16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Since 1 the Lord has prevented me from having children, have sexual relations with 2 my servant. Perhaps I can have a family by her.” 3 Abram did what 4 Sarai told him.
16:5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You have brought this wrong on me! 5 I allowed my servant to have sexual relations with you, 6 but when she realized 7 that she was pregnant, she despised me. 8 May the Lord judge between you and me!” 9
16:9 Then the Lord’s angel said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit 18 to her authority. 16:10 I will greatly multiply your descendants,” the Lord’s angel added, 19 “so that they will be too numerous to count.” 20 16:11 Then the Lord’s angel said to her,
“You are now 21 pregnant
and are about to give birth 22 to a son.
You are to name him Ishmael, 23
for the Lord has heard your painful groans. 24
1 tn Heb “look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) introduces the foundational clause for the imperative to follow.
sn The Hebrew expression translated have sexual relations with does not convey the intimacy of other expressions, such as “so and so knew his wife.” Sarai simply sees this as the social custom of having a child through a surrogate. For further discussion see C. F. Fensham, “The Son of a Handmaid in Northwest Semitic,” VT 19 (1969): 312-21.
3 tn Heb “perhaps I will be built from her.” Sarai hopes to have a family established through this surrogate mother.
4 tn Heb “listened to the voice of,” which is an idiom meaning “obeyed.”
sn Abram did what Sarai told him. This expression was first used in Gen 3:17 of Adam’s obeying his wife. In both cases the text highlights weak faith and how it jeopardized the plan of God.
5 tn Heb “my wrong is because of you.”
6 tn Heb “I placed my female servant in your bosom.”
7 tn Heb “saw.”
8 tn Heb “I was despised in her eyes.” The passive verb has been translated as active for stylistic reasons. Sarai was made to feel supplanted and worthless by Hagar the servant girl.
9 tn Heb “me and you.”
sn May the
10 tn The clause is introduced with the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh), introducing a foundational clause for the coming imperative: “since…do.”
11 tn Heb “in your hand.”
12 tn Heb “what is good in your eyes.”
13 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Hagar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
14 tn In the Piel stem the verb עָנָה (’anah) means “to afflict, to oppress, to treat harshly, to mistreat.”
15 tn Heb “and she fled from her presence.” The referent of “her” (Sarai) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
16 tn Heb “the messenger of the
17 tn Heb “And the angel of the
18 tn The imperative וְהִתְעַנִּי (vÿhit’anni) is the Hitpael of עָנָה (’anah, here translated “submit”), the same word used for Sarai’s harsh treatment of her. Hagar is instructed not only to submit to Sarai’s authority, but to whatever mistreatment that involves. God calls for Hagar to humble herself.
19 tn Heb “The
20 tn Heb “cannot be numbered because of abundance.”
21 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) focuses on her immediate situation: “Here you are pregnant.”
22 tn The active participle refers here to something that is about to happen.
23 sn The name Ishmael consists of the imperfect or jussive form of the Hebrew verb with the theophoric element added as the subject. It means “God hears” or “may God hear.”
24 tn Heb “affliction,” which must refer here to Hagar’s painful groans of anguish.
sn This clause gives the explanation of the name Ishmael, using a wordplay. Ishmael’s name will be a reminder that “God hears” Hagar’s painful cries.
25 tn Heb “God of my seeing.” The pronominal suffix may be understood either as objective (“who sees me,” as in the translation) or subjective (“whom I see”).
26 tn Heb “after one who sees me.”
sn For a discussion of Hagar’s exclamation, see T. Booij, “Hagar’s Words in Genesis 16:13b,” VT 30 (1980): 1-7.