Genesis 16, Hagar and Ishmael

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jun 15, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    Abram has now received not only the promise of a multitude of descendents, but that the Messiah will be from his line as well! It is so easy to sit in judgment of him right now as this next episode in his life unfolds, and accuse him of unfaithfulness to God. But I wonder what one of us would do in his position? It's something to think about. Remember, when you are thinking, that it was normal to have children through the husband's concubine. Any children born to the concubine could be claimed by the wife or, at the very least, would be eligible for all legal rights as heirs if the father so chose.

    With this in mind, we see that the time is passing for Sarai and Abram and Sarai is still barren. And so, at her suggestion, Abram takes Sarai's maidservant, Hagar, to bed and impregnates her.

    What we read next is that when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to scorn, or despise Sarai. Why? First of all, children were (and are) a blessing from the Lord. Secondly, at that time there was no way of knowing if the problem in conceiving lay with the husband or the wife if the husband had only one wife and was faithful to her, and if the wife was faithful to the husband. So when Hagar conceived, everyone knew that it was not Abram's fault that Sarai had not conceived, and that Hagar was now blessed by God whereas Sarai was not.

    How bitter Hagar's scorn must have been for Sarai! We see this in her totally irrational response when she talks to Abram. She accuses him of the whole mess and then closes with "May the Lord judge betwen you and me." That's pretty strong, folks!

    At this point, Abram would be fully justified in throwing the mess back in Sarai's face. But he loves her. He will not do that. ("Love is pateint, love is kind....") Forced to choose between Sarai and Hagar at this point, there is no question in Abram's mind. He tells Sarai to do with Hagar as she wishes.

    And Sarai does. She mistreats Hagar terribly. It must have been terribly, because Hagar runs away. Servants then knew to expect all manner of random and unpredictable treatment from their owners, so Sarai must have been pretty nasty for Hagar to take off.

    Then Hagar is met by the Lord Himself in the desert. The actual title used is 'angel of the Lord,' but that it is really the Lord becomes evident when, after He has told her to go back to Sarai and submit to her, He says I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."

    The Lord then prophesies about the coming son. His name will be Ishmael, "for the Lord has heard of your misery." Ishmael means "God hears."

    But, the prophecy continues, this Ishmael will be 'a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand will be against him and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.'

    Many of Ishmael's descendants are now Muslims. The descendants of Ishmael and those of Isaac, who is yet to be born, were at war almost from the start and these wars have continued with few interruptions right up to the present day.

    It is Hagar who then gives the place its name: Beer Lahai Roi, meaning "well of the Living One who sees me."

    Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born.

    The paragraph from the essay which has to deal with this is as follows:

    Now, I was about to click this in when a thought occurred to me. Adam and Eve. God has designed marriage with the ideal that each will submit to the other (see Ephesians) in love and care even though the man takes the lead as head of the house. Adam and Eve would have had a perfect marriage before sin. I have often wondered if Adam ate the fruit (he was not the one deceived, Paul tells us later) because he would rather be with Eve than without her? Did he think he could save her?

    Or, in light of the Abram/Sarai mess, did Adam simply choose this time to submit to Eve's wishes...?

    Another one to find out in heaven... [​IMG]
     
  2. tyndale1946

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    Helen what are we do with this chapter from the Galatian brethren?

    Galatian 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

    22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

    23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

    24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

    25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

    26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

    27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

    28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

    29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

    30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

    31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

    What do we do with verses 23 thru 26 and why does the scriptures say this is an allegory? What is an allegory in comparison to a parable? Didn't John Bunyan write Pilgrims Progress in an allegorical structure? You have read Pilgrims Progress haven't you?... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  3. tyndale1946

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  4. AITB

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    I've heard a few people graciously say that maybe Adam ate it so he'd share Eve's punishment. Who knows...that certainly gives him the benefit of the doubt. [​IMG]

    If he thought he could 'save' her then I'd say he had a bit of an ego problem?

    My pastor preached last week that part of Adam's sin was that he abdicated his headship role by letting Eve 'lead' him into sin (something like that).

    Anyway, Scripture is clear that Adam sinned...even if some of his thoughts were actually kind ones towards Eve...

