The Bible Slam: Genesis Chapter 16

Because she is unable to have a child, Sarai tells her husband Abram to make her Egyptian slave his wife. The slave Hagar immediately becomes pregnant. Sarai treats the slave badly, so Hagar runs away and is "caught" by an angel of the LORD at a fountain on the way to Shur. With promises that her son Ishmael (named for her suffering) would be a wild man with lots of offspring, the angel tells Hagar to return to the abusive Sarai, which she does. She has a boy that Abram names Ishmael.

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Points to Consider.

  • Once again, the Bible approves slavery.
  • Polygamy is apparently okay.

In Genesis 16:12, the angel describes what Ishmael will be like:

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

This apparently means that Ishmael will constantly be fighting everyone, including his relatives.   What about free will?   Was this predestined or was the angel merely prophetic?

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  • Sal

    Another Translation is:Gen.16:2  Hence Sarà ¢Ã¢"š ¬ ²ai said to Aà ¢Ã¢"š ¬ ²bram: "Please, have relations with my maidservant. Perhaps I may get children from her." 3  Then Sarà ¢Ã¢"š ¬ ²ai, Aà ¢Ã¢"š ¬ ²bram's wife, took Haà ¢Ã¢"š ¬ ²gar, her Egyptian maidservant, and gave her to Aà ¢Ã¢"š ¬ ²bram her husband as his wife." Still Agar was an Egyptian maidservant. (AS is wife)
    The Bible is not approving slavery in what the modern understanding of the word slavery is, the Bible is making a story not giving a command to take many wives, because the idea was and is: Gen 2.24  \'That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh\' (his wife- one flesh).Besides concubinage was practiced under patriarchal law. A concubine had a legal status; her position was not a matter of fornication or adultery. Under the Law, if a man's firstborn son was the son of his concubine, this son would be the one to receive the firstborn's inheritance. — Deut. 21:15-17.
    Concubinage and polygamy no doubt enabled the Israelites to increase at a much faster rate, and therefore, while God did not establish these arrangements but only allowed them, they served some purpose at the time. (Ex 1:7)
    Sometime is useful to see this very old story with different eyes from the one used today. Things should be considered not from the point of view if they are good or bad but why they are that way, what are the reasons. It is too far easy to criticize than uderstand.
    Among the Israelites the status of the Hebrew slave differed from that of a slave who was a foreigner, alien resident, or settler. Whereas the non-Hebrew remained the property of the owner and could be passed on from father to son (Le 25:44-46), the Hebrew slave was to be released in the seventh year of his servitude or in the Jubilee year, depending upon which came first. During the time of his servitude the Hebrew slave was to be treated as a hired laborer. (Ex 21:2; Le 25:10; De 15:12) A Hebrew who sold himself into slavery to an alien resident, to a member of an alien resident's family, or to a settler could be repurchased at any time, either by himself or by one having the right of repurchase. The redemption price was based on the number of years remaining until the Jubilee year or until the seventh year of servitude. (Le 25:47-52; De 15:12) When granting a Hebrew slave his freedom, the master was to give him a gift to assist him in getting a good start as a freedman. Much better than a odern employee.

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