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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Genesis 16

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 Genesis 16

When I've heard people talk about this chapter, they say that it was wrong of Sarai to give Hagar to her husband so that she could conceive, because she did not trust God's promise of children to Abram.

But my quesiton is this - did God ever promise Abram children specifically from Sarai?

 2007/9/18 4:30

Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2664
Nottingham, England

 Re: Genesis 16

The answer to your question, about God promising Abraham children by Sarah is found in Genesis 17v16, 'And I will bless her and also give you a son by her ...

That's it.

God bless

 2007/9/18 4:47Profile

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: Genesis 16

The Gen 17 specific is later than the folly of Gen 16 and Abram's fathering of Ishmael. I don't think there is a specific promise to Sarah earlier than this. However, God's first general promise of progeny to Abram was in Gen 12:1-3 and is repeated in Gen 12:7.

Where did Hagar come into the story? I think the most likely answer is in Gen 12:10 when Abram and Sarai went to Egypt. Pharaoh gave 'male and female servants' to Abram in Gen 12:16. I think it is likely that this is where Hagar comes into the picture. So Hagar arrived on the scene later than God's first promise of progeny Abram.

It is true that God had not said specifically 'by Sarai' but as 'Sarai' was his only wife at the time of the promise I think Abram would have been justified in concluding that Sarai would be the mother of the promised descendent.

Sarai's solution to her barrenness was 'to go down to Egypt' or to use the little bit of Egypt that they were carrying about with them. No doubt Sarai was frustrated but frustration is never a call to action but to prayer. (cf Gen 25:21, 30:22; 1Sam 1:10) It's most often those 'little bits of Egypt' that are the saints greatest temptation to take their cause into their own hands rather than depending upon God in prayer.

Ron Bailey

 2007/9/18 6:29Profile


The sad thing is that Abraham gave in after he must have resisted the temptation to take another wife for many years. It shows something about his faith as well as his love for Sarah (or Sarai, as she was then). Even if he did cave in eventually.

A man would often divorce his wife if she was barren, or take an extra wife, (often, like Hagar, a slave-wife, a concubine), as well as the first wife. Jacob had two "proper" wives and two concubines, and had children by all of them. Hannah, Samuel's mother, was apparently the most loved wife, but her husband took another wife, probably because Hannah had no children. (I'm rather amused at Elkanah's clumsy attempt to comfort her, "Am I not better to you than ten sons?" - typical man ) ;-)



 2007/9/19 18:10

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