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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 16

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-16

Chapter 16

Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 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 ( Genesis 16:1-2 ).

It's a mistake. Not always is it a mistake to hearken unto the voice of your wife but this is the second time it speaks of a man hearkening to the voice of his wife and both of them at this point were mistakes. Now there will be other times when God will say, "Listen to Sarai and hearken unto the voice of Sarai thy wife".

Now Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan ( Genesis 16:3 ),

So Abraham was eighty-five years old.

and gave he her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, she began to despise Sarai ( Genesis 16:3-4 ).

The barrenness, you know, you can always say, "Well, maybe the husband is unable to have children. Maybe there's something defective with him". But when Hagar conceived so readily, obviously now it is Sarai who is barren, the curse of barrenness in that culture and so Hagar despised Sarai.

And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid unto thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: and the LORD judge between me and thee. Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in your hand; do to her as whatever you please. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water [The angel of Jehovah found her by the fountain of water] in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur ( Genesis 16:5-7 ).

Hagar was running back to Egypt. She was getting out of there and going to go back home. But man, to get back home she had to go through that horrible wilderness area. She surely would have perished in trying to return to Egypt. And so she was by this fountain of water.

And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, where did you come from? Where you going? She said, I'm fleeing from the face of my mistress Sarai. The angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands ( Genesis 16:8-9 ).

Now she actually at this, she was in wrong in despising Sarai and the Lord is telling her now to return and submit.

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, thou shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; which means God shall hear and because the LORD hath heard thy affliction ( Genesis 16:10-11 ).

So she was probably crying there by the fountain and God heard her cry and He said call your son Ishmael, which means, "the Lord will hear". God will hear.

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he will dwell in the presence of all his brothers. And she called the name of the LORD that spoke unto her, Thou God seest me: and so she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; which is between Kadesh and Bered ( Genesis 16:12-14 ).

So she had made pretty good way down into the desert to Sinai there going near Kadesh. The name of the well is "the well of him that lives and sees me." Beerlahairoi. Beer is well, the well of him that lives and sees me.

And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was eighty-six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram ( Genesis 16:15-16 ).


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 16". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/genesis-16.html. 2014.
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