Episode 9 – Hagar & Ishmael

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – Old Testament

Based on Genesis chapter 16

Hagar & Ishmael

‘Hello, it’s me Abram again. Do you remember I told you how God promised me a son one day? He’d made that promise 10 years ago, and here I was – 86 years old and still no sign of a son. To be honest, it looked like Sara never would have any children. God had blessed her with great beauty but He’d also stopped her having children. And now Sara was getting older, and, well … not to put too fine a point on it … she was past childbearing age!’

‘One day, when Sara realised that she wasn’t able to have any children, she came to me with her servant, an Egyptian woman called Hagar. And she told me that because she couldn’t have any children, I should marry Hagar and that any children Hagar had, Sara would see as her own!’

‘To be honest I didn’t really think it through very well. Hagar was a nice woman, and Sara didn’t seem to mind, and it did look like a way of answering God’s promise of a son! (P) And… well – where I lived it was ok to have more than one wife … so I married Hagar. (PAUSE) Big mistake!’

‘You see, within no time at all Hagar became pregnant! She managed to do the one thing Sara couldn’t do in all the years we’d been married.’

‘That’s when I saw what a big mistake I’d made. You see when Hagar realised she was pregnant; she started to look down on Sara. Somehow she seemed to think she was more important than Sara because she was going to give me a baby. And instead of being a good servant she started to ignore Sara and not do her duties!’

‘One day – soon after, Sara came to my tent … she was in a really bad mood!’

‘It’s all your fault Abram! How could you let this happen! I was the one who let you marry Hagar and now that she’s pregnant, she’s treating me as a nobody! The Lord will make you pay for doing this terrible thing to me Abram!’

‘But dearest,’ I replied. ‘She’s your servant … you really ought to deal with the situation in whatever way you think’s best.’

‘That just made things worse! Sara started treating Hagar really badly; paying her back for all the trouble she’d caused. In fact, it wasn’t too surprising when we woke up one morning to find Hagar had run off. Sara had made her life so miserable she didn’t want to stay with us any longer.’

‘Poor Hagar didn’t know what to do. But when she stopped by a desert spring along a dusty road, God came and found her.’

‘Hagar, where’ve you come from, and where’re you going?’

‘I’m running away from my mistress,’ Hagar sobbed.

‘But then the Lord spoke tenderly to Hagar. ‘Return to your mistress and be obedient to her.’’

‘And then He started talking about the child she was going to have. ‘You’re pregnant with a son. When he’s born you are to call him Ishmael, which means ‘God hears’. For I have heard about your misery. This son of yours will be a wild one! Against everyone, and everyone against him! But through him you will have so many descendants that you won’t be able to count them all!’’ 

‘When Hagar realised it was the Lord who was speaking to her, she said, ‘I have seen the one who sees me.’ Later that well where she met the Lord was renamed – ‘the well of the Living One who sees me.’’

‘And so Hagar returned to Sara and me and gave birth to a little son. I called him Ishmael.’