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3 And Sarai, Abram's wife, / years in the land of Canaan, and took Hagar her maid the Egyp- gave her to her husband Abram tian, after Abram bhad dwelt len to be his wife.
h ch. 12. 5.
nature, she doubteth, and yet hides her that their houses shall continue for diffidence; and, when she must be ever; i. e. that their stock or race shall lieve, feareth, because she did distrust. be interminably perpetuated. Ps. 113. Abraham hears and believes, and ex-9, 'He maketh the barren woman to pects and rejoices; he saith nou, I am keep house ;" i. e. as the ensuing exold and weak; Sarah is old and bar- egetical clause explains it, 'to be a
-T And ren ; where are the many nations that joyful mother of children.” shall come forth from these withered Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. loins? It is enough to him that God That is, obeyed; a very common sense hath said it: he sees not the means, he of the word. Thus Prov. 1. 33, 'Whosees the promise: he knew that God so hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safewould rather raise him up seed from ly;' i. e. whoso obeyėth me. Ps. 81. the very stones that he trod on, than 13, 'O that my people had hearkened himself should want a large and hap. unto me;' i. e. had obeyed my prepy issue.' Bp. Hall. -11 pray thee cepts. Rev. 1. 3, 'Blessed is he that go in unto my maid. That is, marry readeth, and they that hear the words her, as is clear from the ensuing verse, of this prophecy ;' i. e. they that give on which see note. - 1 may obtain obedient heed to what is written. The children by her. Heb. 17324 may be period of Abraham's previous sojourning builded by her. The ideal connection in Canaan is stated in the next verse between the rearing of offspring and with a view, perhaps, of displaying 'building' is very close in the original still more impressively his infirmity on
this occasion. He who had for ten Scriptures. The Heb. 73 ben, a son, long years sojourned as a stranger and is a derivative from 12 banah, to
a pilgrim in the land of promise, and build, and 128 eben, a stone, of which that wholly from a principle of faith, houses are built, probably comes from he, alas! is at length so far overcome the same root. The following passa- as to yield to the carnal expedient proges, among others, will exhibit the posed by his wife. The father of Scriptural usage in this respect. Deut. mankind sinned by hearkening to his 25. 9, 'So shall it be done unto that wife, and now the father of the faithman that will not build up his brother's ful follows his example. How neceshouse ;' i. e. who will not raise up seed sary for those who stand in the nearto his brother. Ruth 4. 11, 'The Lord est relations, to take heed of being make the woman like Rachel and like snares, instead of helps, to one anLeah, which two did build the house of other! Fuller. Abr ham was now Israel ;' i. e. were the founders of the 85 and Sarah 75 years of age. nation of Israel. Ex. 1. 21, 'And it
3. Gave her to her husband Abram came to pass, because the midwives to be his wife. That is, a secondary feared God, that he made them houses ;'
wife, or one of an inferior grade. i. e. he gave them children, an extend. Such wives, though contrary to the ed posterity. Ps. 68. 6, 'God setteth primeval institution of marriage, were the solitary in families ;' Heb. 'in customary in the patriarchal and sub. houses ;' i. e. makes them progenitors. sequent ages, and are generally in the Ps. 49. 11, “Their inward thought is scriptures called 'concubines,' 'The
4 | And he went in unto Ha- | My wrong be upon thee: I have gar, and she couceived: and given my maid into thy bosom: when she saw that she had con- and when she saw that she had ceived, her mistress was i de conceived, I was despised in her spised in her eyes.
eyes : k the LORD judge between 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, me and thee.
i 2 Sam. 6. 16. Prov. 30. 21, 23.
k ch. 31. 53. 1 Sam. 24. 12.
Hebrew word pilgash, here translated her posterity, and as a natural resul wife,' is frequently in other places ren- her mistress is despised in her eyes, dered concubine.' It describes a wife thus showing herself to be one of the of a second and inferior class. Such wo-three things by which the earth is dismen were considered real wives, inas- quieted, Prov. 30. 23, viz. 'an handmuch as the connection was legal and maid that is heir to her mistress.' customary; but the absence of certain 5. And Sarai said unto Abram, My solemnities and contracts of dowry wrong be upon thee, &c. Heb. ronn marked the condition as inferior, though.773, my wrong is (lieth) upon thee; not in itself degrading. The children did i.e. thou art to blame in suffering her not inherit the property of the father ; | insolence; the duty of redressing the who usually provided for them in his wrong which I sustain rests with thee; own life-time, if he had sons by the prin- or she may mean to say, My injury is cipal wife or wives to claim the inher-thine also. Those who are the first to itance. We thus find Abraham pro- give evil counsel are often the first to viding for the sons of bis concubines suffer by it. This was strikingly exHagar and Keturah. Things are still emplified in the case of Sarah. Being much the same in the East, where sim- now made to reap according to that ilar practices are legalized by the Mo- she had sown, she begins, when it is hammedan law. That law allows a
too late, to repent of her rashness. man four wives of the first class, and But instead of condemning her own does not restrict him as to slaves. But conduct, and confessing that her folly the condition of a slave is not altered had recoiled upon herself, she turns as such by the manner in which she the edge of her resentment against her lives in the family of her master. The husband. Had the good man formed sweeper of his house and the partner a deliberate design of injuring and inof his bed are alike liable to be sold sulting her, she could not have emagain if they have been purchased; ployed harsher language. Indeed her but delicacy prevents this right from conduct throughout was that of a peevbeing often exercised. (See Malcolm's ish, unreasonable, and disappointed ‘History of Persia.”) So we see that woman; and its weakness and wickedHagar remained a 'bondwoman' after ness are aggravated by her appealing she had become the mother of Ishmael, to God in a case where she was clearly and Sarai is still called her mistress.' and consciously in the wrong. As if Pict. Bible.
