Abram and Sarai had no children of their own. Sarai wanted to pave a way for God’s promise to be fulfilled for Abram, so she suggested that Abram sleep with her Egyptian slave, Hagar.
“Since God has prevented me from giving you children,” she reasoned, “perhaps I can have a child through her.”
Abram considered this, and after they had lived in Canaan for ten years, Sarai brought Hagar into Abram’s bed. When Hagar got pregnant, she hurled insults at Sarai and behaved with an air of superiority.
Sarai lit into her husband. “May the tables turn on you! I offered you my slave as a second wife, and she became a monster. May God be the judge between us.”
Abram deflected. “She’s your slave. 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, stopping her in her tracks. “Turn around,” the angel said. “Go back and submit to Sarai. As a reward, I’ll give you more descendants than a census can track.”
Hagar dropped to her knees and held her belly. How could she go back to that abusive woman?
The angel of God knelt beside her and said, “Your son will be named Ishmael, because God hears your pain. However, Ishmael will make an ass of himself and will have enemies all around him, including his own family.”
“And 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” or “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