Pax Hart

Genesis 15: Call Him Ishmael

We have an exchange with Sarai and Abram, now the matriarch and patriarch of their inherited land. They’re both old and barren.

Sarai has the bright idea to pimp out her slave Hagar so she can produce a child. Abram marries the Hagar and takes his husbandly rights.

Once she conceives, she despises Sarai. Why is this? Did she feel her status was equal to Sarai and was resentful at being her inferior? Did she consider this a coerced maneuver to use her as Abram’s breeder?

Regardless of why Hagar went negative, Sarai did what you do with an insolent slave and beat her. Hagar promptly runs away.

Alone by a well outside of town, an angel shows up and talks to Hagar. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first sighting of an angle walking among men.

The angle tells Hagar to return to Sarai and submit to her and I will multiply they seed exceedingly: a promise.

The angel tells Hagar that she is carrying a son, whom she’ll call Ishmael, because the Lord hath heard thy affliction: another prophecy.

We have here not a miraculous birth, but a prophetic birth. Ishmael becomes a prophet in Islam, even said to be buried under the kabaa though

One of Ishmael’s sons is Kedar (קדר), father of the Qedarites, a northern Arab tribe that controlled the area between the Persian Gulf and the Sinai Peninsula. According to tradition, he is the ancestor of the Quraysh tribe, and thus, ancestor of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

This is the relevance of Ishmael to Islam: he is the link to Abraham.

What is the message of this story?

It’s the moment that Hagar is sitting by the fountain in the wilderness, alone, dejected, directionless. The angel tells her to return to Sarai and submit herself to her. Her child will be an important man with many descendants.

It’s a redemption.