Genesis 16 is so much easier to understand the Amplified Bible. Sarai has not had any children yet. It is custom of that day that if a woman is barren, she can have her maidservant bear a son for her with her husband. Abram listens to the idea thinking maybe this is how God is going to give him descendants. Sarai is trying to give Abram the desire of his heart.
The Egyptian servant, Hagar, conceives and then becomes arrogant and disrespectful to Sarai…proud that she could conceive when Sarai could not. Sarai goes to Abram with the problem…saying let the Lord judge my heart and what is right between you and me. Abram confirms Sarai’s authority over Hagar. So. Sarai deals harshly to humiliate her….make her humble. Hagar’s reaction is to run away.
Hagar is on her way back to Egypt and sitting by a well wondering if she can survive her travels through the wilderness….when an angel of the Lord comes to her. The angel tells her to go back and humbly submit to the authority of her mistress.
He also prophesies to her about having a son who will be wild, continually fighting, and in defiance of his brothers. She is to name him Ishmael….meaning “God hears”. In verse 13, she says she has heard the God who hears with understanding and compassion. So, she goes back, humbles herself, and bears Abram’s son.
I am reminded when God spoke to Cain concerning his pride and Cain did not humble himself and repent…but the evil at the door of his heart led to killing Abel. Here, Hagar listens to God and recognizes His understanding and compassion….so she humbles herself and repents….turns around and goes the direction He instructs…she brings life into the world.
Yet, she is from Egypt (the world) and seed can only reproduce its own kind. God prophesies about Ishmael who is the father of some Arab nations. Indeed, he and his descendants become wild people, fighting continually…mainly against the people of his brother Isaac, but also against one another…to this day!
The good news is that now in Yeshua Jesus, we can all be in the family of God…both Jew and Gentile!