she had taken it for granted that her 4. When she saw that she had con- husband would not hear her, she exceived, &c. The consequence was claims, “The Lord judge between me what might have been anticipated. The and thee!' Such hasty and passionate young woman, elated with the honour appeals to heaven, instead of indicadone her, becomes vain and insolent. ting a good cause, are commonly the She views Abraham's vast possessions, marks of a bad one A truly serious and vaster prospects, as entailed upon / spirit will pause before interposing tho
6 But Abram said unto Sarai, hardly with her, "she fled from · Behold, thy maid is in thine her face. hand; do to her as it pleaseth 7 | And the angel of the LORD thee. And when Sarai dealt found her by a fountain of water
in the wilderness, by the fount1 Prov. 15. 1. 1 Pet. 3. 7. m. Job. 2. 6. Ps. ain in the way to p Shur.
och. 25. 18. p Exod. 15. 22.
106. 41, 42, Jer. 38. 5.
n Exod. 2. 15.
that which is good in הטוב בעיניך
name of God on any occasion, and strikingly do they show into what diswill shudder at the thought of employ-order and turmoil one ill-advised measing it on a false or frivolous one. 'Iure may plunge a happy well-regulated will sooner believe a plain unprofessing family. Abraham's ill-judged compliman, in his simple words, than ten ance with the rash counsel of his wife thousand common swearers, under the has created an unpleasant state of feelsanction of as many oaths.' Hunter. ing between him and her; it constrains
6. Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; him to connive at her cruel treatment do to her as it pleaseth thee. Heb. of an unhappy woman, who is at least
as much to be pilied as blamed ; and Abraham on this vexing renders the prospect of the promised occasion is meek and gentle. He had seed a heavy affliction instead of a learned that a soft answer turneth blessing. Sarah is betrayed by the away wrath, and therefore refrained eagerness of her spirit first into a culfrom upbraiding his wife, as he might pable expedient; then into unkindness easily and reasonably have done; pre- and undutifulness towards her lord; ferring domestic peace to the vindica- then into irreverence and impiety totion of himself and the placing the wards God; and finally, by an easy blame where it ought to have laid. It transition, into barbarity towards the is doubtful, however, whether he did hapless handmaid whom her own not yield too much in this case; for scheme had brought into a condition though according to the custom of that claimed her utmost compassion those times Hagar was mainly under and kindness. In what deep and acthe control of Sarah, yet being his cumulated woe, then, may one inconlawful wife, she was entitled to pro.
siderate step involve the heedless ! tection, and should not have been given And if good and well-intentioned people up to the will of one who manifested, suffer thus severely from one act of imon this occasion, nothing but jealousy, prudence, who but must tremble to passion, and caprice. But he seems to ihink of the fearful consequences of have been brought into a situation deliberate wickedness! A thousand volwhere he was at a loss what to do ; umes written against polygamy would and thus, as Sarah is punished for not lead to a clearer fuller conviction of tempting him, so he also is punished the evils of that practice, than the story with a disordered house for having
under review. yielded to the temptation.- Sarai
7. The angel of the Lord found her, dealt hardly with her. Heb. 77290 &c. We here see how seasonably and afflicted her ; probably by some kind suitably God interposes to rectify the of personal maltreatment, as the ex- disorders occasioned by the infirmities pression in the original is too strong
of his servants. When we have weanot to imply something more than ried ourselves with our own devices, mere verbal reproaches. The more
and snared ourselves in the works of the incidents are considered, the more
our own hands, Providence often takes
8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's said, I flee from the face of my maid, whence camesi :dou ? and mistress Sarai. whither wilt thou go? Anu she
up the case, subdues it to his own wise men. Rev. 22. 8, 'And when I had and gracious purposes, and turns evil heard and seen, I fell down to worship into good. Hagar flies from the face before the feet of the angel which of her unkmd inistress, but happily for showed me those things. Then said her she cannot flee from God. The in-he unto me; See thou do it not; for I terest which Abraham now has in her am thy fellow-servant, and of thy gives her an interest in the peculiar care brethren the prophets, and of them and protection of the Almighty—and which keep the sayings of this book.' how kindly this is manifested the se-Again, Rev. 21. 17, 'And he measured quel will disclose. An'angel is here the wall thereof according to the measmentioned for the first time. The word ure of a man, that is, of the angel,' or itself is properly a name of office, and rather, 'of an angel,' as the article does not of nature; signifying messenger or not occur in the original. In some legate, one sent or employed upon any cases the word is evidently a designabusiness whatever, whether human or tion of Christ, who is the angel of the divine. The angels' mentioned in the covenant,' Mal. 3. 1; the 'angel of sacred volume were sometimes men, God's presence,' Is. 63. 9; and the as Haggai, Hag. 1. 13, is called the angel in whom the name of the Lord Lord's messenger,' Heb. 'angel of the is,' Ex. 23. 