Hagar was Abraham’s black Egyptian concubine that overcame her status as a servant to become the mother to of the largest nations to ever exist. When Sarah failed to get pregnant, as God promised her she would, she decided to take things into her own hands, and give her Egyptian handmaid Hagar to Abraham, so that he could get her pregnant.
“And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.” – Genesis 16:3-4
The Birth of Ishmael
It was this union that led to the birth of their half Egyptian son Ishmael, the father of the Ishmaelites. Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.
“And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.” – Genesis 16:15-16
This is one of the most important births in the Bible because it is the beginning of the Ishmaelite (Ishmeelite) nation. It is the Ishmael’s daughter that will later marry Esau and give birth to several Dukes of Edom. It is also the Ishmealites that sell Joseph into slavery, where he later second to Pharaoh.
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Hagar The Hated
After the birth of Ishmael, Sarah began to hate her because of the child, and in order to deal with the situation, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away.
“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.” – Genesis 21:14
The very last we hear of Hagar personally in scripture is when God finds her and baby Ishmael ready to die in the wilderness. God promises her that he will make Ishmael a great nation, and she eventually chooses and Egyptian wife for him. After that she is never mentioned again.
“And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.” – Genesis 21:17-21
While Hagar herself disappears from the story, her descendants are mentioned later in Psalms 83 as part of a multi national conspiracy to hide Israel and make them forget who they are.
“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.” – Psalms 83:4-8
We know that Hagar left the home of Abraham and Sarah, but we aren’t told whether or not she remarried or had more children. She was Egyptian, so it is very likely that she returned to Egypt. Her son Ishmael and his descendants were known as the Ismaelites.
One possibility is that the descendants of her grandson Kedar, who were known as the Kedarites, may have been grouped with the Ishmaelites and other descendants of the sons of Ishmael. Collectively, many believe these descendants of Hagar were collectively called the Hagarenes.
A similar example in the Bible is concerning Ephraim and Manasseh. Sometimes the tribes are referred to separately, but at others, they are both grouped under the tribe of Joseph. While we don’t know which specific groups were classified as Hagarenes, we do know that they lived on throughout the course of the Bible and played major roles in the history of Israel.
The Family of Hagar
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