Genesis 16:9
And the angel of the LORD said to her, Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hands.
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(9) Submit thyself.—Heb., humble thyself. It is the verb translated dealt hardly in Genesis 16:6. The angel therefore commands her to take the position which Sarai was forcing upon her; and by so doing proves to us that there had been no personal maltreatment. Commentators have taken this notion, not from the Hebrew, but from the English Version.

16:7-16 Hagar was out of her place, and out of the way of her duty, and going further astray, when the Angel found her. It is a great mercy to be stopped in a sinful way, either by conscience or by providence. Whence comest thou? Consider that thou art running from duty, and the privileges thou wast blest with in Abram's tent. It is good to live in a religious family, which those ought to consider who have this advantage. Whither wilt thou go? Thou art running into sin; if Hagar return to Egypt, she will return to idol gods, and into danger in the wilderness through which she must travel. Recollecting who we are, would often teach us our duty. Inquiring whence we came, would show us our sin and folly. Considering whither we shall go, discovers our danger and misery. And those who leave their space and duty, must hasten their return, how mortifying soever it be. The declaration of the Angel, I will, shows this Angel was the eternal Word and Son of God. Hagar could not but admire the Lord's mercy, and feel, Have I, who am so unworthy, been favoured with a gracious visit from the Lord? She was brought to a better temper, returned, and by her behaviour softened Sarai, and received more gentle treatment. Would that we were always suitably impressed with this thought, Thou God seest me!The angel of the Lord either represents the Lord, or presents the Lord in angelic form. The Lord manifests himself to Hagar seemingly on account of her relationship to Abram, but in the more distant form of angelic visitation. She herself appears to be a believer in God. The spring of water is a place of refreshment on her journey. She is on the way to Shur, which was before Mizraim as thou goest rewards Asshur Genesis 25:18, and therefore fleeing to Egypt, her native land. The angel of the Lord interrogates her, and requires her to return to her mistress, and humble herself under her hands.7. And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain—This well, pointed out by tradition, lay on the side of the caravan road, in the midst of Shur, a sandy desert on the west of Arabia-Petræa, to the extent of a hundred fifty miles, between Palestine and Egypt. By taking that direction, she seems to have intended to return to her relatives in that country. Nothing but pride, passion, and sullen obstinacy, could have driven any solitary person to brave the dangers of such an inhospitable wild; and she would have died, had not the timely appearance and words of the angel recalled her to reflection and duty. No text from Poole on this verse. And the angel of the Lord said unto her,.... The same angel; though Jarchi thinks that one angel after another was sent, and that at every speech there was a fresh angel; and because this phrase is repeated again and again, some of the Rabbins have fancied there were four angels (r), and others five, but without any reason:

return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands; go back to her, humble thyself before her, acknowledge thy fault, enter into her service again, and be subject to her; do her work and business, bear her corrections and chastisements; and "suffer thyself to be afflicted" (s), by her, as the word may be rendered; take all patiently from her, which will be much more to thy profit and advantage than to pursue the course thou art in: and the more to encourage her to take his advice, he promises the following things, Genesis 16:10.

(r) Bereshit Rabba, ut supra. (sect. 45. fol. 41. 1.) (s) "te patere affligi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "quid si, patere te affligi?" Drusius.

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, {e} Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

(e) God rejects no estate of people in their misery, but sends them comfort.

9. And the angel of the Lord said] Notice the triple repetition of these sayings of the Angel in Genesis 16:9-11, containing in Genesis 16:9 the injunction to return and submit, in Genesis 16:10 the promise of a multitude of descendants, and in Genesis 16:11-12 the name and character of her future son. Genesis 16:9-10 both begin with the same words as Genesis 16:11, and probably are editorial additions from different versions of the story.Verse 9. - And the angel of the Lord said unto her - as Paul afterwards practically said to Onesimus, the runaway slave of Philemon (vide Philippians 12) - return to thy mistress, and submit thyself - the verb here employed is the same as that, which the historian uses to describe Sarah s conduct towards her (Ver. 6); its meaning obviously is that she should meekly resign herself to the ungracious and oppressive treatment of her mistress - under her hands. As the promise of a lineal heir (Genesis 15:4) did not seem likely to be fulfilled, even after the covenant had been made, Sarai resolved, ten years after their entrance into Canaan, to give her Egyptian maid Hagar to her husband, that if possible she might "be built up by her," i.e., obtain children, who might found a house or family (Genesis 30:3). The resolution seemed a judicious one, and according to the customs of the East, there would be nothing wrong in carrying it out. Hence Abraham consented without opposition, because, as Malachi (Malachi 2:15) says, he sought the seed promised by God. But they were both of them soon to learn, that their thoughts were the thoughts of man and not of God, and that their wishes and actions were not in accordance with the divine promise. Sarai, the originator of the plan, was the first to experience its evil consequences. When the maid was with child by Abram, "her mistress became little in her eyes." When Sarai complained to Abram of the contempt she received from her maid (saying, "My wrong," the wrong done to me, "come upon thee," cf. Jeremiah 51:35; Genesis 27:13), and called upon Jehovah to judge between her and her husband,

(Note: בּיניך, with a point over the second Jod, to show that it is irregular and suspicious; since בּין with the singular suffix is always treated as a singular, and only with a plural suffix as plural.)

Abram gave her full power to act as mistress towards her maid, without raising the slave who was made a concubine above her position. But as soon as Sarai made her feel her power, Hagar fled. Thus, instead of securing the fulfilment of their wishes, Sarai and Abram had reaped nothing but grief and vexation, and apparently had lost the maid through their self-concerted scheme. But the faithful covenant God turned the whole into a blessing.

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