20. As the angel here menLord;' as is also John the Baptist, tioned is called by Hagar 'Lord' (Heb. Mal. 31. Mar. 11. 10. The appellation Jehovah), v. 13, and as he addresses is given generally 10 the ministering her in a style befitting only the Most servants of God, to prophets and holy High, v. 10, promising to perform what men acting under divine direction, or God alone could do, and foretelling what in the service of religion. It is also God alone could know, the inference extended in several instances to prov- would seem to be inevitable, that it was idential dispensations or to the imper- no other than a divine personage who is sonal agents of the divine will, as here presented to our view. . - In the plagues, pestilences, fumines, &c. A way to Shur. 'It appears that the term remarkable and prominent usage of the wilderness,' or 'desert of Shur,' here term is to designate him who is here and elsewhere denotes the sandy tract and elsewhere denominated the 'angel to the west of Stony Arabia, extending of Jehovah,' a title which is evidently 150 road miles between Palestine and appropriated to an uncreated being. Egypt, and having the Mediterranean More frequently, however, the term is on the north, and the peninsula of applied to a superior order of beings, Sinai on the south. The common carof whom our Saviour says, “They avan road between Palestine and Egypt are all ministering spirits, sent forth still lies through the heart of this desto minister for them who shall be ert. It is evident that it was Hagar's heirs of salvation. From the silence intention to return to her own country.' of the Scriptures respecting the crea- Pict. Bible. tion of these spiritual intelligences, and 8. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's from the remarkable language of the maid, whence comest thou, &c. That following passages, some have inferred she should thus hear her name familiarthat the whole angelic order was in ly called, and her occupation specified, fact composed of the spirits of glorified by an entire stranger, would naturally
9 And the angel ul Iloe LORD 10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mi;- said unto her, I will multiply tress, and 4 subunit thyself under thy seed exceedingly, that it shall her hands.
not be numbered für multitude.
1 Tit. 2. 9.
1 Pet. 2. 18.
rch. 17. 20. & 21. 18. & 25. 12.
excite her wonder, and beget the im- in despising her mistress, and by her pression that it was more than a hu- exposure in endangering the fruit of her man being who addressed her. Of womb, and now she inust be humbled this she certainly became entirely con- for it. Hard as this might appear, it vinced in the course of the interview. was the counsel of wisdom and mer. In calling her Sarai's maid instead of cy. A connection with the people of Abram's wife, he seems to have aimed God, with all their faults, is preferable tacitly at lowering the self-complacen- to the best of this world, where God cy which had procured her troubles, is unknown. If we have done wrong, and to lead her mind back to that whatever templations or provocations humble chiaracter which she had for- we have met with, the only way to merly sustained. The questions put to peace and happiness is to retrace our her were close, but tender, and such footsteps, in repentance and submisas were filly addressed to a person sion. As to the fact of her return, the fleeing from trouble. The first might history leaves us to draw our own conbe answered, and was answered; but clusions. We may safely suppose that with respect to the last she is sileni. all parties were by this time brought "We know our present grievances, and sufficiently to themselves to afford her so can tell whence we came,' much ample encouragement to return. The better than our future lot, or 'whither solitude and dangers of the wilderness, we go.' In many cases, if the truth and the apparition of the angel, awful, were spoken, the answer would be, though in mercy, would of course from bad to worse.' Fuller.
greatly have diminished in Hagar's 9. Return to thy mistress and sub- mind the resentment occasioned by mit thyself under her hands. Heb. her mistress's treatment. With Sarah, menn afflict thyself, or suffer thyself on the other hand, the sudden disapto be afflicted; the same which occurs pearing of her maid; the loss of her v. 6, and is thus rendered 'dealt hardly services; the just apprehension of the with.' The idea of something like evil which might have befallen a despenance is undoubtedly implied. It is perate woman in her delicate situation; the term usually applied to the act of regret for her cruel behaviour; logether self-abasement by which a penitent with the soothing effect of time and sinner humbles himself with prayer, serious reflection, would no doubt tend and fasting, and confessions of guilt to moderate and mollify her spirit, and before his Maker. The Gr. renders il dispose her to welcome back the reby time!vwİnti be thou humbled, and in turving fugitive. While Abraham, alallusion to this expression, the Apostle ways wise, gentle, and good, would says, 1 Pet. 5. 6, “Humble yourselves necessarily rejoice in the restored peace (Tursw9nre) therefore under the mighty of his family, accompanied as it was hand of God, that he may lift you up.' with a fresh demonstration of the diThe injunction of the angel to Hagar vine tenderness towarc's him and his, here was to return and submit. The and with a farther enlargement and reason was that she had done wrong'exient of the promised blessing.