Biblical Wonder Woman: HAGAR is widely known throughout Christendom as the one who gave birth to Abram’s first biological son, Ishmael. We quickly remember that when she knew she had conceived, she looked down on Sarai – Abram’s wife, her mistress. Hagar’s conception was blatant proof that Abram was not the cause of their state of childlessness. The Amplified Bible says, “… she looked with contempt on her mistress [regarding Sarai as insignificant because of her infertility].” (Genesis 16:4) Hagar’s ability to conceive would on the surface appear to shift her into a greater position than Sarai; however, this is not really the case. The Bible clearly states that Sarai was Hagar’s mistress; Hagar was Sarai’s Egyptian slave.
Sarai’s harsh treatment of the one who could produce what she could not, drove Hagar to set out on her own, back to her own land and her own people – Egypt. It was the Lord, Himself, Who intervened and directed Hagar to return to the place of persecution to deliver and care for her son. Her obedience to God’s directive to return and submit to Sarai’s authority indicates her loyalty to the God she recognized as ‘The One Who Sees Me’. God’s promise to her was to greatly multiply her seed just as He had promised to do for Abraham.
We are not told in Holy Writ how old Hagar was when she gave birth to Ishmael, but we do know from the culture of that time, that Hagar cared for Abram’s oldest son as Sarai’s servant providing care for Ishmael who was actually considered to be Sarai’s son. Hagar had no say in submitting to the act that resulted in the conception and had no say, with the exception of the influence of presence, in the rearing of her biological son. Can you imagine producing something for someone else without your initial permission and then providing care for what you produced under the harsh oversight of the one who ordered you to produce it?
The years between God’s revelation of purpose to Hagar and Sarah’s command for Hagar and Ishmael to be banished were years where Hagar cared for her son as she continued to serve a disgruntled mistress. Sarah finally giving birth as God had spoken would shift the spotlight for a moment from the first son to the promised son. It was a moment of ‘sibling shenanigans’ that provoked Sarah to make the demand that shifted Hagar’s life drastically for the second time. She found herself in the wilderness once again, but this time with her son, some bread, and a skin of water. This time she did not run away, she was sent away, by the very one who created the circumstance that became the problem in the first place!
So what became of this obedient servant who was cast out? The name Hagar, which is of Hebrew origin and means ‘forsaken’ is not the story of the Egyptian slave… she was not forgotten by God! Her testimony is a beautiful representation of “Improbable Hope” (A #ChurchSchoolSaturday #SumUp message via YouTube). Although Hagar’s beginning and banishment are widely known stories, little emphasis is placed on the events following God opening her eyes and revealing a well to her in the wilderness of Beer-sheba (Genesis 21).
This Biblical Wonder Woman: HAGAR returned to her homeland of Egypt and at the appointed time took a wife for her son from amongst her people. Genesis 25:12-16 documents that God honored the promise He gave to Hagar which mirrored the promise He gave to Abraham: He made them BOTH great nations. “This is the family tree of Ishmael son of Abraham, the son that Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maid, bore to Abraham. These are the names of Ishmael’s sons in the order of their births: Nebaioth, Ishmael’s firstborn, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah—all the sons of Ishmael. Their settlements and encampments were named after them. Twelve princes with their twelve tribes.”
Twelve tribes were birthed through the Egyptian slave who was banished. This obedient servant carried, birthed, nurtured, protected and provided for the seed that produced twelve princes. Her story did not end in the wilderness, but continues through the history of her descendants, the Hagarenes, also mentioned as the Hagarites. Although Hagar had moments when she understandably felt hopeless, she consistently made do and pressed forward. Biblical Wonder Women are STEADFAST!