Cruel mistress

Sarai heard Abram often talk of fathering a great nation. She wanted to pave a way for God’s promise to be fulfilled for Abram, so she suggested that since she couldn’t bear children, Abram should sleep with her Egyptian slave, Hagar.

Abram tossed the idea around for a about a decade, until Sarai pressed the issue, bringing Hagar personally into his bed chambers. When Hagar got pregnant, she hurled insults at Sarai and adopted an air of superiority over her.

Sarai ignited, and Abram took the brunt of her wrath. “I offered you my slave as a second wife, and she became a monster. What are you going to do about it?”

Abram deflected. “She’s your slave, and this was your idea,” he said, unaffected. “Take care of the situation however you wish.”

On that very day, Sarai’s treatment of Hagar became so unbearable that the slave escaped and ran away into the wilderness.

An angel of God approached Hagar as she trudged along a spring toward Egypt. “Hagar, where’d you come from?” the angel asked. “And where are you going?”

Continuing along the path undeterred, she answered, “I’m getting away from my cruel mistress.”

The angel stepped in front of Hagar, blocking her way. “Turn around,” the angel said. “Go back and submit to Sarai. In return, I’ll give you more descendants than a census can track.”

Hagar dropped to her knees and held her belly. How can I go back to that abusive woman? she thought.

The angel of God knelt beside her and said, “Your son will be named Ishmael, because God hears your cries of anguish. But you should know, Ishmael will make an ass of himself and will have enemies all around him, including his own family.”

“I’ll call you Elroi,” Hagar answered in astonishment, “because you’ve apparently seen God and live to tell about it.”

After the encounter, the well of the spring was called “Beerlahairoi,” Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.

Hagar returned to her mistress, bore Abram a son, and named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old.

Inspiration: Genesis 16

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