Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Genesis 16: Abram Bangs the Maid

Check out today's episode

Sarai and Hagar (v. 1-16)

Abram's wife Sarai said that the lord had prevented her from having a child, so she gave her servant Hagar to her husband to take as a wife.

I love that Sarai says that God prevented her from getting pregnant. It actually reminds me of a scene from Sandman where Lucifer is complaining that everyone blames him for everything bad they do
Why do they blame me for all their little failings? They use my name as if I spent my entire days sitting on their shoulders, forcing them to commits acts they would otherwise find repulsive. "The devil made me do it." I have never made one of them do anything. Never. They live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them.
Anyway, this is a mentality that I unfortunately see still today, bad things can't just happen, there has to be some pulling strings to make it happen, whether it be God or the devil.

Oh yeah, and let's not gloss over the polygamy that just happened, according to this story. I was actually curious about the wording, what does "as a wife" mean?Perhaps it just means to have sex with her, but not actually for her to be his wife or something. I looked at some alternate translations, and this just seems to be incorrect, most of the translations say that Hagar would be his wife. I think it is safe to say we are talking about polygamy here.

Interesting, according to Guzik this is an arrangement where the child would be considered Sarai and Abram's, rather than Hagar and Abram. Perhaps wife isn't the right word, but we don't have an appropriate word for it. I'm not really sure what to make of it then.

So Hagar gets pregnant and she looks on Sarai with contempt. Sarai complains to Abram who tells Sarai that Hagar is her slave and Sarai could do as she wishes with Hagar. So Sarai treated her harshly and she fled.

This story is terrible. Sarai and Abram have trouble getting pregnant. Sarai blames God and then let's Abram marry and bang her servant to give him a son. When that actually happens she doesn't like Hagar's attitude and complains to Abram. He apparently doesn't care about his new wife and unborn child at all because he tells Sarai to do whatever she wants, and she winds up being so terrible that Hagar runs off. Who exactly is supposed to be the good guy here?

From Guzik
Abram was certainly in the flesh when he agreed to inseminate Hagar and not trusting in God’s ability to provide an heir through Sarai. But this wasn’t a matter of a sensual romance. According to the custom of the day, Hagar would actually sit on the lap of Sarai as Abram inseminated her, to show that the child would legally belong to Sarai, as Hagar was merely a substitute for Sarai.
Whoa. One more quote from him.
Sarai blamed the whole situation on Abram, and for good cause. He should have acted as the spiritual leader and told his wife God was able to perform what He promised, and they didn’t need to try to “help God out” in the works of the flesh.
I agree that Abram should have done that, but Sarai has to take some of the blame too, she initiated all of this.

While Hagar was away an angel of the lord met up with her and told her that she should go back and submit to Sarai. He also said that she should name the child Ishmael and that her descendants would be numerous and that Ishmael would be "a wild donkey of a man".

What does being a wild donkey of a man mean? Is it good?

From Guzik talking about the angel of the lord:
We can assume that this was God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, appearing to Abraham before His incarnation and birth at Bethlehem. We assume this because of God the Father it says, No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:18), and no man has ever seen God in the Person of the Father (1 Timothy 6:16). Therefore, if God appeared to someone in human appearance in the Old Testament (and no one has seen God the Father) it makes sense the appearance is of the eternal Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, before His incarnation in Bethlehem.
They are so desperate to insert Jesus into the old testament they do it when it makes no sense. This wasn't even God appearing to them it was one of his angels, but even if it was God, saying it must have been Jesus is crazy
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Also, I can't help but note that God promised Abram's descendants a bunch of land, of which Ismael surely qualifies. But when Sarai has a son later he will also be promised that same land. I looked up the wikipedia page and confirmed my vague recollection that Ishmael plays a significant role is Islam.  Is this shit the source of the fighting over the holy land? Not just that both sides think God promised them their land, but because, according to Christianity, God indeed promised both sides the land? That totally makes it worse.


  1. The story of Hagar always disgusted me. First, Sarai lends Hagar to Abram like a piece of property. Hagar's consent or wishes were never considered. Since Hagar was a slave who was not it a position to refuse or resist, how is this not rape?

    Second, what kind of God would condone slavery, much less a mistress' abuse of her slave? Why did God make Hagar submit to Sarai, rather than help her flee to safety and freedom? Ugh.

    1. You're totally right. As I was reading this yesterday I was thinking of her more as a maid than a slave. Adding that perspective makes a terrible story worse


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