Genesis chapter 16

The birth of Ishmael.





VERSE 1. Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had a servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

bore him no children. Abram and Sarai came to feel that God had forgotten his promises to them.

Those were the promises about becoming a great nation and having countless descendents. So far, they didn’t have even one descendent. And they were 80-some years old!


VERSE 2. Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing. Please go in to my servant. It may be that I will obtain children by her.” Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. Abram went along with Sarai’s idea.

Previously, Abram and Sarai had been standing by faith. They were waiting upon the LORD God to fulfill his promise to them.

At some level, they probably understood that God would fulfill his promises in the fullness of time, when everything was right.

But then they got impatient. They tried to make the promise happen by their own power. And that was an experiment that was destined to fail.


VERSE 3. Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to Abram her husband to be his wife.


VERSE 4. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived. When she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.


VERSE 5. Sarai said to Abram, “This wrong is your fault. I gave my servant into your bosom, and when she saw that she had conceived, she despised me. May The LORD judge between me and you.”


VERSE 6. But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your hand. Do to her whatever is good in your eyes.” Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her face.

Sarai dealt harshly with her. Sadly, Sarai was horrible to Hagar.

Perhaps Sarai was jealous that Hagar could conceive with Abram but she could not.


VERSE 7. The LORD’s angel found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain on the way to Shur.


VERSE 8. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where did you come from? Where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the face of my mistress Sarai.”


VERSE 9. The LORD’s angel said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hands.”


VERSE 10. The LORD’s angel said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, that they will not be counted for multitude.”

I will greatly multiply your offspring. God reached out to Hagar, giving her a wonderful promise.

Just as Abram would be the father of a great nation, Hagar would be the mother of a great nation.

The Arab peoples are considered to have descended from her. They are collectively referred to as the Ishmaelites.

Muslims believe that it was through Hagar that the prophet Muhammad would come.


VERSE 11. The LORD’s angel said to her, “Behold, you are with child, and will bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction.


VERSE 12. He will be like a wild donkey among men. His hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. He will live opposed to all of his brothers.”

He will be like a wild donkey among men. That is, “He will be a wild ass of a man.”


VERSE 13. She called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees,” for she said, “Have I even stayed alive after seeing him?”

God who sees. In Hebrew, El-roi.


VERSE 14. Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi. Behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

Beer Lahai Roi. This means “well of the one who lives and sees me”.


VERSE 15. Hagar bore a son for Abram. Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.

Ishmael. In Hebrew, the name means “God has heard.”


VERSE 16. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.


next chapter »

« previous chapter


CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 4950

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.