H is for Hagar

a-to-z-letters-hHagar is said to be a daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Her name was given her when Pharaoh gave her to Abraham. It comes from Ha-Agar, meaning “this is the reward”.

She started her new life as a servant to Abraham’s first wife, Sarah. After a time, it became clear that Sarah wasn’t going to have any kids and she gave Hagar to her husband to be his second wife. So, Abraham dutifully married Hagar and soon she became pregnant.

Hagar’s pregnancy soon caused friction between her and Sarah, and she took her spite out by making her work even harder than ever. Hagar took Sarah’s abuse for a while, but finally had a plateful and ran away into the desert.

08-Hagar2An angel appeared to her and said God’s orders were for her to go back and treat Sarah with the respect she deserved. He also told her she would soon be giving birth to a son whose voice would be heard by God. He would be fierce, strong, and a man of the wilds who would be respected by her people.

After Hagar went back home, things between her and Sarah improved somewhat and eventually, Ishmael was born.

Sarah became pregnant and in the fullness of time Isaac was born. Again, Sarah’s spitefulness reared its ugly head and she started in on Abraham to send Hagar and her son away.

Abraham didn’t want to send them out into the desert, especially his son. But, Sarah won the day when God stepped in and told him to do what she wanted. At the same time, God assured Abraham that Ishmael would become the father of a great nation.

08-HagarSo, off the pair went, into the wilderness down near Beersheba. Without water, and dying, they were spared by the miracle of the water well. As an aside, I should mention that Ishmael became a great hunter after that. Jewish sages claim that he had the “magical” coat of Adam that gave him power over the animals…

After Sarah died, Abraham sent Isaac for Hagar. He brought her back to live as Abraham’s wife. The descendants of Ishmael lived in Jordan for many years, but eventually the Israelites came over here and chased them out of the country.

Amongst the descendants of Ishmael is Prophet Mohammad who is the father of Islam.

Such Christian writers as St Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and John Wycliffe spilled a great deal of ink unfairly demonizing Hagar. Augustine characterized her as the sinful condition of humanity, while Wycliffe compared her descendants to unredeemed, “carnal by nature and mere exiles”.

References: Genesis 16, 21


One thought on “H is for Hagar

  1. Fascinating, this link between the old Hebrews and the prophet Mohammad… glorious series Jim 😉

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