Sarai heard Abram often talk of fathering a great nation. She wanted to pave the way for God’s promise to be fulfilled for Abram, so she suggested Abram should sleep with her Egyptian slave, Hagar.
Abram tossed the idea around for about a decade, until Sarai pressed the issue, bringing Hagar personally into his tent. When Hagar got pregnant, she hurled insults at Sarai and adopted an air of superiority over her.
Sarai flew into a rage, and Abram took the brunt of her wrath. “I offered you my slave as a second wife,” she seethed, “and she became a monster. What are you going to do about it?”
“She’s your slave,” Abram shrugged half-heartedly, “and this was your idea. Take care of the situation however you wish.”
On that very day, Sarai’s treatment of Hagar became so unbearable that the slave fled into the wilderness.
An angel of God approached Hagar as she followed a brook toward Egypt. “Hagar, where’d you come from?” the angel asked. “And where are you going?”
The slippery rocks on the creek bottom made the way difficult, but she continued along the path undeterred. “I’m escaping the cold, cruel grip of my 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 sighed, rocking in place.
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 said, suddenly still, “because I’ve seen God and will live to tell about it.”
After the encounter, the well of the spring was called “Beerlahairoi,” Well of the Living Sight.
Hagar returned to her mistress, bore a son, and named him Ishmael. Abram turned eighty-six years old.
Inspiration: Genesis 16