1-2 Abram’s wife, Sarai, was still childless and her biological clock had stopped running years before. It wasn’t looking like the great nation of Abram with countless children was going to happen through her.
However, she had an idea that involved Hagar -- her Egyptian servant -- really a slave. Sarai said to Abram, “Since God has not given me a child, I think that you should have sex with Hagar. Perhaps as my surrogate, she will provide the family we need to get this thing moving.” Abram agreed to Sarai’s plan.
3-4 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar, her Egyptian servant and presented her to Abram as a concubine. (Now, at this point Abram had been living in Canaan for ten years.) He did the deed with Hagar and impregnated her. As soon as Hagar figured out that she had gotten pregnant, she also got cocky and started disrespecting Sarai -- presuming that she’d soon be usurping the wifely role of her mistress.
5 Sarai, forgetting who had concocted the plan, jumped all over Abram -- blaming him, “It’s all your fault that I’m so disrespected. I put Hagar in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she’s slurring me. God will get you for this.”
6 “She’s YOUR servant,” said Abram. “You deal with the problem.”
Sarai got rid of Hagar by harassing her so much that the pregnant concubine ran away.
7-8 The Lord sent a messenger out to look for her and found her by the desert spring that is along the road to Shur. He said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where are you coming from -- and where are you going?”
She replied, “I’m running away from Sarai -- my abusive mistress.”
9-12 God’s messenger instructed her to return to Sarai, “Humble yourself in the face of the harshness.” He continued, “Good things are going to come out of this. I’m about to give you a huge family with so many children, grandchildren, great grandchildren -- and on and on -- that you won’t be able to count them all.
“From this pregnancy, you’ll soon have a son. Name him Ishmael -- which means ‘God hears’ -- for God has heard and answered you. He’ll be a bit wilder than most -- an unbroken desert donkey -- fighting and kicking up dust. He won’t even get along with his relatives.”
13 Hagar replied to the God who had spoken to her, praying to him by the name, “The God whom I’ve seen.”
“Amazing!” she exclaimed. “He saw me in my distress; and then I saw him. And I survived!”
14 And that’s how that spring between Kadesh and Bered, which is still there, got it’s name -- “Spring of the Living God who Sees the Oppressed.”
15 Hagar gave birth to a son for Abram and he named him Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to their son.