    I've also heard it taken this way, that Adam sinfully put Eve before God in thinking "I'd rather be banished with her than here alone with God - since she's now going to be banished". I guess that would mean she was an idol to him, as it were...if that's a correct interpretation...

    It fascinates me how many ways and how far one can take the Adam and Eve account (without going outside what's clearly said in the Bible, that is)

    Btw about Abraham and Sarah, I love when God says to Abraham, later [when they disagree over sending Ishmael away] "You'd better listen to your wife!" :D

    One of my favorite places in the Bible ;)

    Seriously, though, it shows that wives sometimes have good ideas and headship doesn't mean "never listen to your wife"! [​IMG]
     
  5. Helen

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    Hi Glen!

    An allegory is a figurative picture. The Ark of Noah, as real as it was, was also an allegory for salvation. The reality of something does not prevent it from being used as a picture of something else as well. Jesus did this constantly in parables – grape vines and fig trees and wheat and salt and light etc. are all very real. And yet all were being used allegorically by Christ as well.

    That Sarah and Hagar are allegorical figures for the world and the spiritual does not take away from their historical reality. Make sense?

    And yes, I have read Pilgrim’s Progress – several times. Thank you for the link. I don’t think it is off topic to refer to some very good Christian literature!

    AITB, hello again!

    Thank you for your comments. Would Adam have had an ego problem if he thought he could save Eve? I don’t think so, as I don’t think he would have had any idea of the cost. A person who jumps in a pool to save a drowning person does not think of ego or have a high opinion of himself. He is simply doing what he can see needs to be done.

    Did Adam abdicate his leadership role, or was he simply used to them being partners? I don’t know. The one point I fully agree with from you is:
    Anyway, Scripture is clear that Adam sinned...even if some of his thoughts were actually kind ones towards Eve...


    The idea of putting Eve first being idolatry is also interesting. We are told that by one man sin entered the world. Where it started in his heart, I guess only God knows.

    You are right about what kind of leeway the Bible gives us for exploration. Whether it is Adam and Eve or anyone – we are encouraged to think and pray and ask for wisdom.

    Oh, and thank you for your comments about wives… :D
     
  6. AITB

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    Hi Helen [​IMG]

    I understand what you mean about Adam not having an ego problem through thinking he could save his wife himself. There's no evidence in the text that he did, along those lines.

    In general, I know it can be a snare, that 'rescuing' someone else can end up being more about feeling that one is a great rescuer than simply helping the other person. That's the kind of stuff that co-dependency books talk about as being very unhealthy, fwiw.

    In more Biblical terms, it would be being self-centered in a sinful way - doing something to make oneself feel good, more than to help someone else. Or, the two (the unselfish desire to help and the selfish one to feel like a good helper) can get confused after a while.

    The tell-tale sign of a problem in this area, imo, is getting angry if the other person doesn't want your help. That anger means they are not cooperating with your plan to feel good about yourself because you helped them. I know it's frustrating when someone you love won't be helped but that's not the same as the anger of "you won't let me feel great by being a helper!!!"

    But I guess that wasn't relevant, maybe...

    Today my pastor, in speaking on the last 4 verses of Genesis 3 said, imagine breakfast the day after Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden.

    And then he depicted it...it was great; it went somewhat like this:

    A: "You burnt the toast!"
    E: "You're lucky to get toast!"
    A: [I can't remember this line but in effect it was...]"It was your fault we got kicked out"
    E: "Oh yeah? Well, if you had done your job right, Mr Head of the Household Spiritual Leader..."

    etc

    :D
     
  7. Helen

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    My favorite line on that was was actually done by Mike Warnke, who has since been discredited completely where his truthfulness is concerned, but nevertheless was a great comedian. He had Adam and Eve walking along the road after being kicked out and one of them saying to the other (I forget who to who), "Well, you just ate us out of house and home!"
     
  8. Clint Kritzer

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  9. Aaron

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    Adam's motivation is irrelevant. We're not told and it is pointless to speculate. It is enough that he disobeyed.

    There is a danger of our comparing our own feelings with those of Adam or Judas or any other notorious character in the Scriptures and justifying our own disobediences thinking our motivations were better.

    It matters not what our motivations are. It is enough that we disobeyed. One thing is certain, even in an ideal environment, spiritual life cannot be maintained within a covenant of works, and I think that's the most important lesson from Adam and Eve.
     

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