Genesis  ◦   Chapter 16

1Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to have any children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant, named Hagar, whom she decided to use as a surrogate for herself; 2so she presented her plan to Abram, saying, “Since the Lord has not blessed me with children, I propose that you go and have sex with my maidservant; she will be my surrogate, and through her I can build a family.” Abram acquiesced to what Sarai suggested.

3Abram had lived in Canaan for ten years when Sarai, his wife, took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be a surrogate. 4Abram had sex with Hagar and she became pregnant. Once she was pregnant, she became proud and looked down upon Sarai, showing her disrespect. 5So Sarai complained to Abram, “It’s your fault that I am suffering like this! You have encouraged her by treating her with more respect than a surrogate deserves, and now she thinks she is better than me. I put my servant in your bed and now, that she knows she is pregnant, she treats me with contempt. God knows I’m right, and he will get you for this.”

6Abram regretfully said, “Okay then; since she is your servant (and therefore under your authority), do with her whatever you think is best.” Then Sarai reinforced to Hagar that she was only a servant and not a wife, and she lorded over her; so Hagar ran away.

7The angel of the Lord found Hagar at a spring in the desert on the road to Shur. 8He said to her, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, what are you doing here and where are you going?” She answered, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.”

9The angel of the Lord instructed her, “Don’t choose to harden your heart with fear, harboring resentment. Return to your mistress and choose to be patient and humble, and not rebellious when mistreated.” 10The angel then said, “I will bless your descendants, multiplying them, so that they will be too numerous to count.”

11Then the angel told her: “You are pregnant and about to give birth to a son. Name your son Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), because the Lord has heard your heartache and answered you.12Your son will be a free-spirit of a man, unbridled, like a wild donkey, unwilling to submit to another’s authority. He will have conflict with everyone, and everyone will have conflict with him; and he will live apart from his relatives.”

13In awe, Hagar said to herself, “Have I really seen the Lord and lived?” Then she called to the Lord with a new name: “You are El-roi – the God who sees me.” 14That is why people call the well between Kadesh and Bered, “Beer Lahai Roi – The Well of the Living One who Sees Me.”

15So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, and Abram named him Ishmael. 16Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.