Hagar probably was one of those maid - servants which the king of
Egypt (among other gifts) bestowed upon Abram, chap. xii. 16.
Concerning her we have four things in this chapter,
Her marriage to Abram her master, ver. 1 - 3.
Her misbehaviour towards Sarai her mistress, ver. 4 - 6.
Her discourse with an angel that met her in her flight,
ver. 7 - 14.
Her delivery of a son, ver. 15, 16.
1: We have here the marriage of Abram to Hagar, who was his
secondary wife. Herein, though he may be excused, he cannot be
justified; for from the beginning it was not so: and when it was so,
it seems to have proceeded from an irregular desire to build up their
families, for the speedier peopling of the world. But now we must not
do so? Christ has reduced this matter to the first institution, and
makes the marriage union to be between one man and one woman only.
4: We have here the ill consequences of Abram's marriage to
Hagar: a deal of mischief it made presently. Hagar no sooner
perceives herself with child, but she looks scornfully upon her mistress;
upbraids her perhaps with her barrenness, and insults over her. Sarai
falls upon Abram, and very unjustly charges him with the injury,
suspecting that he countenanced Hagar's insolence: and as one not
willing to hear what Abram had to say she rashly appeals to God.
The Lord judge between me and thee, as if Abram had refused to right
her. When passion is upon the throne, reason is out of doors, and is
neither heard nor spoken. Those are not always in the right that
are most forward in appealing to God. Rash and bold imprecations are
commonly evidences of guilt and a bad cause.
6: Thy maid is in thy hand - Though she was his wife, he would
not countenance her in any thing disrespectful to Sarai. Those who
would keep up peace and love, must return first answers to hard accusations;
husbands and wives particularly should endeavour not to be both angry
together. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her - Making her to serve with
rigour; she fled from her face - She not only avoided her wrath for the
present, but totally deserted her service.
7: Here is the first mention we have in scripture of an angel's
appearance, who arrested her in her flight. It should seem she was
making towards her own country, for she was in the way to Shur, which
lay towards Egypt. 'Twere well if our afflictions would make us think
of our home, the better county. But Hagar was now out of the way of her
duty, and going farther astray, when the angel found her. It is a great
mercy to be stopt in a sinful way, either by conscience or providence.
As a check to her pride. Though she was Abram's wife, yet he calls
her Sarai's maid to humble her.
As a rebuke to her flight. Sarai's maid ought to be in Sarai's
tent, and not wandering in the wilderness. Whence comest thou
- Consider that thou art running away both from the duty thou wast bound to,
and the privileges thou wast blest with, in Abram's tent. And
Whither wilt thou go? - Thou art running thyself into sin in Egypt; if
she return to that people, she will return to their gods. And she said,
I flee from the face of my mistress - She acknowledges her fault in
fleeing from her mistress; and yet, excuses it, that it was from the
face, or displeasure, of her mistress.
9: And the angel said, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself
under her hand - Go home and humble thyself for what thou hast done amiss,
and resolve for the future to behave thyself better.
10: I will multiply thy seed exceedingly - Heb. multiplying I
will multiply it, that is, multiply it in every age, so as to
perpetuate it. 'Tis supposed that the Turks at this day descended
from Ishmael, and they are a great people.
11: Ishmael, that is, God will hear; and the reason is, because
the Lord hath heard: he hath, and therefore he will. The
experience we have had of God's seasonable kindness in distress should
encourage us to hope for the like help in the like exigencies. Even there,
where there is little cry of devotion, the God of pity hears the cry of
affliction: tears speak as well as prayers.
12: He will be a wild man - A wild ass of a man, so the word is:
rude, and bold and fearing no man; untamed, untractable, living at large,
and impatient of service and restraint. His hand will be against every
man - That is his sin, and every man's hand against him - That is his
Note, Those that have turbulent spirits have commonly
troublesome lives: they that are provoking, and injurious to others,
must expect to be repaid in their own coin. And yet, he shall dwell in
the presence of all his brethren - Though threatened and insulted by all
his neighbours, yet he shall keep his ground, and, for Abram's sake more
than his own, shall be able to make his part good with them. Accordingly we
read, (Ge 25:18),
that he died, as he lived, in the presence of all his brethren.
13: And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her - That
is, thus she made confession of his name, Thou God seest me - This should
be with her, his name for ever, and this his memorial, by which she will
know him, and remember him while she lives, Thou God seest me. Thou
seest my sorrow and affliction. This Hagar especially refers to: when we
have brought ourselves into distress by our own folly, yet God has not
forsaken us. Thou seest the sincerity of my repentance. Thou seest me, if
in any instance I depart from thee. This thought should always restrain us
from sin, and excite us to duty, Thou God seest me. Have I here
also looked after him that seeth me? - Probably she knew not who it was
that talked with her till he was departing, and then looking after him, with
a reflexion like that of the two disciples, (Lu 24:31,32).
Here also - Not only in Abram's tent, and at his altar, but here
also, in this wilderness: here, where I never expected it, where I was
out of the way of my duty?
14: The well was called Beer - lahai - roi - The well of him that
lives and sees me. 'Tis likely Hagar put this name upon it, and it was
retained long after. This was the place where the God of glory manifested
the special care he took of a poor woman in distress. Those that are
graciously admitted into communion with God, and receive seasonable comforts
from him, should tell others what he has done for their souls, that they
also may be encouraged to seek him and trust in him.