The StorY of Sarah, Hagar & Abraham. The role of women in the Old Testament.
The role of women in the Old Testament
When Sarah could not conceive a child for Abraham, she gave her maid, Hagar, to him to conceive a son, which was the custom in this day. But, when Hagar conceived Ishmael, Sarah became jealous and was mean, and Hagar left.
1Now Sarai Abram\'s wife bore him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2And Sarai said to Abram, Behold now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing: I pray you, go in to my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3And Sarai Abram\'s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelled ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 5And Sarai said to Abram, My wrong be on you: I have given my maid into your bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and you. 6But Abram said to Sarai, Behold, your maid is in your hand; do to her as it pleases you. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
And God found her beside a fountain and when she told him she had fled Sarah because she was so mean, he told her to return to Sarah and he would make her seed multiply.
7And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8And he said, Hagar, Sarai\'s maid, from where came you? and where will you go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9And the angel of the LORD said to her, Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hands. 10And the angel of the LORD said to her, I will multiply your seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
God told Hagar she would have a son named Ishmael and he would be wild and go against his family and shall live in the wild amongst his brothers.
11And the angel of the LORD said to her, Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael; because the LORD has heard your affliction.
12And 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 brothers.
13And she called the name of the LORD that spoke to her, You God see me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that sees me? 14Why the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
15And Hagar bore Abram a son: and Abram called his son\'s name, which Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
1And the LORD appeared to him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, see, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3And said, My LORD, if now I have found favor in your sight, pass not away, I pray you, from your servant: 4Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort you your hearts; after that you shall pass on: for therefore are you come to your servant. And they said, So do, as you have said. 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes on the hearth. 7And Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man; and he hurried to dress it. 8And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
And the Lord told Abraham and Sarah that Sarah would bear a son. Sarah laughed because she was already very old and past the age for having children. And God said, do not doubt me you will have a son.
9And they said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10And he said, I will certainly return to you according to the time of life; and, see, Sarah your wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13And the LORD said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, No; but you did laugh.
Abraham passed off his wife Sarah as his sister, which resulted in her being taken into the harem of Abimelech,king of Gerar.
It becomes clear that death will follow if Abimelech’s actions are not reversed and Sarah returned, untouched, to Abraham. God told Abimelech he was as good as dead if he did not act decisively and according to God’s directions.
1And Abraham journeyed from there toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. 2And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 3But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you are but a dead man, for the woman which you have taken; for she is a man\'s wife. 4But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, LORD, will you slay also a righteous nation? 5Said he not to me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands have I done this. 6And God said to him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart; for I also withheld you from sinning against me: therefore suffered I you not to touch her. 7Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for you, and you shall live: and if you restore her not, know you that you shall surely die, you, and all that are yours.
Abimelech said, “What have you done? Why didn’t you tell me that Sarah is your wife but instead you told me that she is your sister,” Abraham replied,” I was afraid of what you will do to me. Sarah is the daughter of my father. She is my half sister anyway.”
8Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. 9Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, What have you done to us? and what have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? you have done deeds to me that ought not to be done. 10And Abimelech said to Abraham, What saw you, that you have done this thing? 11And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife\'s sake. 12And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father\'s house, that I said to her, This is your kindness which you shall show to me; at every place where we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.
Then Abimelech took sheep, cattle, and servants and gave them to Abraham. Abimelech told Abraham that he can live anywhere in his territory. Abimelech also give Sarah 1000 silver pieces to vindicate her and him before everyone that was present. Abraham prayed for Abimelech and God restored the household of Abimelech. Previously, God had closed the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. 15And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before you: dwell where it pleases you. 16And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to you a covering of the eyes, to all that are with you, and with all other: thus she was reproved. 17So Abraham prayed to God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bore children. 18For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham\'s wife.
And Sarah had a son, Isaac, and Abraham circumcised him at eight days old as God commanded. And Abraham was a 100 years old. And Sarah was thrilled to have a child of her own.
1And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had spoken. 2For Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. 4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born to him. 6And Sarah said, God has made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7And she said, Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.
Sarah saw the son of Hagar, Ishmael and was very unpleased. Sarah told Abraham, “Get rid of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, for Isaac will be the heir and not Ishmael.” Abraham felt unhappy with what Sarah had said because Ishmael is his son. But God told Abraham,” Listen to what your wife, Sarah said and send the boy Ishmael away. Do not worry about Ishmael. I will also make Ishmael into a nation because he is your son.”
8And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
9And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born to Abraham, mocking. 10Why she said to Abraham, Cast out this female slave and her son: for the son of this female slave shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. 11And the thing was very grievous in Abraham\'s sight because of his son. 12And God said to Abraham,
Let it not be grievous in your sight because of the lad, and because of your female slave; in all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac shall your seed be called. 13And also of the son of the female slave will I make a nation, because he is your seed. 14And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
So out in the wilderness Hagar went, and she finally ran out of food and hid the child and stopped and wept. And God came to her and said, “Don’t worry, I will make Ishmael a great nation,” and he provided her food and water. And Ishmael went on to found the lines of the Arabic people.
15And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: 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. 17And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, What ails you, Hagar? fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in your hand; for I will make him a great nation. 19And 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.
20And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelled in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21And he dwelled in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.