The Sad Story Of Fertile Hagar In The Bible

Hagar is one of the most important women in the Bible, and she was introduced in The Book of Genesis, Chapter 16. Based on the scripture, Hagar was an Egyptian slave who served as a maid to Abraham's wife, Sarah. As the story goes, Sarah was unable to bear children and Abraham was left with no heir. Sarah then decided to allow her husband to bed Hagar, saying, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Go sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her" (via Bible Gateway). At that time, it was acceptable for a wife to give her servant to her husband if she is considered barren. However, the common understanding was that any child the servant gives birth to will be the rightful heir of the husband and wife and not the servant, as stated by Bible Ref.

Abraham agreed with the arrangement and soon, Hagar conceived. Carrying the child of Abraham resulted in changes in Hagar's demeanor. The servant who was once meek became proud and arrogant, much to Sarah's displeasure. She confronted her husband about Hagar's behavior and in response, Abraham stated that since Hagar was her slave, it was up to Sarah to do whatever she thinks was best given their situation. According to Amazing Bible Timeline, Sarah mistreated Hagar, which caused the slave to run away and go back to Egypt.

An angel's message to Hagar

On her way home to Egypt, Hagar was found by an angel of the Lord near a desert spring. Upon learning about her journey and her decision to leave her mistress, the angel advised Hagar to return back to Sarah and "submit to her." In return, the angel said that the Lord will bless Hagar with a son named Ishmael, which means "God hears." The angel added that Hagar will be given so many "countless" descendants. Per Bible Gateway, Hagar responded to the angel by saying, "You are the God who sees me. I have now seen the One who sees me."

Hagar returned back to Sarah and gave birth to Ishmael. After 14 years, however, Sarah and Abraham were able to conceive their own son named Isaac. According to Britannica, Sarah feared that Ishmael would still be deemed Abraham's heir despite the birth of Isaac, so Hagar and Ishmael were banished to the desert with only water for sustenance. Hagar prayed to the Lord to keep Ishmael alive after the water has run out. According to Guide Posts, an angel appeared and said, "Do not be afraid. God has heard the boy crying." The Lord gave Hagar and Ishmael the nourishment they needed to survive, and Ishmael lived to the age of 137 years old with plenty of descendants.