Genesis 16:7-9 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Genesis 16:7
  • Genesis 16:8
  • Genesis 16:9

As pregnant Hagar is running away, she meets the angel of the Lord. He tells her to return and submit to Sarai’s authority.

As Hagar nears the outer border of Egypt in the wilderness of Shur, the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water. The word “angel” (Hebrew Malak) means “a messenger.” She was on the way to Shurwhich is a wilderness region located between southwest Canaan and the northeast border of Egypt (Genesis 20:1, 25:18; Exodus 15:22; 1 Samuel 15:7, 27:8).

Before Hagar speaks, the angel/messenger knows her name, her position, and the identity of her mistress addressing her as Hagar, Sarai’s maid. Having made clear that he knows who she is, the messenger asks “Where have you come from and where are you going?” Hagar responds, I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.

The angel tells Hagar to return to her mistress and submit herself to her authority. Hagar is commanded by God to submit to Sarai. Instead of despising her, she is to submit to her authority. This is interesting, because the text tells us that Sarai’s treatment was harsh. The messenger commands her to return and submit anyway. But the messenger also gives a promise of blessing if she will obey. God will provide a promise to Hagar, and a substantial incentive for her obedience.

Biblical Text:

7 Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” 9 Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.”

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