Hagar the Servant Girl

Chapter 16 Sarai was Abram’s wife, but she did not have any children. She had an Egyptian slave named Hagar. Sarai told Abram, “The Lord has not allowed me to have children, so sleep with my slave. Maybe she can have a son, and I will accept him as my own.” Abram did what Sarai said.

So after living ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai gave her Egyptian slave to Abram as a second wife. Abram slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When Hagar realized this, she became very proud and began to feel that she was better than Sarai her owner. Then Sarai said to Abram, “My slave girl now hates me, and I blame you for this. I gave her to you, and she became pregnant. Then she began to feel that she is better than I am. I want the Lord to judge which of us is right.”

But Abram said to Sarai, “She is your slave. You can do anything you want to her.” So Sarai was cruel to Hagar, and Hagar ran away.

Hagar’s Son Ishmael

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring of water in the desert. The spring was by the road to Shur. The angel said, “Hagar, Sarai’s slave girl, why are you here? Where are you going?”

Hagar said, “I am running away from Sarai.”

The angel of the Lord said to her, “Sarai is your owner. Go home to her and obey her.” 10 The angel of the Lord also said, “From you will come many people—too many people to count.”

11 Then the angel of the Lord said,

“Hagar, you are now pregnant,
    and you will have a son.
You will name him Ishmael,[a]
    because the Lord has heard that you were treated badly.
        12 Ishmael will be wild and free
    like a wild donkey.
He will be against everyone,
    and everyone will be against him.
He will move from place to place
    and camp near his brothers.”

13 The Lord talked to Hagar. She began to use a new name for God. She said to him, “You are ‘God Who Sees Me.’” She said this because she thought, “I see that even in this place God sees me and cares for me!” 14 So the well there was called Beer Lahai Roi.[b] It is between Kadesh and Bered.

15 Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, and Abram named the son Ishmael. 16 Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born from Hagar.


  1. Genesis 16:11 Ishmael This name means “God hears.”
  2. Genesis 16:14 Beer Lahai Roi This means “The well of the Living One who sees me"


Finally, a Baby for Sarah

Chapter 21 The Lord came back to visit Sarah as he said he would, and he kept his promise to her. At exactly the time God said it would happen, Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. Abraham named his son Isaac.[a] Abraham did what God commanded and circumcised Isaac when he was eight days old.

Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born. Sarah said, “God has made me happy, and everyone who hears about this will be happy with me. No one thought that I, Sarah, would be able to have Abraham’s child. But I have given Abraham a son, even though he is old.”

Trouble at Home

Isaac continued to grow, and soon he was old enough to begin eating solid food. So Abraham gave a big party. Sarah saw Hagar’s son playing. (Hagar was the Egyptian slave woman who gave birth to Abraham’s first son.) 10 Sarah said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. Send them away! When we die, our son Isaac will get everything we have. I don’t want that slave woman’s son sharing these things with my son Isaac!”

11 This upset Abraham very much. He was worried about his son Ishmael. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Don’t worry about the boy and the slave woman. Do what Sarah wants. Your descendants will be those who come through Isaac. 13 But I will also bless the son of your slave woman. He is your son, so I will make a great nation from his family also.”

14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and water and gave them to Hagar. She carried them and left with her boy. She left that place and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

15 After some time, when all their drinking water was gone, Hagar put her son under a bush. 16 Then she walked a short distance away and sat down. She thought her son would die because there was no water. She did not want to watch him die. She sat there and began to cry.

17 God heard the boy crying, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven. He said, “What is wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid! God has heard the boy crying there. 18 Go help the boy. Hold his hand and lead him. I will make him the father of many people.”

19 Then God allowed Hagar to see a well of water. So she went to the well and filled her bag with water. Then she gave water to the boy to drink.

20 God continued to be with the boy while he grew up. Ishmael lived in the desert and became a hunter. He learned to shoot a bow very well. 21 His mother found a wife for him in Egypt. They continued to live in the Paran desert.

Abraham’s Bargain With Abimelech

22 Then Abimelech and Phicol spoke with Abraham. Phicol was the commander of Abimelech’s army. They said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 So make a promise to me here before God. Promise that you will be fair with me and with my children. Promise that you will be kind to me and this country where you have lived. Promise that you will be as kind to me as I have been to you.”

24 And Abraham said, “I promise to treat you the same way you have treated me.” 25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech because Abimelech’s servants had captured a well of water.

26 But Abimelech said, “I don’t know who did this. You never told me about this before today!”

27 So Abraham and Abimelech made an agreement. Abraham gave Abimelech some sheep and cattle as proof of the agreement. 28 Abraham also put seven[b] female lambs in front of Abimelech.

29 Abimelech asked Abraham, “Why did you put these seven female lambs by themselves?”

30 Abraham answered, “When you accept these lambs from me, it will be proof that I dug this well.”

31 So after that, the well was called Beersheba.[c] Abraham gave the well this name because it was the place where they made a promise to each other.

32 So Abraham and Abimelech made an agreement at Beersheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol, his military commander, went back to the country of the Philistines.

33 Abraham planted a special tree at Beersheba and prayed to the Lord, the God who lives forever. 34 And Abraham lived as a stranger for a long time in the country of the Philistines.


  1. Genesis 21:3 Isaac This name means “he laughs” or “he is happy.”
  2. Genesis 21:28 seven The Hebrew word for “seven” is like the Hebrew word for “oath” or “promise,” and it is like the last part of the name Beersheba. The seven animals were proof of this promise.
  3. Genesis 21:31 Beersheba This name means “well of the oath.”