information
    A servant in the house of Abraham:
    Once “handmaid” (16 v 1)
    Five times “maid” (16 v 2, 3, 5, 6, 8)
    Four times “bondwoman” (21 v 10, 10, 12, 13)
    Probably [far?] younger than her mistress, because of childbearing age & appeared to conceive quickly
    Meaning of her name:
    Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon, Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Nelson’s Bible Dictionary – “flight”
    Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary – “a stranger; one that fears”
    A shift in tone
  • Hagar – a synopsis
  • Genesis 16
    Sarai was now ~75 years old and recognised “the Lord” had made her barren (cp. Psa. 127 v 3). Note: God had not said Sarai would be involved in bearing promised seed
    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.
    We must not be wise beyond the record - we might conclude that the motivation was right (no scriptural censure) and God was working providentially in this situation to bring about purpose
    ESV “she looked with contempt on her mistress” (servant status?)
    Proverbs 30 v 21, 23
    21 For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: 23For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress. [NKJV: “who succeeds her mistress”, ESV: “when she displaces her mistress”]
  • Genesis 16
    Abram leaves Hagar’s treatment in her hands. We might deduce that Sarai emphasised Hagar’s role as a maidservant through hard menial work [“dealt hardly” = humbled / afflicted]. Hagar fled rather than enduring this
    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.
    She was found by “the angel of the Lord”, the first of two interactions, “in the way to Shur”
  • ~80 miles
    Mamre = Hebron (Genesis 13v18)
    Hagar seeking to return to Egypt via Shur
  • Genesis 16
    Suggests that Hagar had previously not submitted to her mistress – this may have been the root cause of her affliction
    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 Beer-lahai-roi; 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.
    16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
    Aside: Hagar and Sarai’s rivalry
    • Hagar probably a young woman
    • Hagar conceiving showed that it was Sarai that was barren (i.e. not Abram)
    • Rivalry comparable to Hannah and Peninnah (1 Samuel 1 v 6)
    Conclusion: a very difficult situation for Sarai
    Hagar clearly had some understanding of God and His covenants (and Omniscience). Could be read two ways – thankful that God had seen her or else resentful that there is no escape from His ever watchful eye
    Promises made to Hagar, on account of her association with Abram, the Friend of God. Ishmael the father of the Arab races
  • 14 years pass...
    [cp. Gen. 16 v 16 and Gen. 21 v 5]
  • Genesis 21
    Son of Hagar “the Egyptian” shows Egyptian character – beginning of persecution
    It is made clear to Abraham that it is God’s will that Hagar and Ishmael are thrust out – this was an enactment of the allegory that Paul expounds in Galatians chapter 4. God describes Hagar as a “bondwoman” showing her true status in His eyes
    1 And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
    2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
    3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
    4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him... ... ... ...
    8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
    9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham,
    mocking.
    10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
    11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.
    12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
    13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.
    Nothing to do with Hagar that received blessings, “because he is thy [Abraham’s] seed”
  • Genesis 21
    14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.
    15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
    16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.
    17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
    18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
    19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
    20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
  • ~30 miles
  • Genesis 21
    Implies that God heard Ishmael’s cry and not Hagar's – confirming that she was probably not praying for God’s help (despite her experience of 14 years ago)
    14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.
    15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
    16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.
    17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
    18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
    19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
    20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
    Promises repeated for confirmation (cp. dreams of Pharaoh doubled in Genesis 41 v 32)
    Hagar clearly did not trust in God’s promises before that Ishmael would become a great nation. More self pity shown than a cry to God for help
  • A final act of defiance
    Genesis 21 v 21
    21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
    Genesis 24 v 1-4
    1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
    2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
    3 And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
    4But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
    Also see Genesis 6 v 2, ch. 27 v 46-28 v 2, ch. 28 v 8-9
  • Which things are an allegory
    Galatians 4 v 22-31
    22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
    23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
    24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
    25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
    26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
    27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
    28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
    29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
    30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
    31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
    A figure, to say something differently, to employ a likeness
  • Galatians 4 v 21
    21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
    Which things are an allegory
  • An aside: Mohammed’s flight
    Islamic tradition suggests Mohammed is a descendant of Hagar
    Mohammed’s flight from oppression in AD 622 is called the Hejira/Hijra (Arabic form of Hagar) and is the date from which the Muslim calendar begins
  • “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
    (Romans 15 v 4)
  • Lesson 1:
    In life we can choose to flee from responsibility or else submit to it
    ...we must learn obedience
  • Lesson 2:
    The enticement to return to our former manner of life is very strong
    ...’Egypt’ calls to us too
  • Lesson 3:
    Acquaintance with the covenants of promise is no guarantee for us
    ...we must be changed
  • Lesson 4:
    God’s providence works behind the scenes and brings about His purpose
    ...motivation is key
  • Old Testament Characters: Hagar