Genesis 16
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
The history of Hagar has its two sides - that which is turned towards God and illustrates Divine grace, that which is turned towards man and illustrates human infirmity and sinfulness. Jehovah brought forth compassionate bestowments of revelation and promise out of his people's errors. Abram and Sarah both sinned. Hagar sinned. The angel of the Lord, representative of the continuous gracious revelation of Jehovah as a covenant God, appeared in the cloud of family sorrow, drawing once more upon it the rainbow of promise. Until the heir came there was a call for patience. Unbelief appeared at work - in the patriarch's weakness, in Sarah's harshness, in Hagar's pride and rebellion, for she was, as a member of the household, partaker of the covenant. In the wilderness appeared the messenger of grace.

I. THE NAME OF THE LORD WAS THE TESTIMONY. Thou God seest me; or, Thou God of vision. The idea is that the sight of God was deliverance. Hagar's seeing God was God seeing her. The vision was both objective and subjective. So the world has wearied itself in the wilderness of its own ignorance and moral helplessness (cf. Galatians 4:22 - 31). The unspiritual, carnal mind is the bond slave, which must give way to the true heir. All true religious life is a response to revelation. In his light we see light.

II. THE REVELATION TO HAGAR MAY BE CONNECTED WITH HER PERSONAL HISTORY. She turned back with a new light in her heart. Submission and obedience are commanded, but abundant reward is promised. Our life is under the eye of Jehovah and in his hand. "Thou God seest me" is the cry of a grateful memory, the note of a bright future. The nearness of God, his knowledge, may be not terror, but blessing, angels round about us, gracious sunshine of love in which we are invited to walk as children of light. - R.


1. Pride.

2. Contempt.

3. Insubordination.

4. Flight.


1. Tempting her husband.

2. Excusing herself.

3. Appealing to God.

4. Afflicting her servant.


1. Yielding to temptation.

2. Perpetrating injustice.

3. Acquiescing in oppression. - W.

1. God provides them for the rest and refreshment of pilgrims.

2. God visits them to meet with wear), and afflicted pilgrims.

3. God dispenses from them life and hope to all repenting and believing pilgrims. Compare with the angel of Jehovah and Hagar at the fountain of Shur, Christ and the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well (John 4:6). - W.

1. Divine condescension. God visits men as the angel visited Hagar.

2. Divine omniscience. God knows men as the angel knew Hagar.

3. Divine compassion. God pities and comforts men as the angel did Hagar.

4. Divine wisdom. God instructs men as the angel directed Hagar.

5. Divine grace. God pardons and accepts men as the angel did Hagar. - W.

"Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go?" She knew not, cared not. Undisciplined, smarting under effects of her own willfulness (Ver. 4), she thought only of escaping pain - a type of those weary, yet unconverted (cf. Jeremiah 51:13; Jeremiah 5:3). But God saw her. The Shepherd sought her (cf. Genesis 3:9; Luke 15:9). Though not of the chosen race, and having no claim upon his care, of his own mercy he calls her (cf. Psalm 145:9; Ephesians 2:4; Titus 3:5). The angel of the Lord; in Ver. 13 called the Lord; the messenger of the covenant (Malachi 3:1) - sent to carry out the Father's purpose (cf. John 3:17; Luke 4:18). The same who speaks in the voice of awakened conscience, that he may give peace (cf. Matthew 11:28). "Hagar, Sarai's maid," expresses God's full knowledge of her (cf. Exodus 33:12; John 10:3). The name distinguishes the individual. She a stranger, a slave, a fugitive; yet God's eye upon her; all her life before him (cf. Psalm 139:1-4). A word for those following their own ways, feeling as if hidden in the multitude. Nothing glaring in their lives; men see nothing to find fault with; will God? (cf. Psalm 94:7). He knows thee altogether; thy whole life, the selfishness underlying a fair profession, the unconfessed motives, the little duplicities, the love of worldly things; or it may be thy spiritual pride and self-trusting. He sees thee through. But wilt thou seek to escape the thought of him? For what does he search thee out? Is it not to bring thee to peace? A word of comfort to him who is cast down because of weakness in faith, little progress, want of spirituality. He sees all (cf. Luke 19:5). Not as man - men see the failures; God Sees the battle, the longing desire for better things, the prayers (Psalm 28:1; Psalm 130:1), the searching of heart, the sorrow because of failure. Even in the wilderness he is present to help (Galatians 6:9).

I. "WHENCE CAMEST THOU?" Is the wilderness better than the home thou hast left? (cf. Isaiah 5:4). Thou hast left safety and plenty (cf. Numbers 21:5), impatient of God's discipline. A goodly possession was thine - the place of a child (1 John 3:1), the right always to pray (Luke 18:1; John 15:7; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:2), the promise of guidance (Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 30:21). For what hast thou given up all this? Is thy present lot better? In deepest love these questions are asked. God pleads by providence (Psalm 119:67), by the entering of the word (Psalm 119:130; Hebrews 4:12), by the "still small voice" of the Holy Spirit.

II. "WHITHER WILT THOU GO?" How many have never really considered. Hast thou renounced thy heavenly portion? God forbid. Then is thy life heavenward? Are thy sins blotted out? Hast thou accepted the free gift of salvation? I am not sure of that. And why not? Is it not that thou hast not cared enough to entertain the question as a practical one? (cf. Ezekiel 20:49; Ezekiel 33:32). Meanwhile thou art not standing still. The day of grace is passing away (cf. Jeremiah 8:20). Still Christ pleads (Revelation 3:20). But day by day the ear becomes more dull, and the aims and habits of life more hard to change. "Return," was the Lord's word to Hagar. Take again thy place in God's family (cf. Luke 15:20). Fear not to bear thy cross. There is a welcome and joy in heaven over every returning wanderer. - M.

The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database.
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